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baby bella bacon bits

by Jackie Newgent  |  November 19, 2013  |  6 Comments

baby bella bacon bits

Makes 6 servings

In my recent blog post for The Mushroom Channel, I developed a recipe for Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Baby Bella Bacon Bits. Please check it out here. It’ll be a delicious addition to your holiday table. I also wanted to be sure that you had the bacon bits recipe as is, too. So I adopted it as a my newest tasteover. The bacon bits are truly better than bacon as they’re actually crimini mushroom slices, slow-roasted until crisped, and spiced just right. You’ll be able to find many other uses for these tasty tempters, including providing a crunchy topping for salads, creating intrigue in sandwiches, or adding interest on top of other veggie dishes. Or perhaps you’ll just want to munch on them as a crisp vegan snack?

Disclosure note: At the time of this posting, Mushroom Council was one of my clients. All opinions expressed and recipe choices on this blog are my own.

2 teaspoons turbinado (raw) sugar
1/4 teaspoon + 1/8 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon + 1/8 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
8 ounces crimini (baby bella) mushrooms, stems removed*, thinly sliced (1/8-inch thick)
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

  1. Preheat the oven to 275°F. Stir together the sugar, salt, paprika, chili powder, and garlic powder in a small bowl.
  2. Add the mushrooms to a medium bowl, drizzle with the oil, and toss to fully coat. Sprinkle with the seasoning mixture and toss to fully coat. Arrange in a single layer on a large nonstick (PFOA-free) baking sheet.
  3. Roast until reduced in size by about 50 percent and deeply caramelized, about 1 hour 15 minutes. There’s no need to stir or flip over during roasting. Scrape up mushrooms with a spatula to make sure they’re not sticking to the pan; rearrange in a single layer; turn off oven; and return to the warm oven for 45 minutes, to allow to crisp.
  4. Remove from the oven and cool the baby bella bacon bits on the pan on a rack to allow to further crisp, at least 15 minutes, and serve. If desired, prepare and store in the refrigerator overnight; bring to room temperature before serving.

Per serving: 50 calories. 4.5g total fat, 0.5g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 0mg cholesterol, 150mg sodium, 3g total carbohydrate, 0.5 g dietary fiber, 2g sugars, 1g protein

*Save mushroom stems for other cooking purpose.


The “Before” Recipe

“real” bacon bits

Above is a better-for-you, vegetarian version of the “real” bacon bits that you find in a pouch. Comparing similar amounts, my recipe provides the same calories. But there’s definitely a significant difference beyond that. My tasteover truly keeps it real. In Baby Bella Bacon Bits you won’t be getting any sodium phosphates, sodium ascorbate, sodium nitrite, or artificial flavors, which you will find in the store-bought pouch variety. After all, no one’s body needs chemicals like these!

Per serving: 50 calories, 3g total fat, 1g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 10mg cholesterol, 440mg sodium, 0g total carbohydrate, 0g dietary fiber, 0g sugars, 6g protein


Tasteover Tips

  • Mushrooms provide a savory, meaty taste, so consider uses for them in place of some or all of the meat in a recipe to help you happily move towards or keep following a plant-centered eating style
  • Combining spices can help you recreate flavors that you know and love, such as providing the essence of bacon by way of smoked paprika, chili powder, and garlic powder
  • Don’t forget the sugar or salt–even if just a pinch. Sugar can help to balance out rich flavored spices. Salt enhances overall taste … there’s no equivalent substitute for it.


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  1. I have made these twice in the last week. My husband even remarked about how much they taste like bacon. The first batch I used as a salad topping, the second batch I ate straight from the cookie sheet. Luckily I buy mushrooms from Costco, so there will always be plenty to make this with!

    1. I’m thrilled to hear it. And yep, I do also sometimes eat them all straight from the cookie sheet! 🙂 Jackie