How to make Smoky Vegan Bacon

Here’s a good little party piece to have in your culinary locker. Crispy, sticky, sweet, smoky vegan bacon 🤘. Perfect for adding to burgers or with a vegan cooked breakfast. These are so good trust me you need to try them.

The vegan ‘bacon’ is simply thinly sliced aubergine coated in a bacon-esque marinade before being roasted in the oven. The original recipe and real brains behind these comes from Gaz at Avant Garde Vegan. In my opinion these vegan bacon slices taste much better than processed pig meat and are a lot healthier too.

Vegan Bacon Recipe - Eaten by Sam

I grew up in a household that didn’t eat pork so bacon was never really my thing. Regardless of that it’s common knowledge that bacon isn’t the healthiest food we could be putting in our bodies. Bacon contains lots of saturated fats and salt, not to mention that being a processed meat means it’s a group 1 carcinogen according to the World Health Organisation. If you didn’t know, a group 1 carcinogen is a substance that has been confirmed to cause cancer in humans. Not nice.

Aubergine on the other hand is full of dietary fibre, vitamins and minerals and is known to reduce cholesterol and manage weight. The main vitamins in aubergine are B1, B6 and potassium, while its primary minerals are copper, magnesium and manganese. Like all colourful fruits and vegetables, aubergines also contain lots of antioxidants. The purple colour from aubergines comes from an antioxidant called nasunin. This potent antioxidant protects the lipids (fats) in brain cell membranes, enabling these cells to function properly.

Big up the aubergine 

How to make Vegan Bacon - Eaten by Sam

The first trick with these vegan bacon slices is to get them evenly sliced about 1-2mm thick so that they have a chance to crispen up in the oven. I’d recommend using a decent quality mandoline slicer like this one to get them perfect. The second trick is to get the oven temperature just right and to take them out just after they have turned crispy but before they burn. This is a very small window of time so pay attention while they are cooking!

How to make Vegan Bacon - Eaten by Sam

When you get them right these vegan bacon slices are amazing. Sweet, smokey, crispy, a bit chewey and full of flavour. I’d recommend pairing them with my Ultimate Scrambled Ackee Breakfast for a proper show-off vegan breakfast.

Let me know what you think in the comments and once again thanks to Gaz at Avant Garde Vegan for the original recipe.

5 from 1 vote

Smoky Vegan Bacon

Delicious crispy vegan bacon slices made from aubergine and coated in a smoky, sweet and flavoursome marinade.

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 12 slices
Author Eaten by Sam


  • 1 aubergine

For the marinade

  • 1 tbsp tamari
  • 1 tsp miso paste
  • 3 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 3 drops liquid smoke
  • 3 tbsp olive oil


  1. Add all the marinade ingredients to a large mixing bowl and stir until combined.

  2. Cut the ends off the aubergine and then cut it in half or quarter it  lengthways depending on what size you want your bacon slices. Then slice the aubergine about 1-2mm thick with a mandoline of very sharp knife.

  3. Let the aubergine slices marinate in the sauce while the oven heats to 170C (fan oven).

  4. Line a baking tray with greaseproof paper. Take each aubergine slice out of the marinade and brush off the excess liquid with your finger before placing on the baking paper.

  5. Cook in the oven for about 15 minutes. Brush some of the marinade over each slice a couple of times before they are finished cooking. Keep a close eye on them and take them out once they have gone a dark red colour and are crisp, but just before they start burning.

How to make smokey vegan bacon - Eaten by Sam


6 Comments How to make Smoky Vegan Bacon

  1. stephanie 4 September 2017 at 7:06 pm

    mmm i love eggplant 🙂
    i haven’t tried using liquid smoke but i’ve seen it a lot recently and may have to get a bottle! i bet this marinade would taste amazing on king mushrooms as well!

    1. Sam Hodges 4 September 2017 at 9:11 pm

      Took me ages to find liquid smoke in the supermarket but was worth it! Thanks for stopping by Stephanie ✌️

  2. Nico @ yumsome 4 September 2017 at 9:54 pm

    I love all the veggie bacon recipes that are floating around, and I have to say that your aubergines look pretty gawj, Sam! I’ve made carrot bacon but not tried with aubergines before… guess I’m going to have to remedy that! Thanks for the inspo! xx

    1. Sam Hodges 4 September 2017 at 10:53 pm

      Thank you Nico. I’ve seen your carrot bacon and I’ve got it pinned, just waiting to try it. I’ll let you know when I do!

  3. Ginny McMeans 5 September 2017 at 4:58 am

    Love that you made this with aubergine! I’ll be making this, hopefully, in a couple days. 🙂

    1. Sam 5 September 2017 at 8:30 am

      Thanks Ginny. If you can get it out the oven just at the right time the aubergine is crispy on the outside but chewy on the inside. Perfect

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