Friday, August 6, 2010

Baked Tofu Bacon Substitute

In the days when oil and salt weren’t off limits I used to make a tofu bacon substitute that we both liked. However I have not made that in a few years. Yesterday I was craving that tofu bacon and decided to try to make a healthier version not really having any idea whether it would work or not.

I cut back on the liquid aminos drastically from 2 tablespoons to ½ tablespoon. I added mirin for flavor and a little sweetness to mimic sweet maple bacon. Nutritional yeast adds a little umami. I used to love pepper bacon so I included a generous amount of black pepper. The healthy tofu bacon actually came out much better than I anticipated. Here is what I did:

Baked Tofu Bacon Substitute
Makes 16 slices


14 ounce block water packed extra firm tofu cut into 16 thin strips
½ tablespoon liquid aminos
1 ½ tablespoons mirin
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
½ teaspoon liquid smoke
freshly ground black pepper


Preheat your oven to 250 degrees use your convection setting if you have one to speed the cooking. Line a half sheet pan (13 by 18) with silpat or parchment and set aside.

Drain the tofu of water and press out as much as you can without breaking the block.

Slice thin (approximately 1/8 inch) strips of tofu from the end of the block and use your chef knife blade to move the strips to your prepared pan. Continue until you have 16 strips which will fit on the pan like this.

In a small bowl mix the liquid aminos, mirin, nutritional yeast, and liquid smoke. Continue mixing until the nutritional yeast dissolves. Taste the mixture to see if you like the flavor. Adjust to your taste.

Use a pastry brush to brush the top of tofu with the seasoning mix.

I ground fresh black pepper over the tofu to mimic black pepper bacon.

Bake until the tofu is getting brown and firm. Some of the pieces will crisp before the others since they will probably be different thickness (mine were). Remove the strips as they are ready. I probably baked this for an hour and a half. Next time will try it at a higher temperature to see what how that works. I started at a low temperature not knowing what to expect without any oil to help the tofu get firm. However the oil doesn’t seem to be necessary. Woo hoo!

Nutritional Information (per slice or 1/16th of the recipe):

Amount Per Serving
Calories - 27.37
Calories From Fat (48%) - 13.21

% Daily Value
Total Fat - 1.45g
Saturated Fat - 0.14g
Cholesterol - 0mg
Sodium - 34.25mg
Potassium - 43.2mg
Total Carbohydrates - 1.12g
Fiber - 0.11g
Sugar - 0.12g
Protein - 2.46g

This will definitely be happening at our house again. I love both the texture and flavor of the tofu bacon. If you still eat salt you will probably think it needs sodium but I like it just like this. It has flavor but isn’t overpowering. This is good enough that Dan and I were snacking on it straight out of the pan. Part of me wished I had made a double batch, but that might have been a bit too tempting. ;-)

I can see this cut into pieces and added to salad or lettuce wraps. I can also imagine this in a collard wrap. I would use this on top of many dishes.

Nutrition Nazi Part Deux:

I have mentioned many times that one of my husband’s pet names for me is the nutrition nazi. He thinks it is cute to put a hand on his hip and shake his finger and pretend to be the soup nazi but in a nutrition based way. “No sugar for you, no fat for you”, you get the idea.

The reason I am mentioning this is I wanted you to see the sticky note my husband put on the salt water taffy at his office. And he calls me the nutrition nazi? LOL! Not only did he put the note on the box but he sent me a picture of it. He is a character. For those are you that are wondering those really are the ingredients and in that order. I had to ask if he made that up or not, but apparently it was true. *shakes head*

My Lunch yesterday:

I had a busy day yesterday and didn’t have lunch until late. In the end I opted for a quick bowl of chickpea and zucchini soup topped with balsamic vinegar and two minced olives.

To accompany the soup I cut up a mango and sprinkled it with a teaspoon of chia seeds for omega 3 fatty acids.

Like most of my meals this is nothing exciting just healthy food. But since I skipped salad with lunch I bet you know what we had for dinner.

Dan’s lunch yesterday:

Dan Sr. met Dan Jr. for lunch at Teavolve since they are both working downtown now. Dan ordered a veggie panini. After he took the picture he moved all the veggies to one half to eat less bread and didn’t eat the chips. It makes me so happy that he is completely on board with eating healthy. :-)

To accompany the sandwich he ordered the only vegan soup on the menu yesterday which was tomato rice. Both he and Dan Jr. commented that the soup was good because the rice wasn’t overcooked. If that happens to you cook your grains separately and add them to your serving of soup when you are ready to reheat it. That works every time to keep the grains from getting mushy.

Dinner last night:

What a surprise I made more salad, LOL. You are going to get so sick of my salads. ;-) This one was very similar to last night, but we needed the veggies. It had romaine, red cabbage, nutritional yeast, cucumber, tomato, salsa, black bean and tofu bacon (from above).

Of course we had strawberry and banana soft serve (no oats) after the salad. Dan wanted me to add a few chocolate chips at the end to see how that would be. Neither of us thought it really added much. The chocolate was so cold that the flavor was muted. Oh well, it was worth trying.

Breakfast this morning:

Dan is working from home today. Yay! ;-) Since he didn’t have to drive downtown this morning we both got a slow start this morning. Instead of traditional breakfast fare we had more chickpea and zucchini soup. To make this version of the soup a little different I adding a drizzle of red wine vinegar (to brighten the flavor) and a few pine nuts.

To accompany the soup I made a quick salad. This version had romaine, mango, cucumber and a few sliced almonds for crunch. I made a fast dressing in the Vitamix using 2 tablespoons of reduced fat peanut butter, 1 tablespoon of apricot preserves and 2 tablespoons of water (to thin it so it would pour).

