Vegan Banana Peel Bacon
by Meghan Rodgers
February 24, 2021
Eating banana peels? Yuck!
Well, actually, yum!
This banana peel bacon has such a satisfying snap and is actually so reminiscent of real bacon, it’s kind of crazy.
But don’t just eat it for the fun, delicious flavor. Eat it for the Earth.
If you’re looking for an easy but impactful way to help out the planet, cutting back on food waste is a great place to start. Of course that means buying just what you need and then eating everything you buy before it expires and needs to be thrown out. But it also means looking for new and creative ways to use the less desirable parts of foods — and that’s particularly easy task when it comes to some fresh produce.
Most of us are just fine eating the skin on an apple, but we tend to toss others we deem unappetizing or too tough — like banana peels. Of course, composting is an option, but let’s face it, not everyone practices composting, and still yet, composting edible items means you could be missing out on some great nutrients.
In the United States, we eat on average 27 pounds of bananas per person each year, and more than 100 billion bananas are eaten every year worldwide. Around 96% of American households buy bananas at least once a month.
Imagine if we could keep all of those peels from taking up space and rotting in landfills and releasing harmful greenhouse gases.
Now, further imagine you can do that in a way that in a delicious, healthy way you actually look forward to!
Bananas alone deliver around 422 milligrams of potassium. Eating the peel will give you an additional 78 milligrams, plus plenty of fiber to keep you feeling full. Fresh banana peels are tough and slightly bitter, but you blend them right into a smoothie.
Or, if you have a little bit of time — just 10 minutes — you can try this delicious, show-stopping Banana Peel Bacon. You’ll have to do a double-take because the strips look just like banana peels — but they also look just like bacon!
Flavorwise, this recipe is pretty spot on. The smoked paprika marinade gives the peels a smokey flavor on par with pork bacon. The syrup gives and soy sauce combine make a sweet-yet-salty marinade. It also has a subtle hint of banana, which actually works quite well, especially for breakfast. The strips are a bit chewy, mostly crunchy, and slightly greasy — just like regular bacon.
You can crumble or chop Banana Peel Bacon and use it in scrambles, salads, on top of pasta and just about anywhere you’d use regular bacon.
Tips To Make Banana Peel Bacon
Make sure the bananas you choose are very ripe with lots of brown spots. Green bananas just won’t work and will actually taste pretty terrible.
To make crispy Banana Peel Bacon, use a spoon to gently scrape off the inside white part of the peel.
Make a Marinade
This marinade will wow you for it’s authentic bacon-y taste exactly as-is. However, if you have Liquid Smoke on hand, feel free to add a tsp. I kept the ingredients list short to include just items you likely already have in your pantry, but if you already have Liquid Smoke, go for it.
Once the banana peels are prepared, use the tip of a sharp knife and cut larger sections of peel into manageable strips of 3/4-inch to 1-inch. Mix up your marinade and let strips rest for at least 10 minutes.
Vegan Banana Peel Bacon
4 tbsp soy sauce (not low sodium)
2 tbsp maple syrup
2 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp black pepper
4-5 ripe banana peels (with white interior scraped out — See Tips Above)
1 tbsp olive oil
Add soy sauce, paprika, garlic powder, and pepper to a small bowl and stir until combined. Add prepared banana peels and toss to coat. Let marinade for 10-20 minutes.
In a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat. When hot, add banana peels and fry for a few minutes on each side, or until they are crispy and begin to bubble up.
Once crispy, remove from skillet and place on a dry paper towel to soak up extra oil and cool. Banana Peel Bacon will get even crispier as it cools.
Note: This process makes a bit of smoke, so be sure to work in a well-ventilated area.