Christmas isn’t exactly an easy time for vegan folk. You’re surrounded by turkey, chicken, pigs in blankets – even the gravy is full of meaty stock. Luckily, the meat substitute market is booming, with plant-based alternatives cropping up left, right and centre and even vegan eggs breaking the internet.
Enter coconut bacon, essentially flakes of coconut, cooked in a way that makes them uncannily bacon-like. Unconvinced? Instagram chef Rachel Ama has come up with a delicious recipe that may make you a coconut bacon convert for life.
It’s a vegan Christmas miracle
If the mere mention of coconut makes you think of a tropical twist on bacon, rest assured, Rachel Ama’s bacon flakes are quite the opposite. The paprika and soy sauce give it that smoky kick you expect from the real thing and the final product is the perfect combo of crunchy, salty and satisfying.
Once out of the oven, Rachel’s top tip is, “leave them to set and cool, and they’ll get crispier and crispier.”
Not sure how to go about making it? Rachel Ama takes you through step by step with her new video on all the best vegan Christmas sides. Alongside coconut bacon flakes, learn how to make vegan cauliflower and broccoli ‘cheese’, and sautéed green beans with crispy thyme.
Rachel Ama grew up in North London but tells us its her mixed heritage that forms inspiration for her cooking.
"I’ve grown up in London and have Caribbean, African and Welsh roots. I’ve always been surrounded by different cultures and incredible food from around the world and that inspires my cooking."
She decided to go vegan four years ago and maintains, "I wanted to enjoy all the incredible food I'd been eating but without meat, fish and dairy, and from there I just kept experimenting and my love of food grew and grew."
GARLIC GREEN BEANS
1 tbsp olive oil
1 red onion, finely sliced
4 cloves of garlic, finely sliced
Salt and black pepper
500g green beans, trimmed
1-2 tablespoons vegan butter (OPTIONAL)
3 tbsp nutritional yeast
1 large bunch of spring greens or kale or Swiss chard
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice or 1 tbsp cider vinegar/balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp soy sauce
2 cups of coconut flakes
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp soy sauce/tamari/coconut aminos
1 tsp smoked paprika
1-2 tbsp maple syrup
1 tsp liquid smoke
1 pinch sea salt
Heat oil in a pan on medium heat, add sliced red onions, reason with salt and black pepper and cook for 5-10 minutes until onions brown and soften. The goal is for them to start to caramelise before adding in the rest of the ingredients.
Add garlic and cook for a minute until they soften then add in green beans. Mix to combine with onions and garlic. Place a lid on the pan and allow the green beans to cook for around 5 minutes. Remove lid and mix, season with vegan butter(optional) salt and black pepper and cook for another few minutes. Don’t over cook the greens! You want them still vibrant in colour with a very slight bite to them.
When there is just a few minutes of cooking time left, add spring greens, nutritional yeast and lemon/vinegar and mix. Taste to adjust seasoning. Once greens have wilted remove from heat and serve with smokey coconut flakes.