It’s a strange phenomenon; people commenting “Bacon. Lol” where vegan advocacy posts depict sweet pigs on social media. As an animal lover, vegan or not, it’s hard to understand such nitwittwed reactions; you may feel anger or outrage towards these bacon trolls. But they haven’t yet fully contemplated how unfair the trade off is, that our beautiful and intelligent piggy friends pay the ultimate price for the sake of a sarnie. Aside from this disconnect, what our dear bacon trolls fail to see is that vegans can eat bacon too!
All you need to get the “essence” of bacon, which may be particularly helpful if you are transitioning from meat eating and are used to this flavour, is have the taste of salt and/or smoke. Of course you don’t need to have been a bacon lover in a previous life, you might just like smokey and salty flavours. But for those who did have bacon as part of their diet but no longer was to harm for their ham, the fact is there are plenty of alternatives! And it’s not only the animals who will be squealing for joy when you cut the cancer inducing, fatty, pink pig flesh from your diet. Your heart and your colon will be squealing for joy too…well, hopefully they ain’t actually squealing. That might require a visit to the doctor.
Here’s your guide to all things salty, smokey and pig free, and how best to enjoy them.
Vbites cheating rashers
An unapologetic attempt to replicate a bacon slice, complete with white coloured “rind”, cheating rashers are available in original and maple flavours and now also tempeh rashers. Make sure not to overcook as they get dry and crunchy if fried for more than a few minutes. In which case, be sure to have your bread buttered and ready for a sarnie, which is where these rashers are best served. Try them in a classic BLT or with a vegan omelette – good with a dash of tomato or brown sauce. Also great in place of animal meat with your vegan fry up!
Tofurkey maple tempeh rashers
Deliciously smokey, slightly sweet and satisfying rashers with a good bite. These are great eaten as they are because they are solid and taste so good on their own. Why not make some kind of wholesome soul food breakfast to go with these bad boys, with kale, vegan mac and cheese, mushrooms and smokey beans. Mmmmmmm!
A simple replacement for your lunchtime sandwich. Although thinly sliced, they have a good flavour and go great with mustard and tomato. These ham slices are very convenient for kids (and adult!) packed lunches in place of meaty slices, except better because there is no munching on piggy friends!
This garlicky, chunky hunk of protein is very versatile and will satisfy salt lovers. Bought frozen from places such as Holland and Barrett, it can be sliced once defrosted and used in sandwiches, and you could get a weeks worth of sandwiches out of one of these beasts! It is equally delicious chopped into chunks and thrown into a vegetable stew. You could cut it into strips to use in carbonara and you can even just fry slices of it to go with anything else you fancy!
Smoked tofu is produced by brands Dragonfly, Clearspot and Taifun which can be found in health food shops and sometimes in Holland and Barrett.The texture and degree of smokiness varies between brands, so try them all and to find your fave! The most solid, very smokey is the Taifun tofu which is a challenge to not accidentally eat straight from the chopping board. As it is so divine, use in a salad with beans, tomato and whatever else you like, and let the smokiness just take over. The softer Clearspot and Dragonfly are perfect for making a delicious smokey veggie wellington!
This party food classic is still on the menu for vegans. With a very simple recipe for pig-less rolls, or Linda McCartney sausage rolls bought frozen from the supermarket, party goers won’t have an inkling that no piggies suffered for their finger food.
If you feel your hackles raised by bacon comments, try to remember that these guys may know deep down that pigs are inquisitive and sensitive animals, subjected to suffering because of human food preference; taunting from behind the keyboard is a mighty strong defensive response. So take a deep breath, close that comment thread and stuff your face with pig friendly alternatives which mean you don’t need to harm for your ham!