Smoky and spicy with maple undertones, you’re going to love these vegan bacon bits sprinkled all over veggies, salads, and soups. Ready in under 60 seconds – this simple dump and mix recipe requires nothing more than a bowl and measuring spoons. Stir yourself up a batch today and enjoy these bacon-y tidbits for up to a month — they keep in the fridge really well!
TL:DR Summary of Making Vegan Bacon Bits
About the Ingredients
These Vegan Bacon Bits are made with a meat substitute called TVP, which is short for textured vegetable protein. You’ll also see it labelled TSP (textured soy protein) or soy meat or soya chunks. TVP is high in protein and is fat-free. Typically, you buy it dry and then rehydrate it with boiling water. For this recipe, you don’t need to rehydrate it. Just use the dry TVP right from the package.
You should be able to find TVP/TSP in a well-stocked grocery, or in the bulk bins of natural food stores. It’s inexpensive. I paid about $4 Canadian for a 10 oz (283 gram) bag.
The other ingredients are liquid smoke, maple syrup, smoked paprika, salt, and water.
About Liquid Smoke
Liquid smoke is vegan – it’s essentially a distillation of the smoke and steam from burning wood. Be cautious when you use liquid smoke, a little bit goes a long way!
For this recipe, I used the hickory-smoked kind as I think it more closely emulates a real bacon flavour. Look for liquid smoke in the condiment section of your grocery store.
Making Vegan Bacon Bits
This is so easy – just assemble all the ingredients (TVP, salt, smoked paprika, liquid smoke, maple syrup and water) and mix them together. Unlike most recipes that use TVP you do not rehydrate it first. Just dump it in the mixing bowl. When you first make the vegan bacon bits, they will be damp, but not wet. You can eat the vegan bacon bits right away, or store them in the fridge for up to a month. They will get drier the longer you have them but the flavour will remain good.
Ideas for Using Vegan Bacon Bits
Bacon bits are a classic topper for soups, salads and vegetables, such as baked potatoes. I’ll be adding lots of ideas in future posts. Here’s a look ahead to an upcoming recipe, Roasted Yams with Sweet Onion Dressing and Vegan Bacon Bits.
Eating Together Made Easy
These Vegan Bacon Bits are 100% plant-based so they can be enjoyed by eaters of all types. Now for the truth in advertising part — if you blind taste-test these against actual bacon bits, I’m pretty sure it will be obvious which is which. That said, more than one non-vegan in my life has happily eaten them because they just taste good. That’s said, if you’re a group of mixed eaters, you can certainly serve the real stuff for the non-vegans. Or just serve these, but call them “smoky sprinkles”!
Vegan Bacon Bits in 60 seconds!
- 6 tablespoons textured vegetable protein
- 1 teaspoon liquid smoke
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
- Combine all ingredients in small bowl. The bacon bits will get drier over time.
Other Names for Textured Vegetable ProteinAlso called TVP, textured soy protein, TSP, soy chunks, soy mince. TVP is made from soy.
About Liquid SmokeLiquid smoke is vegan. I used hickory-flavoured smoke for this recipe.
StorageYou can store these vegan bacon bits in the refrigerator for at least a month, in a sealed container. They will dry out over time but the flavour will remain good.
Nutritional InformationNutritional information is an estimate only.
Pin Vegan Bacon Bits for Later
Looking for Other Vegan Seasoning Ideas?
I’d love to hear what you eat these with! Come back to the site and let me know.
Fantastic! Smoky and delicious!
So great to hear! Thank you, Taryn!
Has anyone tried drying them with heat, perhaps spread out on a cookie sheet in a low temperature oven?
Hi Dan! Yes, I did try this when I tested the recipe originally. It will change the texture a bit – making them more chewy. I didn’t note the amount of time in the oven but they will probably just need a few minutes. Let me know how it works out if you try it. Note that they will dry out on their own over time, too.
You should consider developing a commercial product out of this. It’s good enough for that.
This product is way healthier than real bacon. I.E., the TVP I found has 11% of the RDA for carbohydrates vs 72% of the RDA for fiber. Carbohydrates consist of sugar, starch and fiber. So having a higher portion of RDA for fiber means it has a lower portion of the less healthy carbohydrates, sugar and starch. Also remarkably high in essential minerals like copper, iron, manganese, magnesium, molybdenum, phosphorus, selenium and zinc.
Thank you! I did try to emulate what’s available, but with simple, accessible ingredients.
People trying this instead of going with typical bacon bits probably care about their health. So you might like to know about an alternative to the teaspoon of salt.
Similar to no-calorie sweeteners, there’s iodized salt substitute products that use iodine instead of sodium.
Iodine is an essential mineral required to synthesize thyroid hormones. It’s estimated that 1/3 of the world’s population is iodine deficient though. Most of those people are in developing nations, but epidemiological data in 2016 indicates that iodine deficiency is an emerging issue in industrialized countries (https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27973468/).
In my experience iodized salt substitute isn’t the same as real salt though, so this recipe wouldn’t be the same just using that. Could go with something like 2/3 salt and 1/3 iodized salt substitute to convert some sodium intake to iodine intake while maintaining this being a miraculous alternative to bacon bits.