Not only is this recipe ideal for vegetarians and vegans who hate 'fake meat' products, but it's seriously so delicious. I could devour an entire plate of these in one sitting, so if you're anything like me, you should probably double the batch. Liquid smoke is key in this recipe. It really gives the eggplant its 'bacon-ness'.
(Makes 6 servings)
2 medium eggplants
1/2 cup light soy sauce (You can find light soy sauce in the Asian section of your local supermarket. This is probably the most common one available in the States. Note: Not your standard sushi soy sauce!)
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/8 teaspoon liquid smoke
1 teaspoon Cajun-style seasoning salt (for an optional extra punch)
1) Remove stem end of eggplant, stand the eggplant on cut end, and slice down in very thin strips about 1/8-inch thick. (A mandolin works great for this.)
2) In a large bowl, whisk together soy sauce, brown sugar, vinegar, oil, pepper, liquid smoke, and seasoning salt.
3) Place the eggplant strips in marinade, making sure that each strip gets coated. Allow to marinate in the refrigerator for 3 - 4 hours, occasionally turning eggplant to be sure all strips are getting evenly marinated.
4) Preheat the oven to 350F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper, lightly greased.
5) Place the eggplant strips on the prepared cooking sheet. Do not overlap, but close together is fine.
6) Bake for about 20 minutes; do not overbake. Eggplant strips will crisp as they cool.
7) Alternatively, these can be made in a food dehydrator on medium heat for 24 hours, or when they reach the desired crispiness.