Chewy, smoky, and delicious, this Soy Curl Bacon is easy to make and super versatile. Use it in a vegan BLT wrap like I have here, or add it to your favorite sandwich, breakfast, or pasta.
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Hey Internet, can you tell yet that I love making new renditions of vegan bacon?!
This is my 4th plant based bacon I’m putting on the blog. Is it getting excessive?
… Nah. As the omnis (non-vegans) would say, “but bacon!”
And soy curl bacon was it. The idea came to me in the middle of the night. I wrote it down, and went back to sleep though I was anxious to try it.
So the first way I tested this was by rehydrating the soy curls in my favorite bacon marinade that I use in all my vegan bacon recipes and baking it.
But the rest of the liquid a.) went to waste and b.) didn’t seem to absorb much into the soy curls, leaving them a bit disappointing.
Then I found the way that worked: rehydrating them for 10 minutes in the bacon marinade and then simmering them into the liquid in a skillet until they were chewy and absorbed all the liquid back into them (I’m sure some of it evaporated, but it still seemed more flavorful this way).
SO. DANG. GOOD.
I’m really excited to show you these today but I needed a fun way to show off this vegan bacon.
But I also wanted to provide something new and I had an idea to make a BLT wrap so I could bring it to work and not make a mess at my desk.
Unfortunately I am not the first person to think of a BLT wrap, it’s been done.
But this one is SO GOOD, and of course, it’s vegan and use my soy curl bacon.
So. Let’s get into these things.
What You’ll Need for the Vegan Bacon (Soy Curls)
- Soy curls: Butler soy curls are the base of this simple dish. I used the larger pieces in the bag, though I’ll say that all of it makes some pretty good vegan bacon. I save the smaller pieces to throw in soups, chili, and stir fry (they last a very long time in the freezer too!).
- Soy sauce or gluten-free tamari: If you can’t have gluten, you can buy gluten-free tamari or coconut aminos (if choosing this, you may want to dial back or omit the maple syrup). I used reduced sodium soy sauce because regular is just too salty for me.
- Neutral oil: TOTALLY OPTIONAL. The reason for this addition is it just makes the soy curl bacon taste a little richer and more like animal bacon because oil is fatty like animal bacon is. But it tastes good without it. Trust me, I tried it. If you’re a fan of this blog already (thank you!), you may notice I’ve only recently started suggesting where one can add oil if preferred. I still cook mostly oil-free in my home, but I’ve had a lot of feedback from readers who don’t care about being oil-free. I really want my recipes to appeal to a wide variety of eaters, so I’m giving you the option to add the oil here or remove it. Your choice. If not using it, substitute any vegan broth you like. And if you use the oil, any neutral flavored oil will work like grapeseed, canola, vegetable, etc.
- Apple cider vinegar: While any vinegar is fine, apple cider vinegar just tastes so good here with that subtle hint of apple and sweetness.
- Maple syrup: Speaking of sweetness, a little maple syrup is the perfect complement to all these smoky flavors.
- Liquid smoke: You can just substitute more smoked paprika instead if you prefer. I highly recommend using mesquite liquid smoke, but the hickory is good too.
- Your favorite steak or bbq spice rub (optional): Most of these spice rubs are vegan, just read the label. I LOVE this Applewood spice rub, which is totally vegan and totally great on seitan veggie burgers, salads, pasta, etc.
- Smoked paprika: Exactly what it sounds like. Adds a lovely warm smoky flavor to the vegan bacon (soy curls).
- Black pepper: I recommend using freshly cracked black pepper! I used to think it was so not worth the effort, until I actually started doing it (*cough* making my husband do it), and now I can’t go back to regular pre-ground black pepper. The flavor is SO much better.
What You’ll Need for the Vegan BLT Wrap
- Large tortillas: We used burrito size tortillas to make large wraps, but anything will work. If gluten-free, Siete makes some pretty awesome burrito size wraps--I’ve seen them in the refrigerator sections at Whole Foods and other health food stores.
