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These savory-sweet tofu bacon crumbles are similar to bacon bits and taste like the real thing! They are made with extra-firm tofu, seasonings, and spices. Sprinkle on top of veggie dishes, potatoes, salads, soups, and sandwiches for a sweet smokey bacony flavor.
These tofu crumbles are game-changing! You can add them to salads, soups, veggies, and even sandwiches. For some other yummy tofu crumbles, try my:
To use, top pizza, potatoes, or sandwiches. How about a BLT?
Some of the ingredients used – and nope, no bacon!
- Bragg’s liquid aminos, smoked paprika, and liquid smoke help lend these tofu bacon bits, their meaty bacon-like flavor.
- The liquid aminos can usually be found in the healthy food section of your grocery store or with the vinegar. I’ve included an Amazon (affiliate) link below if you are unable to find them.
- Smoked paprika and liquid smoke can be found in your grocery store. The smoked paprika near the seasonings and the liquid smoke near the bbq sauces.
- You will also need: extra firm tofu, tahini, nutritional yeast, brown sugar, garlic and onion powders, black and cayenne pepper, maple syrup, and cocoa (unsweetened) powder.
Pro Tips and Tricks for making the very best tofu bacon bits that taste just like mine:
- Please read through the pro tips and tricks section – especially if you haven’t worked with baked tofu crumbles before.
- I use two different methods for baking my tofu crumbles. The first one, a simple press and drain, will be described first. It is the easiest and quickest method and will produce delicious and authentic tasting bacon tofu pieces. The second method, which involves freezing, thawing, and pressing, will be described below. This method slightly intensifies the flavor and gives a chewier texture. It does require some pre-planning and extra work and is honestly not the method of choice for me.
The press, drain, and bake method (easier):
- Press and drain the tofu with a tofu press for about ten minutes until you can’t squeeze any more liquid out from the tofu.
- Using a tofu press (affiliate link) will make pressing your tofu so much easier. Before I bought my tofu press, I put the tofu between plates and added some weights to the top. It workes, but plan on letting it press for up to an hour. Or just get a tofu press!
- While the tofu is pressing and the oven is heating, add all of the ingredients EXCEPT for the maple syrup to a medium-sized mixing bowl and stir well to combine.
- Once the tofu has fully pressed, hand-crumble into the mixing bowl with the seasonings. It is more work to hand crumble than it would be cut but will give a more natural consistency. Stir well to evenly coat.
- Turn onto a silicone lined baking sheet and put in the oven for a total of 35-40 minutes, but checking and stirring every 15 minutes.
Adding the maple syrup:
- The last five minutes of cooking, brush the tofu crumbles with up to 2 Tablespoons of real maple syrup.
- This is where you will need to decide just how sweet you want your tofu bacon bits to be. I like mine sweet, so I use the full two Tablespoonsfull. If you don’t want yours to be as sweet, use a little less.
- Use a pastry brush to evenly coat the tofu crumbles.
- Put back into the oven and check in five minutes. It should be slightly dried and browned. If desired, add up to five minutes more, checking every couple of minutes.
The Freeze Method:
- The freeze method will take more time (up to a day) and is more complicated. It will give you chewier, more intensely flavored tofu bacon bits. When I add these to veggies and salads and such, I really don’t notice a difference. Unless I just happen to have the time, I do the quick and easy (not freeze) method. If you would like to try the freeze method:
- Slice the tofu into about 5 pieces. Put in plastic and freeze for about 6 hours or overnight.
- Allow the frozen tofu to thaw on the counter for about an hour, then press and proceed with the directions for the quick and easy method.
- The frozen tofu will dry out quicker in the oven than with the quick and easy (non-freeze) method so check every 10 minutes instead of 15 to see how it is doing. Add the maple syrup the last 5 minutes but watch the tofu so that it doesn’t burn. I cook my tofu for 5 minutes less when I do the freeze method.
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Some items I found useful making the tofu bacon bits (affiliate links):
The Recipe for Tofu Bacon Bits:
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Tofu Bacon Bits
- 16 ounces tofu extra firm
- 2 Tablespoons tomato paste
- 2 Tablespoons tahini paste
- 2 Tablespoon Braggs Aminos sub low sodium soy sauce
- 1 ½ teaspoons liquid smoke
- 2 Tablespoons nutritional yeast
- 1/4 cup brown sugar packed
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1½ teaspoons garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- ¼ teaspoon cocoa powder unsweetened
To Brush on The Final 5 Minutes
- 2 Tablespoons pure maple syrup
- Preheat oven to 375°
- Press and drain the tofu, pouring off liquid as necessary. This will take about 10 minutes using a tofu press. If pressing between plates with weights, it might take up to one hour. (This is for the quick and easy method. See notes below for the freezing instructions.)
- While the oven is preheating and the tofu is pressing/draining, stir together all other ingredients (EXCEPT FOR THE MAPLE SYRUP) into a medium-sized bowl. You will be saving the maple syrup to brush on the last five minutes of cooking.
- When the tofu is pressed and drained, hand crumble into small pieces directly into the mixing bowl with the other ingredients. Toss together and stir to evenly coat.
- Turn onto a silicone baking sheet - or a baking sheet covered with parchment paper. Spread evenly and put it in the preheated oven for 35-40 minutes, checking at intervals. (See next instruction. Also, see note below about the freeze method as it will affect the cooking time.)
- After putting the tofu in the oven, set the timer for 15 minutes. Open the oven after the first 15 minutes and turn and stir the tofu, moving the dryer tofu from the outer edges to the center and the moister tofu in the center, out to the edges. Put back into the oven and check again in 15 more minutes.
- Take out of the oven again and turn and stir again, moving the dry tofu to the center. Before putting back into the oven, brush with the maple syrup. (See next instruction).
- (Now is when you get to make a personal choice of how sweet you want to make your bacon bits. I like mine sweet so I use the whole two tablespoons of (pure) maple syrup. If you do not like sweet bacon then use less maple syrup. I really can't tell you...)With a pastry brush, cover the baked and stirred tofu crumbles with the maple syrup, a bit at a time so that it absorbs into the tofu. Put back in the oven for 5-10 minutes.
- You will know when your tofu is done because it will be nicely browned - but not burned. I check after 5 minutes and if I don't think it is finished, I put back in the oven for up to 5 more minutes, checking every two minutes. Allow setting till slightly cooled for the full flavor to develop.
- You can keep these tofu bacon bits tightly in the fridge for up to a week - but I've never managed to keep them around that long!
- Cut the tofu block into about 5 slices and wrap in plastic or put into baggies.
- Freeze overnight or at least 6 hours.
- Allow to thaw and THEN press to remove any liquid.
- Proceed with the recipe instructions.
- When cooking, check every 10 minutes rather than 15. The tofu will dry out and start to burn more quickly. I usually cut about 5-7 minutes off the total cooking time.