November 5, 2009
Before we went off to BlogWorld, I was on a mission to find a vegan, or at least a vegetarian, alternative to bacon since so many of us seem to be enamored with it. I’ve actually heard of people who are vegetarian except for bacon! I haven’t eaten bacon or any other meat product in over 15 years, but I have confessed that I do love the smoky aroma and I long for the crunchy yumminess that you get from bacon. I just don’t want a pig to have to die for me to get my crispy-urge satisfied!
So the search continues. One of my favorite guilty-pleasure meat analog products for years has been MorningStar Farms’ Bacon Strips. I say “guilty-pleasure” because these guys are full of all kinds of ingredients that are hard to pronounce and identify. If you like to fill your body with as many unprocessed foods as possible, these strips won’t be on your menu very often.
Right off the bat, they fail the vegan challenge because they contain egg whites, carrageenan and non-fat dry milk. On the upside, they contain 60 calories per serving (2 strips, which is a pretty dinky serving), 44% less fat than pork bacon, and zero cholesterol. So on the whole, they’re a far superior choice to pork bacon.
But, how do they taste? The package declares that these strips have “the delicious hearty flavor of smoked veggie bacon with a crispy bite”. I think that’s a fair claim to make; they taste pretty darn good! I like to nuke mine on a paper towel til they’re really crispy; almost burned in spots. I let them cool a second, then peel off the paper towel and make a faux BLT. To be honest, I usually cook 5 or 6 slices at a time for a decent sandwich. The flavor is appropriately smoky and I get the crunch I crave. With some good tomato, lettuce, mayo and maybe some avocado, you’ve got an excellent sandwich.
The verdict: tasty and crispy! These strips aren’t the healthiest option in the world because of all the processing, but as an occasional treat, they aren’t a bad choice and they do satisfy a little of the bacon craving in me. Would your meat-eating friends gobble these up and say yummy? Probably not. But if you’re like me and don’t want to eat pork, or just want to consume less fat, cholesterol and calories, then give these a try! The bonus is they smell awesome while they’re nuking!