Yes- you read that title correctly – Eggplant Bacon! I first saw the concept on the Ellen Degeneres show, but they ran out of time and never got to make it, so I started looking up some recipes. After reading through several recipes, I decided to come up with my own – one that could be made with items you most likely already had in your house (most recipes called for liquid smoke, which I don’t normally keep on hand in my house!), and without the need for a dehydrator! The verdict? This surprisingly does have the taste and texture of bacon! Its probably best used in recipes that you would use bacon for cooking- a BLT, bacon bits over your salad, bacon and green beans, etc. Although, I did snack on quite a few just on their own!
Keep reading to find out how to make this delicious yet healthy snack!
What you’ll need:
1 large eggplant (about a pound)
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 T maple syrup (go with the all-natural one if you have it!)
2 T apple cider vinegar
1 T olive oil
1 T soy sauce
1/4-1/2 t of chili powder (depending on your level of spice preference)
1. Slice your eggplant lengthwise, very thin (about 1/8 – 1/4 inch thick). If you have a mandolin slicer, that would be ideal for creating even, thin, strips.
2. Lay the strips out in a single layer on a drying rack. Sprinkle liberally with salt and let sit for a half hour.
3. While the eggplant is sitting, combine the brown sugar, maple syrup, apple cider vinegar, olive oil, soy sauce and chili powder in a shallow baking pan. Mix well and set aside.
4. When a half hour has passed, rinse each slice of eggplant well to remove the salt and place in the baking pan with the marinade. Marinate the eggplant in the mixture for 1 to 1.5 hours, stirring often to ensure even coverage.
5. Preheat oven to 250*. Spray a drying rack with nonstick spray and lay the marinated eggplant strips in a single layer on the tray. I spooned about a teaspoon of extra marinade on top of each strip before putting it into the oven, but this is completely optional (be sure to do this step over the sink!).
6. Bake for 1-2 hours – checking on the eggplant often to ensure it is not burning. Eggplant will cook at different times depending on how thick you sliced it.
7. When the eggplant has shriveled up to about half its size and appears crunchy, remove from the oven and let cool. It will crisp up a little bit more as it cools.
Enjoy on soups, salads, pasta, sandwiches or just as a healthy snack!