Is there gluten free vegetarian bacon?

Gluten free and vegetarian diets are becoming increasingly popular for health, ethical, and environmental reasons. Many people adopting these diets still crave the smoky, salty, crispy texture of bacon. Fortunately, there are several appetizing options for gluten free vegetarian bacon on the market today.

What is vegetarian bacon?

Vegetarian bacon seeks to mimic the flavor, texture, and appearance of regular pork bacon without using any animal products. It is made using plant-based ingredients like soy, wheat, vegetables, nuts, and spices.

Many vegetarian bacons are made of tofu or tempeh, which are nutritious soy products. Tofu has a mild flavor and can be flavored and shaped to resemble bacon strips. Tempeh has a firmer, meatier texture naturally. Coconut flakes are also commonly used to mimic the fatty crispiness of bacon.

In addition to the base ingredients, vegetarian bacons are flavored with smoky seasonings like paprika, liquid smoke, maple syrup, and salt to approximate the savory bacon taste. Natural colorings like beet powder or carrot juice may be added to recreate the red and brown hues.

While vegetarian bacon varies by brand, common ingredients include:

  • Tofu
  • Tempeh
  • Coconut flakes
  • Soy protein
  • Seitan (wheat gluten)
  • Rice flour
  • Nuts like almonds or cashews
  • Seeds like flax or chia
  • Vegetables like mushrooms, carrots, beets
  • Smoky seasonings
  • Natural flavorings and colorings

With the right combination of base ingredients and seasonings, vegetarian bacon can mimic both the taste and texture of real pork bacon fairly closely.

Is vegetarian bacon gluten free?

Some vegetarian bacons are completely gluten free, while others contain gluten. Here is the breakdown:

Gluten free vegetarian bacons

There are many gluten free options for vegetarian bacon, since the main ingredients are naturally gluten free:

  • Tofu or tempeh: Soy products like tofu and tempeh are naturally gluten free.
  • Coconut: Coconut contains no gluten.
  • Nuts and seeds: Tree nuts, seeds like flax and chia, and nut flours contain no gluten.
  • Rice flour: Rice flour has no gluten.
  • Vegetables: Vegetables like mushrooms, carrots, and beets are gluten free.
  • Corn: Corn contains no gluten.
  • Chickpea flour: Chickpea flour is gluten free.

As long as the ingredients contain no wheat, barley, rye, or derivative flours, the bacon can be certified gluten free. Be sure to check labels to confirm.

Vegetarian bacons containing gluten

Some vegetarian bacons do contain gluten. Here are the main things to look out for on ingredient lists:

  • Seitan: Seitan is made from wheat gluten, so it contains gluten.
  • Soy sauce: Soy sauce contains wheat unless marked gluten free.
  • Wheat flour: Wheat flours contain gluten.

Vegetarian bacons made with seitan, wheat flour, or non-gluten free soy sauce would not be safe for a gluten free diet.

What are some recommended gluten free vegetarian bacon brands?

When shopping for gluten free vegetarian bacon, look for trusted specialty brands marketing to gluten free and vegan consumers. Here are some top recommendations:

1. Upton’s Naturals Bacon Seitan

Upton’s seitan bacon is extremely meat-like in texture, appearance, and smoky flavor. It tastes almost uncannily like real bacon. However, it is made from wheat gluten, so it is not gluten free. Upton’s does offer bacon flavored tempeh strips for a gluten free option.

2. Sweet Earth Foods Mindful Bacon

Sweet Earth Foods makes their vegetarian bacon from all non-GMO and vegan ingredients. Their thick cut Mindful Bacon strips and grounds are gluten free and have an impressively smoky, salty flavor. They are made from eggplant, coconut oil, pea protein, and spices.

3. Sophie’s Kitchen Vegan Bacon

Sophie’s Kitchen offers convenient pre-cooked strips and rashers of gluten free and vegan smoked coconut bacon. They have a crispy texture and robust smoky taste. Their ingredients are non-GMO coconut meat, natural hickory smoke flavor, sea salt, maple sugar, and spices.

4. Tofurky Smoky Maple Tempeh Bacon

Tofurky’s thick slices of marinated tempeh bacon are totally gluten free and vegan. They have an authentic smoky maple bacon taste and texture. Their tempeh bacon is flavored with maple syrup, seas salt, natural smoke flavor, and coconut oil.

5. Lightlife Smart Bacon

Lightlife’s Smart Bacon made of soy protein has a lean nutritional profile with half the fat of pork bacon. It is certified gluten free and vegan. With its thin strips and wood smoked flavor, it makes a satisfying bacon for sandwiches, salads, and breakfasts.