- Vegan mayo: I used my homemade tofu based vegan mayo, but store-bought is fine. My husband loves the Vegenaise from Follow Your Heart. He likes my tofu mayo too and isn’t picky like I am (I can’t stand vegan mayo unless I make it LOL).
- Lettuce: Any will work. I did green leaf lettuce. You could do darker leafy greens instead if you prefer.
- Tomato: I recommend thinly sliced tomato as opposed to larger chunks as I find it easier to wrap.
- Avocado: Optional--but I love the creaminess it adds. I opted for thinner slices of these too.
- Obviously some soy curl bacon: We were able to get 4 pretty big meal size wraps out of these.
How to Make Soy Curl Bacon and Vegan BLT Wraps
- Mix all of the ingredients (except the soy curls) in a bowl or measuring cup (a family habit I just can’t break).
- Add the soy curls to a medium to large bowl and cover with the marinade. Use a dark spatula (I’ve stained light spatulas from things like paprika or turmeric) or the back of a spoon to press the soy curls down so they’re coated.
- Let the soy curls rehydrate for about 10-15 minutes. Because the mixture isn’t hot, they won’t absorb all of it. This is fine.
- Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium high heat and add the entire bowl, soy curls and excess liquid.
- Use a dark spatula or wooden cooking spoon (just not something light that you care about!) to flatten out the soy curls so they’re in a single layer.
- Heat and cook for about 8-12 minutes, stirring every 1-2 minutes to make sure they don’t burn. The liquid will be boiling or simmering and that’s good. It will absorb into the soy curls (and some will evaporate) but the soy curls will also get chewier. If you let them sit too long they can burn, so pay attention to them.
- When they’re nicely browned, chewy and firm and the liquid is absorbed, they’re done. Remove from heat and use as you like!
- To make the wraps: Spread vegan mayo all over one side of the tortilla, leaving a 1” rim around the outer edge. Place lettuce on one half of the tortilla. Place a few slices of tomato and a few slices of avocado in a line along the center of the lettuce. Add the soy curl bacon on top. Roll the burrito by bringing the bottom and pulling it over the lettuce, tomatoes, avocado, and vegan bacon like an envelope. Fold in the two sides and firmly roll up the rest of the burrito. Slice it in half (straight or diagonal if you want to be fancy) and serve or pack in a work or school lunch. Enjoy!
- Refrigerate leftover soy curl bacon for up to 5 days in an airtight container or freeze up to 3 months in a freezer-safe container.
More Gluten-Free and Homemade Vegan Meat Alternatives
I love making vegan meat alternatives when I can as opposed to buying them. I can customize the flavor, control the fat and the sodium, and limit any preservatives.
Sometimes I still buy from the store because I’m a busy droid (I’m part robot okay), but homemade always tastes better to me. Here’s some of my favorite gluten-free and vegan meat recipes:
- Vegan Chorizo
- Vegan Shredded Chicken
- Portobello Bacon
- Vegan Bacon Bits
- Vegan Chicken Teriyaki
- Meatless Crumbles
- Vegan Sausage Crumbles
- Lentil Mushroom Loaf
- Vegan Meatballs
As always, I hope you love this recipe–I know I do and so does Mr. Zardyplants, who is vegan but occasionally misses the flavor of meat (but not the cruelty–he insisted I add that line).
This soy curl bacon is:
- “Meaty” (hold the cruelty)
- Packed with FLAVOR
and great for any dish, but especially breakfasts. Mmm, I’m such a savory breakfast gal.
Let me know in the comments below if you make this recipe or tag me @Zardyplants on Instagram so I can see your beautiful recreations! If you tag me on IG, I will share your post in my stories :)
Also, one quick request: if you love how this recipe looks or tastes, please leave me a 5-star rating and a nice comment–ratings help more people find my recipes which helps me keep providing them! Thank you!