In a meat product popularity contest, bacon would probably take home top honors. Processed pork clearly has a lot of fans, and it gets added to everything from chocolate to bourbon to mayonnaise. Sadly, however, making it means the massacre of millions of pigs — each of whom is a sentient, intelligent individual.
Not to mention, bacon is a killer (literally) when it comes to human health. The WHO just released a report concluding that processed meats (like bacon and hot dogs) are a “group one” carcinogen.
Those are two pretty powerful reasons to avoid the crispy stuff.
Despite popular misconception that nothing can replace this breakfast favorite, there are lots of plant-based alternatives that everyone can enjoy. The lineup of substitutes has even earned an affectionate nickname: facon.
So, for bacon lovers everywhere, here’s an assortment of plant-based options that are way better for humans and pigs of the world, alike.
- Phoney Baloney’s Coconut Bacon: A newer addition to the vegan bacon scene, this crispy, coconut-based product earned a loyal following via an IndieGoGo campaign, and it’s now in more than 500 retail stores all over the country. It comes in original, low sodium, and chipotle varieties.
- Homemade vegan bacon: There are an array of veggies, grains and other ingredients that can be used to make hearty replicas of the real thing, right in your own kitchen. These include a beans and buckwheat version from No Meat Athlete, a mushroom version from Serious Eats, and an eggplant version from Ecosalon.
- Sweet Earth Foods’ Benevolent Bacon: Spiced with hickory and sage, this seitan-based bacon is smoky, saucy, and packed with protein. Since it’s release last year, it’s earned lots of fans among herbivores and omnivores.
- Lightlife’s Smart Bacon®: This popular alternative has a bacony taste that rivals the real deal, even with omnivores. It looks a lot like the real thing, too, so it’s a perfect addition to all kinds of dishes.
- Seaweed Bacon: Recently, a specific strain of seaweed made headlines for its bacon-esque taste. A red variety called dulse, the stuff is packed with vitamins (like A and C) and minerals, and when fried, tastes just like the real thing — or so say tasters.
- Upton’s Naturals Bacon Seitan: Made with vital wheat gluten and smoky spices, this store-bought option is great on a BLT, a pizza, or a veggie burger, the company suggests.
- Tofurky’s Smoky Maple Bacon Marinated Tempeh: This smoky, maple flavored-bacon alternative is made with tempeh (fermented soybeans), and offers a much healthier option than the breakfast meats you’re used to. It’s great in a sandwich or alongside scrambled tofu.