One of the things I would find near impossible to give up, if ever I was to consider being veggie would be bacon. Its salty tang, freshly fried, crisp fat and delicious smell is enough to make me salivate at the mere thought of it.
I often crave it’s smokey taste and snappable crunch. However it is something I have infrequently, because the good stuff it is expensive. So had an experiment last week and came up with a rather pleasing, healthy alternative. Spiced coconut flakes glazed in a little maple syrup, liquid smoke and dusted with smoked paprika. Hooooochie mama is it good. Its smokey, sweet and undeniably moorish. Oh and high fives all round because it is packed full of good fats and totally vegan too.
Instead of simply baking the sweet potato here, I have opted to slice and roast it in spices for extra texture and taste. If you prefer you can swap the sweet potato for regular potato wedges, or even oven roast beetroot.
Sweet Potato Wedges
Roasting the sweet potatoes hot and fast in the oven is the best way to get a nice golden crust and keep the inside of the flesh soft. Giving them space on the baking tray and not overcrowding is key
- 2 large sweet potatoes
- 2 sprigs rosemary, or thyme
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1 red pepper
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more to serve
- 2 teaspoons smoked paprika, plus extra to serve
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup greek yoghurt, or coconut yoghurt
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon honey
Coconut Bacon Recipe
Once completely cooled you can store leftovers in an air tight container and keep the coconut bacon in the pantry for up to a week or two. I use coconut aminos in place of soy, but you can use tamari or regular soy sauce, if you prefer.
Makes 1 jar full
- 2 tablespoons tamari, or coconut aminos (the soy free alternative to tamari)
- 1 tablespoon liquid smoke
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 200g large flaked coconut
- 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
- coconut oil, for greasing
Preheat the oven to 160 degrees C/ 325 degrees F.
Mix the first four ingredients of the coconut bacon in a small bowl making sure to break up any clumps of paprika. In a large bowl add coconut flakes, drizzle the wet mixture over top and gently toss making sure to coat each flake well.
Using a slotted spoon, scoop seasoned coconut flakes and place onto two lightly greased, or parchment paper lined baking tray. Spread them out as much as possible, then sprinkle coconut flakes lightly with the salt
Place in oven and bake for 20-25 minutes. Toss at 7 minute intervals for even cooking. Keep watch as the coconut bacon can burn very quickly at this point. Remove when coconut has a nice caramel colour, then leave it to cool and crisp up.
For the sweet potatoes, increase the heat oven to 200C/180C fan/gas mark 6. Toss the sweet potato in a large bowl with the olive oil, salt and spices. Arrange, skin-side down, on a large baking tray, adding the whole, unpeeled garlic cloves and the rosemary/thyme and the whole red pepper and bake for 30–40 mins until soft inside and crisp on the outside.
Halfway through cooking, take the tray of sweet potato from the oven and remove the garlic cloves and the roasted pepper. Return the sweet potato back to the oven to continue cooking. Place the cooked garlic cloves in a blender with the yoghurt, lemon, dijon, honey and a generous pinch of sea salt. Whizz to combine, then place in the fridge to thicken. Half and remove the seeds from the pepper and slice into rough 2-inch sized pieces.
Once the sweet potato is cooked, remove from the oven and divide the wedges and the roasted pepper between two plates. Top with the garlic yoghurt and finally a generous handful of the coconut bacon and a pinch of smoked paprika. Enjoy hot.