Shiitake Bacon & a Vegan BLT


Bacon, bacon, bacon, bacon, for years everyone has been obsessed with bacon. The craze reached a fever pitch somewhere around 2010/11 and while every expert has predicted [hoped for] its demise ever since our addiction to bacon seems to give no hint of waning.

Not only are there stacks of savory recipes out there but you can find hundreds of festivals in celebration of it and websites devoted to its existence. Then, as is always the case with any trend, bacon made its way into desserts. You can’t argue with sweet and savory as an enticing combo, but when fast food joints jump on the bacon dessert bandwagon one has to ask if it has gone to far.


But what about those of us who aren’t carnivores? How much have we been missing out on? I’ve always said that if I ever start eating meat again, sausage and bacon are some of the first things I’d go for – they just smell so good – but in the meantime my diet has been severely lacking in bacon-y goodness. Sure you can get faux soy bacon but really… no, just no.

We never much had bacon growing up but I do fondly recall occasional BLT nights. It was one of the easiest meals ever for mom to make – not that there is anything wrong with that – and we got to help. I always liked mine extra crispy, and while bacon cupcakes and bacon doughnuts and bacon toffee sound intriguing, a good BLT is one of the things I’ve missed most.


On our last trip we spent some time with my brother and his little family in Philly. They went meat-free a few years back and have worked their way through most of the vegan restaurants in the city. When he mentioned Shiitake Bacon to me I had the same slightly stunned look on my face that I’ve witnessed each time I’ve described it to people since. When we got back from our holiday it was one of the first things I tried.

So a quick commercial break for an interjection of science… not really science, just some info, science makes it sound official. Both types of mushrooms in the pic below are shiitake. Yep, really. For all the brief intensive searching I did, the best thing I could find was this post over here. Turns out that shiitake mushrooms – Xiang Gu or fragrant mushroom – come in two different forms.


Dong Gu or winter mushroom is the smooth one that looks almost velvety. Hua Gu or flower mushroom has a more button mushroom shape and a cracked pattern. Either will work a treat for this recipe. Also if you haven’t worked it out yet, Gu=Mushroom. Science and language all in one, it’s like a virtual cultural exchange round these parts – ha!

Now I can’t attest – yet – to how Shiitake Bacon would work in desserts, but used on a sandwich with lettuce and tomato for lunch, served with eggs for brunch, or topping a Vegan Mushroom & Lentil Burger for dinner it is stunning.

Tell me, have you ever made any crazy bacon creations?




  1. says

    I have never made any crazy bacon creations, but I just want to say that after spending so much time in the USA, hubby now much prefers the crispy crunchy bacon the Americans do, as sopposed to the soggy limp stuff we get served here.

      • says

        I agree! I make my own UK style streaky bacon which actually goes crispy when you cook it! As for Mushroom bacon, it’s a great idea, if you don’t eat meat! And the photo of the BLT is just gorgeous!

  2. Eha says

    So much fun!!! Have no shiitakes at home, but brought a whole tray of Portobellos at the markets yesterday!! So guess what! I’m game :) !

  3. says

    How very intriguing JJ! I saw fresh shiitake mushrooms at the markets on Sunday and the lovely mushroom man gave me some to try for free. If only I didn’t use them all in last night’s stir fry. Oh well will just have to buy more this weekend!

    • JJ says

      I’ll have to check it out! I found that sprinkling the salt from a height – ala Jamie style – put a bit on each but didn’t make it too salty :)

  4. Mei says

    This, honestly, resulted in the most bacon like texture I have ever found in a bacon substitute. It was AMAZING. I used reduced sodium soy sauce and liquid smoke as a marinade first and skipped the salt (since, really, even reduced sodium soy sauce provided more than enough salt!), just because I know I like the smokey taste in my vegan bacon and it was just awesome. So much so that I’m actually commenting – which I don’t think I’ve ever done a recipe website! The only issue I have with this recipe is “how am I ever going to find the willpower not to make this every other day?”

    thanks for sharing!

    • Kacer says

      I was thinking that this idea would be a bit more ‘authentic’ per a bacon flavor, do now you have one, I have to try it.

  5. says

    Now THIS is my kind of bacon! I can’t wait to try it out on my next BLT :) This summer, my boyfriend fell in love with the deep-fried, chocolate covered bacon at the fair. I nearly gagged. Thanks for sharing!!



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