Unrelated notes:

Since today is Friday I have to take care of my usual errands but I will try to come back later with a post.

I think Dan and I have decided to order a TRX unit. I am really looking forward to it. It seems to me it will be a great to use with P90X. I love finding new ways to torture myself, LOL.

Talk to you later. I hope everyone is having a fabulous Friday.


  1. I will never get tired of salads. I love them too much myself. Hope you're having a good Friday!

  2. Heather,

    I have been trying to post all our food but we really eat a lot of salads. :-) Glad to know we aren't alone on that. I swear I could eat salad three times a day. *rolls eyes*

    It has been a busy Friday so far and I haven't even left the house yet. Something tells me this is going to be one of those days, but in a good way.

    Have you used the TRX system before?

    I hope you are having a great Friday too!

  3. I could eat salads at least twice a day too. I have not tried the TRX system actually. Looks and sounds interesting though.

  4. Heather,

    Thanks for looking at the TRX. I was hoping you had some experience with it. I think it will be very useful.


  5. Hi, I came accross your blog and wanted to say hi and also tell you that your foods look awesome. I am so going to have to try my hand at making that tofu bacon. It looks delish! :o)

  6. I think the lower temperature help the tofu to transforme into this beautiful and golden crisp tofu bacon. I would love to try this.

  7. Beautiful stuff, as usual, Ali! That last salad with the cucumber and mango looked at first as if it had green apple instead of cucumber. I think that would make a nice variation, too.

    Your "bacon" could make a TLT--tofu, lettuce, and tomato! :-)

    I discovered a nice dressing the other day when I played with two parts balsamic vinegar, three to four parts blackberry jam, and one part olive oil shaken up in a jar. It was a hit!

  8. Michelle,

    Thanks for your kind words.

    The tofu bacon was a hit. But I will warn you it is a bit addictive, a little like chips. ;-) We were snacking on strips of it before dinner.

    thanks for stopping by,

  9. RV,

    Since the "bacon" was such a hit, I will be making some again soon. I am going to try a higher temperature to see if I can cut down on the cooking time. I will post the results.

    It was a very easy recipe (just time consuming) you should give it a try.

    have a great weekend,

  10. Cindy,

    Thanks! :-) Funny you would mention apple I usually pair that with mango but didn't have any granny smiths today. I agree that would have been good.

    We are down to two strips of "bacon" already, LOL. The snack monsters (those darn cats) were in it last night before dinner. ;-)

    I like to use jam in dressing sometimes. One of my favorites used to be very similar to yours except I added a bit of dijon to help it emulsify and some diced shallot. When you eat as much salad as we do you need a lot of dressing options.


  11. Cool idea with the tofu...I'm going to have to try something similar in my conventional oven. It looks like it turned out nice and crispy.

  12. Dan's note on the taffy made smile! =)

    All the food looks great. I made a big pot of soup this week too. I have enjoyed having it handy to fill in our meals.

    My husband is doing well with his healthy eating. Yet, yesterday he was late coming in from work. He also stopped by Sam's to pick up some organic baby green salad mix.

    Once home, I had prepared his favorite meal. Black bean burgers with some garden fresh home fries.
    Mind you, this is a huge treat. I don't fry the fries, I bake them with a thin coat of olive oil.
    He was beside himself, and said "I don't deserve this!" He gave me a big hug, and said "You must love me."
    We ate. I noticed he ate slower than normal, and was sharing his fries with the dog!???? Very odd behavior indeed!
    He left to take a shower. When finished, he walked into the kitchen to find me snacking on a piece of chocolate. He smiled big and said, "Where is mine?" I said, "Something tells me you have had more than your share of junk food today."
    He smiled again and said, "Yeah, I had a slice of pizza at Sam's." I smiled too. He then said, "It wasn't worth it, I can't believe I use to love that stuff!" "It taste so junkie now."
    I just kept smiling and finished my piece of chocolate. =)

  13. Rose,

    The "bacon" was shockingly crispy. I didn't think it would get this crunchy without oil. Clearly I was wrong. ;-)

    In the past I would coat an non-stick pan with a thin layer of oil (may 1/8" in the bottom) and "fry" the bacon on a low heat until it was crispy. It is much quicker.


  14. Naina,

    What a great story about your hubby. I know that had to make you happy. :-)

    Isn't it amazing how quickly your taste buds adapt to healthy food? That still shocks me. ;-)


  15. tofu is also good brushed with dilutes satay sauce and crisped in the oven in the same way:)

    I usually use soy sauce and mustard mixed and brushed on to my slices - sometimes I add a little ketchup too, and it's the nearest I've got to having a BLT!

    Love your blog

  16. HI ALICIA!! i missed your post so much!!!!
    i will add cocoa to my smoothie/soft serves if i want something chocolatey. i read that its is e2l. i havent been having to much but its way better than choc chips in ice cream, you are right, frozen choc just tastes like grains of sand to me.

    is this a new thing that Dan does, shows what he eats for lunch? this is the first post that i have read since getting my computer fixed and going on vacay..i should go back and start at the ones i missed. ttyl

  17. Christine,

    Thanks for sharing your suggestions. I am always looking for new ideas of how to flavor tofu. :-)

    I like the mustard idea that reminds me a of dressing I made yesterday that I thought would make a good tofu marinade.

    thanks for your kind words,

  18. Michelle,

    Dan loves cocoa in his banana and peanut butter smoothie. We were bummed the choc chips didn't pan out. But you never know until you try.

    Dan normally eats food that I send him, so you guys know what it is. But when he goes out for lunch he tries to take pics and then email them to me. What did we do without cell phones with cameras? ;-)

    That is very sweet of you to say you missed my posts. :-) I missed your comments. You always make me smile.



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