These Vegan Bacon Bits are simply irresistible! They’re smoky, salty, crunchy, and great sprinkled on baked potatoes, salads, other veggies, soups, and more!
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Bacon is one of those foods that non-vegans claim they could never live without. Who doesn’t love that crisp, chew, smoky, salty food?
Once you taste these vegan bacon bits, you might decide you actually can live without the real thing!
You might not know that many store bought bacon bits are actually vegan. But who wants all the food coloring and artificial ingredients?
I’m going to show you how to make your own imitation bacon bits using soy curls. This easy recipe is so amazing! While they don’t taste exactly like bacon, they’re delicious! They have the crunchy chewy texture, and the smoky salty flavor that even a non vegan will enjoy.
Most veggie bacon bits recipes use TVP (textured vegetable protein). But my vegan bacon bits are made from soy curls because textured soy protein is more highly processed than soy curls and is not a whole food.
I purchase soy curls directly from the manufacturer, Butler Foods, in a big bulk box. When I divide the soy curls into individual bags, there are always a lot of small bits and crumbs at the bottom of the box. These are perfect for making vegan bacon bits or other ground meat substitutes.
But you don’t have to purchase a large box of soy curls. You can also chop up whole soy curls into bits for this recipe.
What are soy curls?
Soy curls are an amazing meat substitute product made right here in Oregon by Butler Foods. They are made from 100% non-GMO whole soy beans. The beans are cooked until they are soft, broken into strands, and dehydrated.
They’re an excellent source of plant-based protein – 10 grams of protein per serving! They’re also a great source of fiber and iron, while being low in fat and calories and also gluten free.
Soy curls are a wonderful alternative to most other store-bought vegan meat substitutes that are highly processed and full of fat and chemical ingredients.
It is suggested to re-hydrate soy curls in hot water or broth, then cook them with our favorite seasonings and sauces. The soy curls themselves have very little flavor, but take on the flavor of whatever you season them with. They have a texture very similar to chicken.
Obviously, if you are sensitive to soy, you should avoid them.
Vegan Bacon Bits Ingredients
- Butler Soy Curls – you can substitute TVP (textured vegetable protein, but soy curls are less proccessed.
- Low sodium soy sauce – this can be replaced with tamari or coconut aminos
- maple syrup – be sure to use use pure maple syrup, not pancake syrup.
- nutritional yeast – adds a little umami flavor to the bacon bits.
- liquid smoke -for that smoky flavor.
- smoked paprika – adds color and more smoky flavor
- onion powder and garlic powder – for savory taste
- black pepper
How to make vegan bacon bits
These soy curl bacon bits are super easy to make!
Preheat the oven to 350° F.
Start by chopping up your soy curls. I tried doing this in a food processor, but the soy curls just spun around and small crumbs broke off.
My next attempt was in my nut chopper. This worked perfectly. Transfer the chopped soy curls to a medium bowl.
In a small bowl, mix together the soy sauce, water, maple syrup, nutritional yeast, liquid smoke, smoked paprika, onion powder, garlic powder, salt and pepper to make a marinade. Pour this over the chopped soy curls. Stir it around to make sure all the bits are well coated.
Allow the soy curl bits to sit and soak up the marinade for at least 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Transfer the bacon bits to a parchment lined baking sheet and spread them into a single layer. Bake for 10-15 minutes, until the bacon bits are as crispy as you like. Watch them carefully, because they can go from crispy to burnt very quickly.
- Use these vegan bacon bits instead of tofu bacon on my Vegan BLT or add a few to other sandwiches for texture, flavor, and protein.
- Top a baked potato with a dollop of my Vegan Sour Cream and a few of these vegan bacon bits.
- Sprinkle them over Mac & Cheese or soups like my Potato Kale Soup.
- Add them to salads for a savory crunch.
- Mix them into Tofu Scramble for a breakfast taste of bacon and eggs.
- Stir them into Mashed Potatoes or Potato Salad.
- They’re great on roasted or steamed vegetables.
- Use them anywhere you would use real bacon bits and want some crunchy texture and smokey bacon flavor! You may even find yourself snacking on them by the handful!
Frequently asked questions
Once they’re dried out, soy curl bacon bits will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for a few weeks.
Vegan bacon bits also freeze well. They don’t even have to be thawed before using as the small bits thaw very quickly.
Bacon is a salty food, so this is not a low sodium recipe. However, you can reduce the sodium by leaving out the salt. It can be reduced even more by reducing the low sodium soy sauce and replacing it with an equal amount of water.
Liquid smoke is made by condensing the smoke from burning wood. It’s used to add a smoky flavor to foods without using a wood smoker. It can usually be found in the condiments section of a grocery store. Be careful when using it, as a little bit goes a long way.
Explore our Vegan Staples Cookbook
More Vegan Meat Substitutes
- Vegan Beef Seitan
- Seitan Ham
- Vegan Pepperoni
- Vegan Italian Sausage
- Vegan Breakfast Sausage Links
- Seitan Andouille Sausage
- Lentil Walnut Taco Meat
More Soy Curl Recipes
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Vegan Bacon Bits
- Preheat the oven to 350° F.
- Break the soy curls into small pieces. This is a good use for the small bits of soy curl at the bottom of the box when you purchase the in bulk. I found that they break into bacon bit sized pieces easily in my nut chopper. Place the soy curl bits in medium sized bowl.
- Mix the remaining ingredients together in a small bowl.
- Pour the marinade over the soy curl bits and stir to coat them all. Allow the soy curl bits to sit and absorb the marinade for about 10 minutes.
- Spread the soy curls out on a parchment lined baking sheet.
- Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, until they are as crispy as you like. Be sure to check them frequently as they get close to done, as they can go from crispy to burnt very quickly.