I have been vegetarian since the age of 13. I remember seeing the little lambs bouncing around in the field at the back of our school and wondering what on earth they were doing on my plate each Sunday! I made that connection as a teenager and simply couldn't fathom why my parents had been feeding me animals.
Before you think I'm going on a judgemental vegan rant, that's not what this post is about. My mission is to share healthful, plant based food, that you find so enjoyable the desire to go back to animal products becomes a thing of the past. I'm also aware that for some, the ethical considerations simply aren't a 'thing'. You feel totally ok about eating meat, but that you're keen to heal your skin. So the questions I'm most often asked are
- 'can I include some sort of meat in my skin friendly diet?'
- 'would I be able to cook with quorn?'
The main problem with meat is that it's an inflammatory food. And what we're trying to do is reduce inflammation. Fish would be a preferred option, but choose fish less likely to have high levels of mercury.
Plant based for me is not really about meat substitutes. When I first became veggie I would include quorn everything in my meals! Mince in bolognese, sausages on the BBQ, those chicken-style pieces in stir-fries. I felt like something was missing from my diet and needed this replacement to compensate.
Now, having learned so much more about the amazing range of plant based foods we can enjoy and understanding recipes so much better, I very rarely buy meat substitutes. They're not the healthiest to be honest. Many contain gluten, sugars or flavourings.
So, although I've called these 'vegan bacon strips' this is not my attempt to like-for-like recreate bacon! When I first switched to a vegetarian diet my friends would say "I'd love to be veggie but I'd miss bacon too much". Some were even vegetarian but classed bacon as a 'treat'!! Bacon wasn't really a thing for me. I always found it a bit too chewy and salty. These days I'd feel too grossed out at the thought of tasting the texture of meat (a personal opinion) I couldn't eat it without thinking of a little piglet. That connection for me is too real.
So, what's the deal with this recipe? Well, I want to make protein taste good! Tofu is pretty bland and rubbery stuff. But trust me, try it this way and it will become an absolute favourite! I'm going to make 'bacon' and maple syrup pancakes this weekend because I have a bit of a thing with the salt / sweet combo. I'm tempted by a BLT too but without the tomato (nightshade) that leaves me with a BL and that's just a bit ridiculous!
100g firm tofu (I've used this one as I love it) thinly sliced with a sharp knife
1 tsp coconut oil (flavourless might work better here)
100ml tomatoless sauce (recipe in my book radiant)
1 tbsp tamari sauce (gluten free soy)
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tbsp maple syrup
Preheat the oven to 180C
Gently warm the oil in a frying pan and carefully lie the sliced tofu into it
Mix the tomatoless, tamari, coriander and maple together well and pour carefully into the pan
Let the pan bubble away, turning the tofu over after about 5 mins. You're wanting to marinade the slices well, so keep doing this as it gently bubbles for 10 - 15 mins
Lay the coated tofu slices on a sheet of greaseproof paper and pop the baking tray in the oven
Oven bake for 15 - 20 minutes. You want the slices crisp but definitely not burnt
Serve in a sandwich, on pancakes, or as a breakfast with mushrooms and spinach