Chickpea Flour Bacon!!

I’ve been following the current fascination with creating seitan from all-purpose flour (called wash-the-flour method) rather than vital wheat gluten. I tried the method a couple of years ago and was not a fan for a couple of reasons: 1) the yield was too low; 2) it’s difficult to add flavour into the seitan; 3) pouring all the starch down the drain seems like a terrible waste. It seems, however, that a few people have created recipes that use the leftover starch. I wasn’t particularly interested in the noodle recipes, but then I discovered that a couple of people were making vegan bacon from the starch water.

After watching a few videos on the method (and still having no desire to revisit the wash-the-flour method of making seitan), I started to wonder why I couldn’t create bacon from, say, chickpea flour. I’ve made crepes from chickpea flour, and the batter is not dissimilar from the starch-water batter, so I thought, what the hell, and had at it.

I used the method outlined in this video from The Pot Thickens and this one from Yessica Infante: both cooks divide the batter in half to create different colours. I used the flavourings from my own chewy vegan bacon bits–they’re pretty standard for creating a bacon-y taste.

I was fasting until 4:30PM today, so I had James doing the taste-testing and made adjustments based on his notes. After I finished and started frying up the strips, James was so impressed, he wanted to try a BLT. I obliged and he pronounced the result delicious!

After we arrived back from our hike in the woods this afternoon, I broke my fast and had a taste. I was shocked at how good the chickpea bacon is!

Now, this recipe contains quite a bit of oil and lots of salt, so it’s not exactly WFPB. However, the central ingredients are chickpea flour, water, and beet powder, so it’s not without its nutritional merits!

Chickpea Flour Bacon

Makes about 36 slices of bacon.

Add the following to the Vitamix and blend until smooth. If you don’t have a high-speed blender, you will need to soak the dried shiitake mushrooms in boiling water for an hour or so:

  • 1 cup chickpea flour
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/3 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1 TBS vegan chicken broth powder or Knorr vegetable broth powder
  • 2 dried shiitake mushrooms
  • 2 TBS peanut oil
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp salt

Remove 1/2 of the batter into a squeeze bottle and set aside.

Next, add the following to the blender:

  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 2 TBS maple syrup
  • 2 TBS liquid smoke
  • 2 TBS Maggi sauce
  • 1 TBS beet powder
  • 1 TBS Better Than Bouillon vegetable paste
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika

Pour into another squeeze bottle and set aside.

Lightly oil and heat a large flat pan; create a square shape with the red batter and fill in, leaving gaps for the white batter:

When the top seems dry and cooked, turn over and cook for a few minutes:

When the other side is cooked, remove from heat and create another square crepe with both batters. Continue until the batter is finished. Next stack the squares up and slice them into rectangles:

Next, add a little vegan butter or vegetable shortening to the pan and fry up as many slices as you need for a delicious vegan BLT sammie! You can fry the slices on an as-needed basis or fry them up all at once and store them in the fridge for a week. I am freezing a ziploc baggie full of slices at this point to see how well they freeze and will update on this later.

The result doesn’t crinkle up like rice paper bacon or the starch bacon, but the texture is lovely and crispy, and once you remove it from the heat, the bacon continues to crisp up!

And…apparently, James approves!

I cannot believe I forgot to take a pic of the BLT I made him…especially since it was made with a couple of slices of my amazing sandwich bread (from the new breadmaker–haha!). I’m making veggie burgers for dinner, so James suggested bacon-cheeseburgers with the chickpea bacon and a slice of vegan cheddar.

UPDATE: As it turns out, the chickpea flour bacon freezes very well! I froze. thawed, and fried several slices for a couple of BLTs for James today and he pronounced the result amazing!

And it was a glorious Denman Island day: the sun was shining and all the flowers are just starting to bloom, so the song of the day is Patty Griffin’s “Heavenly Day”:

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