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Adventures in Eggplant Bacon

MeetTheShannonsEggplantBaconSometimes you get a cold and sometimes a cold gets you. If you don’t know what I mean by that – I hope you never do. But yeah I think the stress of the book coming out next week, having a little baby and ya know life caught up with me. When you get sick like once a year – it seems bad when it happens and you appreciate it when you’re back on your feet in a week. It was a hell of a way to start one of the most important months in my life.

See it’s MAY. MAY IS HERE. Great big stupid May. This May I turn 40, I celebrate my first Mother’s Day, and our second book comes out. I have book signing events in New York City and Los Angeles – which I obviously hope some of you guys will come to! You can can click on the links to get the details. The event in NYC is a fundraiser at Moo Shoes to benefit Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary and the LA event will also be at Moo Shoes and benefiting Peta! So if you haven’t picked up a book yet – I hope you’ll consider coming to one of these events and supporting not only non-profits that help animals but Moo Shoes – a vegan store!

But this isn’t all that happens in May. As many of you know – I took my daughter with me to a NARAL Pro-Choice Lobby Day yesterday which was one of the most special days in my life thus far*. I know a lot of you know already about this because I got the less than amazing emails and noticed the lost Intsagram followers… and while I admit a week before you have a book coming out is a bad time to lose over 300 followers on a social networking site because you did something some people consider controversial, I can also admit that whatever kind of professional failure that might have been I still feel that yesterday was a personal success for me as a mother and that raising a person who feels empowered and encouraged to speak up for issues that don’t just concern women but everyone is part of what I dreamed of all those years we spent trying to become parents. So it’s cool. I won’t cry over spilt Instagram followers.

 photo celebrate.gif
Professional Suicide! BOOM.

Instead I’d like to talk to you today about Eggplant Bacon!

So I needed to shoot some photos with eggplant recently and found myself with like a horde of eggplants with no real purpose in my kitchen. They didn’t just lack direction these random aubergines – they lacked any real reason for existence once they were photographed. In our next book, we have a pretty great baba gonoush recipe and this other recipe for like eggplant “deli slices” that is pretty awesome too… but after I made those I still had three smallish leftover eggplants. Eggplants that almost seemed to mock me with the fact that Dan and I don’t actually like eggplant all that much. With their snooty little green tops and beautiful, dark Pantone 2695 skins… Eggplants might just be the smuggest of all vegetables**. So I asked my assistant Danielle if she could turn them into eggplant bacon while I was writing one day.

Look at those shifty little jerks.
Look at those shifty little jerks.

I’d always heard good things about eggplant bacon from others but because I like to do my own thing… I kinda never thought about trying it. I mean – it’d been done and well and everyone knew it was good… what’s to be learned from reinventing a wheel right? But there I was with that horde of eggplant I mentioned and a love of smoky food and it just seemed like fate. The cosmos wanted us to eat eggplant bacon. Who am I to fight the universe’s plan for these vegetables? Danielle found a recipe she liked (posted below) and made the eggplant bacon you see on this post like a champ. She was like this magical eggplant making machine that made the world a happier place through vegan bacon alternatives***. To be clear this is not our recipe so we can’t take credit for how awesome it is. It does take awhile but makes a figurative ton of tasty savory and smoky eggplant bacon slices you can enjoy on avocado toast (my favorite), with tofu scramble, on pizza, on burgers (Dan’s favorite) or just in an old fashioned BLT… Really the world can be your eggplant bacon wonderland. 

Eggplant Bacon

(recipe via Whole Foods Market blog)

1 pound of eggplant, 1 large or in our case 2 medium to small sized ones
1 1/2 teaspoons fine sea salt
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon reduced-sodium tamari or Bragg’s Liquid Amino Acids
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/8 teaspoon ground chipotle or smoked paprika
Olive oil spray oil

Cut eggplant lengthwise in quarters. Slice each quarter lengthwise as thinly as possible (1/8 to 1/4 inch) and place in a large colander. We recommend using a mandolin to get the thinnest slices possible and to get the most uniform thickness. Sprinkle evenly with salt and let sit for 1 hour to draw out moisture. Rinse, drain and pat dry.

In a shallow baking dish, combine 1/4 cup water with sugar, vinegar, oil, tamari, paprika and chipotle. Add drained eggplant and let marinate 1 hour, stirring several times.

Eggplant Bacon - in progress
Eggplant Bacon – in progress

Preheat the oven to 250°F. Fit 2 racks into 2 large rimmed baking sheets. Oil the racks lightly with spray oil. Place eggplant slices on the racks in a single layer. Bake about 1 hour and 30 minutes, or until eggplant is dry and golden brown. Let cool before serving. (Eggplant will crisp upon cooling.) Store loosely covered at room temperature for up to 3 days.

* Not kidding – I have the privilege of living in a first world country, have access to great healthcare and the ability to take a day off to go talk to my representatives about how important it is that others also have access to resources like family planning, sex education and clinics that provide services like cancer screening. My daughter may not remember yesterday but we’re raising our little girl to someday hopefully do the same.

** I stand by this statement. SO. SMUG.

*** Awesome super hero idea Marvel – if you’re out there listening…


9 thoughts on “Adventures in Eggplant Bacon”

  • As a beneficiary of some of this this week, I can vouch for its awesomeness. Nom nom nom.

    And Miss Sadie is awesome with a pretty rocking mom.

  • Thank you for standing up for women’s right to choose and for continuing to be an inspiration for all of us to speak up for what we believe. And awesome eggplant recipe btw. Can’t wait to buy the book.

  • You are amazing, thank you for standing up for women’s rights! That anyone wrote you negative emails or decided to unfollow you is just proof that we need more activists like you to help change our world into one that’s safe for everyone, including females. 🙂

  • Well…yesterday was my birthday….yes, I am now officially really old……(66)…..and guess what I got for my birthday???!!!??? Yup, you guessed it…..Mastering the Art of Vegan Cooking arrived!!!! Woo hoo!!! Can I say………this one’s a true keeper!!!! Thank you so much for writing this book!!! It has a new twist at the end of lots of the recipes (if not all)…ways to use leftovers in other recipes!!! What a great idea!!! JOB WELL DONE, YOU TWO!!!!!! I can’t wait to delve into this book and cook my way through it!

    • Thank you so much for this! We’re so glad you like the book. It means a lot to us to hear that. AND HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!

      • Thanks, Annie….by the way…..I think if some man made me that cheezy sauce from Betty Goes Vegan, I might have fallen in love too!!!! Boy is that stuff great!!! I call it Crack Sauce!!!!

  • Yum. Eggplant. I’ve been reading your new cookbook, which is really good, and I’ve got another vegan-friendly money saving tip for you. Winning (mostly on the radio, sometimes sweepstakes)! And to a lesser extent: freebies, coupons, bargains. (Example: free vegan treat at – scroll through their banner.) My blog, Vegan Town USA, is about testing meat based restaurants for vegan friendliness using gift cards I win. 🙂 Yes, it’s a one of a kind original. 🙂

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