Salty, crispy and flavourful tofu bacon made extra easy at home. Turn the protein rich power food into not teriyaki tofu this time but bacon with just a few steps. Perfect for breakfast, salads, BLT and more!
This tofu bacon is salty comfort food. There’s no end to the dishes you can bring to life with this recipe. If you’re craving salty, crispy tofu bacon goodness, read on!
How about vegan tofu bacon with tofu scrambled eggs? Or cut into pieces and sprinkled on baked potatoes with vegan cream cheese. It goes perfectly with asparagus, and of course a vegan carbonara pasta dish!
My point is, learn this dish and you’ll open up a range of comfort food options!
Why this Tofu Bacon is so Good
I tried vegan bacon alternatives with rice paper, mushrooms and carrots before, but I keep coming back to this tofu version. It just hits all the right notes. Crispy on the outside, firm on the inside, salty, smokey and full of flavor!
The key to success is the marinade it brings the tofu to life! That's why I've made it think, rich and creamy. In fact, it's tasty even before the tofu is baked in the oven.
The other key to this recipe is avoiding handling the tofu too much. Tofu can be a bit delicate and fragile when cut thinly. So if you handle it too much you can damage the tofu slices.
This tofu bacon recipe is easy to make among my tofu recipes and has a rich, salty and smokey flavour. Read on!
Ingredients for tofu bacon
This bacon tofu recipe is all about turning firm tofu into smokey-rich bacon slices. The key for success is the ingredients for the marinade.
Firm or extra firm tofu: Use extra or super firm tofu. If you cannot get it, press firm tofu at least for 30 minutes and remove water as much as you can.
Liquid Smoke: It's optional, and you can make tofu bacon without liquid smoke. Along with smoked paprika powder, liquid smoke is great for extra smoky-ness.
Tomato Puree: With the red colour of paprika, tomato puree adds both taste and the colour! Tofu bacon gets a rich red colour.
Soy Sauce: Tofu needs to be dried as much as possible. This is why I used dark soy sauce (koikuchi shoyu) but not sodium soy sauce or tamari. With sugar, the umami of soy sauce is brought out and becomes extra rich.
How to Make Tofu Bacon
The tofu needs to be marinated with the sauce, but here’s a few things to look out for:
1. While the tofu slices are soaked in the watery sauce, they absorb the liquid. It took much longer time for baking them in the oven.
2. The tofu slices are fragile. The more the tofu is touched, the more there is a risk it's broken. There are five times I had to touch the tofu:
- Slice the tofu on a cutting board
- Transfer the tofu slices into a bowl to marinade
- Place them onto the oven plate
- Flip them over
- Remove tofu from the oven and transfer onto a plate
That's too much!
To resolve these problems, I just skipped to soak tofu in the watery sauce in the bowl.
- First remove water completely from the tofu slices with a kitchen paper.
- Place and coat the tofu slices with the sauce directly on the oven plate.
- Cover the tofu slices with a wrapping film on top and marinade.
When the water is removed completely, the tofu only absorbs the sauce. The sauce can't be evaporated since it's covered by a rapping film. It permeates into the tofu slices. That worked!
The tofu slices are coated, marinated on the oven plate and ready to be baked. No need to transfer. This way you have less risk of damaging the tofu!
OK. Let's summaries.
- Slice a block of extra firm tofu. Or press the firm tofu. Remove water with kitchen paper as much as possible.
- Place the tofu slices onto the oven plate and remove the moisture completely with the kitchen paper from the surface.
- Coat the sliced tofu with the source, cover it with a wrapping film and marinade.
- Remove the wrapping film and bake.
That's it! Serve immediately. Accompany with scrambled tofu for breakfast. Or add it to salad for extra texture and smokiness, complete a BLT, or make a vegan carbonara pasta! Enjoy!
Tips for Vegan Tofu Bacon
While I sliced tofu for a vegan bacon alternative, I diced the tofu into less than half inch square. Then I marinated and put them into the freezer for at least an hour (freezer, not fridge)!
The tofu is transformed to a more solid and firm texture. This is a proper Japanese tofu cooking technique called kouri tofu. The frozen tofu becomes meat like in texture just by leaving it in the freezer.
Then fry on a heated and oiled frying pan until the moisture of the tofu pancetta disappears. Serve as soon as possible as bacon bits. Or add them to carbonara!
How long can you save this tofu bacon?
Transfer the cooked tofu bacon into the airtight container and leave in the fridge for 3 days. Of course, the best is to serve as soon as possible. If you freeze, it lasts for 3 months. When you defrost, bake in the oven. This way the tofu bacon is dried out, and the flavour will be maintained.
Can you make gluten free tofu bacon?
YES! Just use gluten free soy sauce. My favorite is "Kikkoman Yuki Organic Soy Sauce". Either koikuchi (dark coloured) or usukuchi (light coloured) shoyu works, but koikuchi is better. You can use it for many other dishes. Lots of grocery stores have gluten free soy shoyu now, so just substitute if you need gluten free. Kikkoman also makes gluten free soy sauce.
Hungry for more Tofu Recipes?
- 14 oz firm tofu (400g)
- 2 tablespoon soy sauce (gluten free soy sauce)
- 2 tablespoon tomato paste (36g)
- 1 tablespoon raw cane sugar (13g)
- 1 teaspoon liquid smoke (optional)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- Remove water from extra firm tofu with kitchen paper. Or press firm tofu at least for 30 minutes and remove water. Slice the tofu into ⅛ inch each. Set aside.
- Combine the ingredients to make the sauce. Set aside.
- Preheat oven at 400 degree F (200°C). Place cooking paper on an oven plate.
- Place the sliced tofu onto the oven plate, and remove the moisture completely with kitchen paper. Coat each tofu slice with ½ sauce. Cover them with a wrapping film. This is how you marinade the tofu slices. Leave them for at least 15 minutes.
- Remove the wrapping film, and bake the tofu in the oven until the surface is dried. It takes about 15 to 20 minutes. Flip over each tofu with a spatula or a fork. Paste the rest of the sauce on the tofu.
- Bake for another 15 to 20 minutes until the surface is completely dried out. Check out constantly to avoid being burnt the surface of the tofu. You need to keep your eye on it. If you like crispy bacon, keep it in the oven longer.
- Remove the plate from the oven, and serve immediately. Use the baked tofu bacon for breakfast, salad or BLT. Enjoy!