When we first went vegetarian, we used a lot of those vegetarian "bac'uns" (soy based "bacon bits") for salads and for flavor in other dishes. We decided to try them in the organic version and it turned me off completely. I did not like them at all.
We aren't using tvp (textured vegetable protein made with soy) anymore and use very little soy foods these days. Every now and again though, I get a hankerin' for a flavor like bacon...
One of the things that other people may also miss when going vegetarian are certain meats. For some reason, it always seems to be pork based products. Bacon is one of those that come to mind.
Enter a book by Ani Phyo, "Ani's Raw Food Essentials" (2010) and some young coconuts in my fridge...and you've got the makings of some real flavor. Ironic that I would post this after my weight loss posts, but it is what it is....=)
This is not soy free, but you can play with the recipe a little. Experiment on your own. It does call for a food dehydrator, but you can work around this, if you don't have one, by using your oven set on a low temperature with the door ajar.
Raw Coconut Bacon
2 cups coconut meat (from 3 to 4 Thai baby coconuts)
3 Tablespoons Nama Shoyu or Bragg Liquid Aminos
2 Tablespoons olive oil
a few drops of liquid smoke flavoring (optional, not raw)
When scraping the meat out of your coconuts, try to keep pieces as large as possible. Clean the meat by running your fingers over its surface, picking off any pieces of hard husk. Rinse with filtered water as a last step, and drain well. (I also patted them dry with a paper towel.)
Place the coconut meat in a mixing bowl and add the remaining ingredients. Toss to mix well. Lay the meat in a single layer on two 14-inch square Excalibur Dehydrator trays.
Dehydrate for 6-8 hours at 104 degrees F. The length of time will depend on how thick your coconut meat is. Check it and dry it to your liking. Don't over-dehydrate, because the more you dry it,the more it will shrink, and you'll be left with only a small amount of bacon.
Options: Replace the smoke flavor with herbs and spices to make different flavors. Try chipotle powder, garlic, dill, or oregano.
I would add here... the liquid from the marinade that will be leftover can be used for another batch of coconut or used otherwise in dressings or other sauces, etc. So please don't throw it out...very little will actually soak in. Make sure to use it up within a few days.