*In all of our reviews, we include an affiliate link from which we receive a commission should you decide to purchase. That being said, our reviews are our own and we tell it like it is.
I’m frequently in awe of the creative means and ingredients food producers will use to imitate meat. It’s a wide, varied and weird world: there’s soy-based anything, wheat gluten, fungus. And now we have coconut. Well hats off to Phoney Baloney’s™ because, for what it’s worth, this wacky ingredient does a pretty stand-up job of subbing in for bacon.
The story behind Phoney Baloney’s™ is an interesting one. It would seem that a couple who owned a vegetarian sandwich shop actually invented the bacon to star in their version of a BLT. When customers began asking where they could buy this vegan bacon, the business was born.
I was eager to try this vegetarian bacon because it seemed like a good idea. Coconut meat is a pretty ingenious as a replacement for bacon because unlike soy or wheat gluten, which are low in fat and fibery, coconut has a nutritional and chemical profile that’s much closer to actual bacon. There’s a touch of saturated fat, a melty mouth feel, and when toasted a nice crunch that doesn’t require excessive chewing to get through. In essence, an interesting stand-in for high-fat bacon.
Phoney Baloney’s™ comes in a bag and instead of strip form, the coconut “bacon bits” are bite sized (kind of like over-grown Bacos™). On close inspection the bacon bits are slightly greasy, which we fancied a good thing, with decent crunch and tenderness. For the bacon flavor? Meh. Ok seeing as it’s coconut, the guys at Phoney Baloney’s™ did about a good a job as anyone could in turning essentially a tropical nut into a smoky, savory bacon-y experience. The bites are indeed smokey with nice spice. But to quote Arrested Development™, there’s a smack of coconut to them. Indeed anyone eating these bacony bits would be able to detect the tropical undertones.
Long story short, do we care? Yeah, not so much. Even when writing the review for these delicious little bacon bites, I found myself returning to the bag for seconds. They’re flavorful, crispy, and have just enough bacony flavor to make a stand-up vegetarian BLT. All in all, we give them a thumbs up!
What are they? Toasted seasoned coconut meat flavored with liquid smoke and spices. We bought a bag of 3.5 oz for just over $4
Pros: Great crispy texture, satisfying fattiness and salty decliciousness. Nice smokiness too.
Cons: Bah! They still taste like coconut. The flavors a wee bit unusual but after a few bites, nobody seems to care. They can get soggy in salads pretty quickly and the bits are small so they can’t be eaten like traditional bacon strips.
What can they be used for? Subbing in for bacon in sandwiches, salads, you name it. They’re even great right out of the bag. The only place they probably won’t work well are on their lonesome at breakfast. Otherwise, they’re pretty versatile. We recommend using these bacony bits to recreate the company’s original BLT with avocado and Veganaise™!
TL;DR: A unique and tropical take on phony bacon, Phoney Baloney’s™ offers a tasty option to vegetarians craving bacon. Salty, yummy, and versatile too, this bacon will up your veggie BLT game in no time. But for any coconut haters out there, you can go bacon hunting elsewhere.
We found Phoney Baloney™ at Whole Foods but you can also get it online!