“When I was a vegan and seemed to fraternize only with fellow plant eaters, one fact that got tossed around a lot was that Baco-Bits are vegan,” says Danny Seo in his book Naturally, Delicious - 100 Recipes for Healthy Eats that Make You Happy. “The reality is, everybody loves bacon, and we missed its salty, crunchy taste. This is my ode to bacon; who knew strips of coconut could be turned into a savory, protein-packed ‘fakin’ bacon’ treat?”
FOR THE COCONUT “BACON”
1/4 cup large ﬂaked coconut
1/2 teaspoon tamari
1/8 teaspoon smoked paprika
FOR THE DRESSING
3 tablespoons coconut oil
1/2 teaspoon white or black mustard seeds
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon grade B organic maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
Sea salt, to taste
FOR THE SALAD
4 ounces spinach (not baby, it wilts too quickly), stemmed, washed, and spun dry
1/2 pound butternut squash, peeled, diced, and roasted
2 ounces red onion, sliced thinly
How to Make It
Preheat oven to 325°. Toss together the coconut, tamari, and paprika*, and bake for 10 to 15 minutes, tossing every 5 minutes. Transfer to a cool baking sheet; the “bacon” bits will crisp as they cool.
Make the dressing: Warm the oil* and add the mustard seeds. When the seeds begin to pop, carefully add the vinegar. Whisk in the maple syrup and mustard, and season with salt.
Divide and arrange spinach, squash, and red onion between 2 plates.
Drizzle dressing over spinach to wilt lightly, and sprinkle with coconut “bacon.”
* Editor’s notes: Use a rimmed baking sheet for toasting coconut. For dressing, use a medium saucepan and melt coconut oil over medium heat. As soon as first mustard seeds pop, turn off heat and carefully drizzle in vinegar.
Make ahead: The coconut bacon can be prepared up to 1 week in advance and refrigerated in an airtight container until ready to serve. To serve, re-crisp in a preheated 325° oven.
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