Life update: moving was crazy and I totally wound up driving a massive 26ft moving truck because they didn’t have any small trucks available! I was terrifed at first but now I’m convinced that I should be an ice road trucker and I make a point to wave to my fellow truck-driving brethren whenever I see them on the roads. Then, we had to get rid of our couch because it wouldn’t fit into our new doorway after hours and hours of trying (currently sitting on cushions on the living room floor, haha!). And on top of that we were woken up at 4 am by the fire alarm, what a great welcome! Other than that, I love our new place (especially the kitchen!!) and will love it even more once we get all this stuff put away.. and get a new couch.. C wants a bean bag couch.. oh gosh. Ok anyway.
For today’s post I would like to talk about bacon. What? Why is a vegan talking about bacon? I know, I know, I should be hissing and scurrying away to a corner filled with tofu to put a curse on Tyson farms at the very thought of it. Bacon. It tends to be the default joke response to any vegan/animal-rights post on any internet forum. I cringe when I look back on all the times I decided that bacon should be the secret ingredient in every dish under the sun. Donuts? Maple bacon crumble. Breakfast? Bacon and eggs. Salad? More bacon than vegetables.
However, now that I’ve transformed my thinking and diet, let’s look at this critically instead of emotionally. The bacon that most people think of comes from pigs. Obviously I have strong opinions on that. But that’s old news, what else.. Characteristics of bacon: salty, greasy, crispy, chewy, fried. Sounds like the most American thing I could think of! No wonder! But a love of these food characteristics does not necessarily need to result in the slaughtering of piggies everywhere to satisfy a greasy, crispy craving. Often times, vegan cooking takes on the characteristics of non-vegan food in order to make something with a similar idea. So, I tried to tackle bacon and not in a pig wrastlin’ kind of way.
My bacon of choice is the one and only portobello mushroom! Portobello mushrooms are found in just about any grocery store produce section I’ve been in and are by far my favourite mushroom. Similarities that these mushroom babes will have to bacon: fried, crispy, chewy, sizzling, greasy, and it shrinks when you cook it. Much like bacon. It even kind of looks like bacon when you’re actively trying to block out the memories of eating bacon. It’s not a perfect dupe but it gets the job done and tastes pretty damn good, too.
I am kicking myself for not taking a photo of this cooking to show the parallels between the two bacons. But here you go, portobello bacon in all it’s mushroom-y glory. I would say this is much more for the fans of chewy bacon than crispy. I guess if you cook them long enough they could get very crispy (burnt), but let’s try to respect this beautiful mushroom.
This is not a good photo, it’s been all sharpened up with editing and shrunken down and so many horrible things have been done to it. But I wanted to show the set up in my bowl here. I was very impatient to photograph it because I was really hungry!!
Second to the mushrooms is tofu! I eat a lot of tofu. I think adding a bit of tofu to anything will drastically improve it. Call me crazy but it’s cheap and versatile and good at any time of the day. This picture makes me giggle because my tofu looks like slices of grilled cheese.
Ok, moving on. We’ve got some shredded, cooked beets to add some sweet earthiness. As I said before, I love beets and so does C. He specifically asked for “something with beets” when I asked him what he wanted for dinner. I was hungry and short on time so luckily I discovered Love Beets. Pre-cooked beets, woo! Check them out and pick it up in your produce section. For me, it was near the mushrooms and herbs. I got the original but I also saw the honey and ginger flavour (I won’t get into the “is honey vegan?” debate at this time).
Alfalfa sprouts! I think sprouts are awesome and a perfect addition to lots of dishes. I like them in salads with some chickpeas and bell pepper, in sandwiches with avocado and tomato, and on top of this wild rice bowl! They’re also a must-have in any late-night Pita Pit order!
Let’s look at it again because I really, really enjoyed eating this.
I smothered everything with the beloved miso gravy from The Naam, one of Vancouver’s most popular vegetarian/vegan-friendly restaurants in Kitsilano. I am going to attempt to make my own mock-up of this gravy very, very soon! Mostly because not everyone is in Vancouver and has access to a Whole Foods or Save On. And partly because it’s like $5 for a bottle of it and I want it on everything all the time but my student debt won’t allow that. For people looking to make this before I can whip up some sort of alternative miso gravy, this recipe from Domesticdiva looks like it could be pretty good!
Wild Rice Bowl with Portobello Bacon
Serves 2. Ready in 30-40 min.
- 2 portobello mushrooms
- 2 beets, cooked
- 1.5-2 cups wild rice, dry
- 1 cup alfalfa sprouts, loosely packed
- 1/2 block extra firm tofu, pressed
- vegetable oil, for frying
- sriracha (just a little drizzle)
- 2/3 cup The Naam Miso Gravy (or make your own)
- Begin preparing your rice according to instruction.
- Shred beets. Set aside.
- Cut tofu into 4 large triangles. Set aside.
- Pour a generous amount of oil in a large pan and heat on medium-high.
- Slice portobello mushrooms and place in oil, cook it like bacon with each slice laying flat in the pan. Drizzle with sriracha, to taste (I recommend just a couple drops on each slice). Cook about 5 minutes per side, or until desired crispiness is reached. Place slices on a paper towel when done.
- In the same oil, add the tofu until nicely browned on each side, about 3 minutes per side. Place on paper towl to drain excess oil.
- Assemble in a large bowl with rice on the bottom and lots of miso gravy on top!
Be warned that this is another recipe where I didn’t really measure anything so take it with a grain of salt (actually don’t, since I didn’t add any salt to this!). Feel free to add your own toppings and let me know how you used portobello bacon! Tag me on instagram @justjennythings