How to make your own gluten free vegetarian bacon

For maximum control over ingredients, many people opt to make DIY gluten free vegetarian bacon at home. This allows customizing flavors and textures to suit personal tastes.

There are numerous recipes online using ingredients like mushrooms, tofu, tempeh, eggplant, coconut flakes, nuts, and seasonings. Here is an overview of the basic steps:

  1. Select a main base ingredient such as sliced mushrooms, tofu, coconut flakes, etc.
  2. Toss base in seasoning like smoked paprika, maple syrup, soy sauce, liquid smoke, etc.
  3. Lay seasoned base flat on a baking sheet lined with parchment.
  4. Bake at 400F for 15-30 minutes until browned and crispy.
  5. Cool and roughly chop into bacon bit shapes.
  6. Use as bacon bits on salads, breakfasts, pastas, etc.

Almost any vegetables, nuts, seeds, soy products, or mock meats can be turned into bacon with the right seasonings and preparation. Get creative with ingredients!

Gluten free vegetarian bacon recipe

Here is a sample recipe for easy homemade gluten free coconut bacon:


  • 4 cups raw coconut flakes
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce or coconut aminos
  • 1 tsp liquid smoke
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/4 tsp salt


  1. Preheat oven to 325F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl, combine all ingredients and toss thoroughly to coat.
  3. Spread coconut flakes in a single layer on baking sheet.
  4. Bake for 15 minutes, flip, then bake 10 more minutes until crispy and browned.
  5. Let cool completely before crumbling into bacon bits.
  6. Store in an airtight container for 2-3 weeks.

Follow this basic method substituting ingredients like mushrooms or tempeh to create your own custom gluten free vegetarian bacon!

What can I use gluten free vegetarian bacon for?

Gluten free vegetarian bacon can be used anywhere regular bacon is used to add a smoky, salty, rich flavor. Popular uses include:

  • Breakfast – Bacon, egg & cheese sandwiches or bowls
  • Burgers – Toppings on veggie or meat burgers
  • Salads – Bacon bits on salad greens, potatoes, etc.
  • Pasta – Bacon bits on gluten free pasta or zucchini noodles
  • Soups & Chilis – Mix into bean or vegetable soups
  • Potatoes – Top baked potatoes, home fries, etc.
  • Snacks – Sprinkle on popcorn, nachos, home fries
  • Pizza – Bacon topping on gluten free veggie or meat pizzas
  • Appetizers – Bacon wrapped dates, jalapenos, etc.

Get creative with dishes and let the bacon enhance all kinds of gluten free foods with its magical umami flavor and crunch!

Is vegetarian bacon healthier than real pork bacon?

Vegetarian bacon made from whole foods like mushrooms, tofu, tempeh, and coconut is generally quite healthy. Here is a comparison of the nutritional profiles of vegetarian bacon versus regular pork bacon:

Vegetarian Bacon (per serving) Pork Bacon (per serving)
Calories 50-80 40-75
Total Fat 2-5g 3-5g
Saturated Fat 0-1g 1-2g
Sodium 200-400mg 350-500mg
Carbohydrates 2-5g 0-1g
Protein 5-10g 5-10g

As you can see, vegetarian bacon is comparable or lower in calories, fat, and sodium compared to regular pork bacon. It provides more fiber, carbohydrates, and nutrients from plant-based proteins.

Of course, homemade vegetarian bacon made from whole ingredients is healthier than some store-bought frozen veggie bacons high in sodium, flavorings, and preservatives. But overall, vegetarian bacon is a nutritious plant-based swap.

Benefits of vegetarian bacon

Some benefits of choosing vegetarian bacon include:

  • Lower in saturated fat than pork
  • Higher in fiber
  • Provides plant-based proteins
  • No cholesterol
  • Lower in sodium than many pork bacons
  • Can be made from nutrient-dense ingredients like mushrooms
  • Avoid hormones or antibiotics associated with pork

For those on a gluten free, plant-based, or low sodium diet, high-quality vegetarian bacon is a convenient, healthier substitute for regular bacon.


There are many appetizing options for gluten free vegetarian bacon on the market made from ingredients like mushrooms, tofu, tempeh, nuts, seeds, and coconut. Look for trusted gluten free and vegan brands or make your own DIY bacon substitute at home.

Vegetarian bacon provides a smoky, salty, crispy bacon flavor and texture without the downsides of regular pork bacon. It can be used to add bacon deliciousness in a healthier way to all kinds of dishes from breakfast sandwiches to burgers, salads, pastas, and more.

With more flavorful and convenient vegetarian bacon choices available, it’s easier than ever to enjoy “bacon” on a gluten free, plant-based, or low sodium diet.

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