Carrot Bacon? Hard to believe that you can use a vegetable as a substitute for real bacon, but this healthier alternative will surprise you! Crispy, smoky, vegan and kosher friendly, you'll find yourself making this recipe time and time again.
Now bacon is for everyone 😉
Bacon is one of those food items that makes everyone happy. I've never actually eaten real deal bacon (it's not kosher), but the smell of bacon sizzling in the morning still makes me smile. This plant based bacon is an awesome alternative for those who keep kosher, those who choose a vegetarian or vegan diet or anyone looking for a healthier alternative once in a while.
Inspired by vegan cook Tabitha Brown, whose carrot bacon recipe went viral on Tik Tok a few years ago, this recipe is a breeze to make! Even without an air fryer, it's a great way to achieve a crispy carrot bacon that's an awesome substitute for the real thing.
- Carrots: Use large carrots in this recipe so that you can make larger pieces of the vegan bacon
- Spices: I chose this spice combination based on my inspiration recipe, but you can use any combination of spices that give you that traditional bacon flavor.
- Liquid smoke: You can make carrot bacon without liquid smoke, however, I love the smoky flavor it gives to this recipe without using a smoker.
- Sweetener: I like honey, but maple syrup works as a great substitute as well.
How to make carrot bacon
There are three main steps in making carrot bacon.
1. Slice the carrots 2. Marinate the carrots 3. Cook the carrots. Easy, right!
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Peel the carrots and cut off the very ends. Then slice the carrots into very thin strips. You can do this with either a vegetable peeler or a mandoline. Watch your finger tips carefully in this step.
Then, mix up your marinade in a container with a flat bottom. A 9x9 glass baking dish or small casserole dish both work great. Add all the ingredients into the dish and stir them together well.
Place the carrots in the marinade and let sit for 2-3 minutes, using a pastry brush, if needed, to make sure both sides of the carrots are fully coated.
Now transfer the marinated carrot ribbons to the parchment lined baking sheet and bake them in a 400 degree oven for 10-15 minutes. You want the carrots to get dried out and get crispy on the edges, but not burn.
Once crispy and cooked through, take them out and let cool for a few minutes on a cooling rack. They will continue to crisp up as they cool.
Yes, absolutely. Making air fryer carrot bacon is a sure way to ensure the crispy texture on each and every piece. Here's how you do it. Follow the recipe through until right before you put the marinated carrots into the oven. Then turn your air fryer to 350 degrees. Place carrot strips into the air fryer basket. Air fry them for 10 minutes adding an extra minute if you want them to be extra crispy.
Yes and it's super easy. To a large skillet over medium-high heat add a tablespoon of olive oil. Add the marinated carrot strips to the pan and let cook until brown on crispy on the first side. Turn the heat down to medium, flip the carrot bacon over and let finish cooking the second side. Take out and let cool on a cooling rack.
There is just one simple substitution you need to make to make this into a vegan carrot bacon recipe. Simply swap the honey for maple syrup (which sounds like a delicious swap to be) and carry on with the recipe as written. Alternatively you could use a vegan honey, but I've not tried that substitute myself.
What carrots works best for this recipe
You'll want to look for large carrots for this recipe. Baby carrots are too little to cut into long strips. Since you want to imitate regular bacon the larger carrots will give you longer strips to work with. Additionally, the larger carrots cook more evenly.
To mix things up though you can use any color carrot you like. Try a bag of rainbow carrots or mix orange and purple carrots for a fun Halloween treat. It's the perfect way to introduce new vegetables into your home without a fight!
How to serve carrot bacon
- As a snack: Straight out of the oven or the pan, this delicious carrot bacon recipe is perfect for a healthy snack. I like to serve this afterschool to my kiddos on a fun snack tray. Along with some cheese, apple slices, and crackers, it's a great spin on the sometimes boring carrot and hummus after school snack.
- On a sandwich: Here's your chance to enjoy a Vegan BLT. Grab your favorite sandwich bread, pile on a ripe tomato, some crunchy iceberg lettuce, and some long strips of crispy carrot bacon. You could also add it to a classic egg salad sandwich for a bit of extra crunch.
- For breakfast or brunch: I love the idea of serving carrot bacon alongside Egg in a Hole Bagels for a crowd or with a big old stack of pancakes. Bacon and eggs are a classic combination and swapping carrot bacon is an easy way to elevate brunch. It would also make a delicious topping on hearty piece of avocado toast.
While you can store any leftovers for a few days in the fridge in an airtight container, I don't suggest it. You'll see after the first time you make this recipe. The crispy carrots just beg to be eaten and since it's just a few carrots, you'll have no problem finishing them up.
If you do choose to store the leftovers, be sure to rewarm them in the oven so that they have a chance to crisp up again. Otherwise, you'll just be left with soggy, floppy (yet delicious) carrots.
One more quick tip
I love using my mandolin to make quick work of slicing carrots for this recipe. You are looking for paper-thin ribbons of carrot and it's not always so easy to achieve with a knife. That said, you want to be super careful running the carrots over the mandolin. For the best results in getting the carrots cut thinly, wear a cutting glove so you don't have to fear for your fingers while you slice the carrots super thin.
Did you try this recipe and and love it? 😍 Let me know by leaving a comment below or 5 ⭐ rating!
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Simple Carrot Bacon Recipe
- 2 Large Carrots
- 2 tablespoon Liquid Smoke
- 2 tablespoon Maple Syrup (or honey)
- ½ teaspoon Garlic Powder
- ½ teaspoon Onion Powder
- ¼ teaspoon Smoked Paprika
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Peel the carrots and then slice super thin on a mandoline or with a vegetable peeler.
- Mix all ingredients for the marinade. Place the strips of carrot into the marinade mix and soak the carrot slices in the marinade for two minutes.
- Lay the carrot strips out on a the prepared baking sheet and arrange them so they aren't crowded when the cook.
- Bake for about 15 minutes, flipping once to ensure even browning. Start checking on them around 10 minutes and watch carefully to prevent burning.