Shiitake “bacon” is a vegan bacon alternative made of thinly sliced and baked shiitake mushrooms. Read on for expert tips and serving suggestions.
I often credit my former job at the Natural Gourmet Institute as one of the best things that ever happened to me. My experiences there shaped me as a cook, as a professional, and as a person, really. Thanks to NGI, I met some of my favorite people (many of whom are still friends/collaborators to this day). And, not to mention, it set the stage for the career I have now.
But perhaps most importantly: it gave me cashew ricotta, and it gave me shiitake bacon.
NGI – whose curriculum is now taught at the Institute of Culinary Education – showed the world how to turn humble plants into insanely delicious high-end food, way before vegan food was cool. Shiitake “bacon” is one of their hallmark techniques.
It’s now widely used by plant-based cooks everywhere, so I can’t say with 100% certainty that NGI invented it. But it is where I learned about it, so I’m giving them full credit.
What is Shiitake Bacon?
Shiitake bacon is a plant-based bacon alternative that’s ridiculously simple to make. All you do is thinly slice shiitake mushroom caps, toss them with a bit of oil and salt, and roast until they’re deeply brown (see recipe card below for full instructions). The mushrooms crisp up as they cool. The result? Smoky, meaty, umami-rich, crunchy-chewy bacon-y bits.
A Few Notes on the Technique…
- Don’t wash the mushrooms. The first thing that will ensure shiitake bacon success is not washing the mushrooms under the tap. Mushrooms absorb water like sponges, and wet mushrooms will never get crispy. Unless your mushrooms are literally covered in soil, wipe them with a damp paper towel instead.
- Not too thin, not too thick. The second thing is to slice the mushrooms properly. If they are too thin, they may stick to the baking sheet and fall apart; they’ll also lack that “meaty” texture. But if they’re too thick, they won’t get as crisp. Aim for ~1/8-inch thickness.
P.S. If you’re looking for a meatier, chewier bacon alternative – like for a BLT – try tempeh bacon instead.
Like regular bacon, this too will lose its crispy texture once stored in the fridge (but it’ll still be very savory and delicious!). Store leftover shiitake bacon in a paper towel-lined container in the fridge for up to 4 days.
More mushroom magic…
- King Oyster Mushroom “Scallops”
- Enoki Mushroom “Carnitas”
- Mushroom Bourguignon
- Savory Mushroom Hand Pies
Let me know if you try this recipe! Give it a rating below and leave a comment, and don’t forget to tag @thenewbaguette on Instagram with your creation.Print
Shiitake bacon works best as a garnish, on basically anything that could use some savoriness. Try it on avo toast, creamy soups, or vegan pastas.
- 8 ounces shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and thinly sliced
- 2 tablespoons olive, avocado, or canola oil
- 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
- Preheat the oven to 375ºF.
- Place the mushrooms on a large, rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with the oil and sprinkle with salt. Using your hands, toss the mushrooms to coat them evenly. Arrange in a single, even layer.
- Roast for 25 to 30 minutes, flipping the mushrooms with a spatula about halfway through, until they take on a deep brown color and savory, bacon-y smell.
- Remove from the oven and set aside for about 10 minutes. The “bacon” will crisp as it cools.
- Serving Size: 1/8 of the recipe
- Calories: 45
- Sodium: 185 g
- Fat: 3.6 g
- Carbohydrates: 3.9 g
Keywords: shiitake, vegan bacon, mushrooms