We are midway through our month of low-so sausage and low-so bacon, and it’s time to shift our focus from the big bites to the itty bits.
I’m talking bacon bits. That crunchy topping that gets sprinkled on top of iceberg lettuce salads, crumbled on top of pastas or deviled eggs, and baked right into the crispy crust of a casserole.
Even though they are teeny teeny tiny, these little bits can sure add a lot of sodium to a simple, healthy meal. Like over 200mg per 7g serving (or a few teaspoons). And that’s because bacon bits are (surprise!) mostly made from cured, salted bacon.
But you know what else bacon bits are made of? Sugar and spice and everything nice — or more specifically, hickory smoke and maple flavors. All tastes that you can easily recreate without the salt or the bacon. And then add to your favorite dishes or crunchy ingredients to get that bacon kick without the sodium.
This is where our friend, coconut flake, comes in.
As I mentioned earlier this month, the genius behind the Cookie + Kate blog already discovered the solution to unprocessed bacon bits — coconut flakes. Her version uses a mixture of soy, maple syrup, and liquid smoke to provide the familiar bacon flavor, and toasted flakes to provide the crunch. It’s a super convincing combo.
So, to continue her good work and make it truly low-so, I’ve nixed the soy and swapped in my own Salt-Free Bacon Spice Marinade — a combination of smoked paprika, salt-free garlic powder, ground cumin, brown sugar, liquid smoke, and a splash of molasses (to replace the fermented taste of the soy).
The result? Unbelievably good and a worthy sub for bacon bits. If not a full-time replacement.
It’s sweet, savory, crunchy, and smoky. Everything you want when it comes to a bacon bit crumble. And best of all, because of the coconut base, you can use it on everything from a kale salad to scrambled eggs to vanilla ice cream to popcorn.
And while these Coconut Bacon Bits will change your life and your future dinner parties (hello, Oscars!), don’t forget about the Salt-Free Bacon Spice Marinade, which you can also add to anything. From your morning avocado toast to toasted pumpkin seeds. Which you can then mix with a little butter and rub all over an ear of corn. If you want to get fancy.
So remember, you can enjoy the flavor of bacon without the bacon. Then, add it to everything else you love. Just use the recipes below to get started and remember to tag your own Salt-Free Bacon Spice Marinade creations with the hashtage #lowsogood.
SALT-FREE BACON SPICE MARINADE
- 2 teaspoons molasses
- 1 teaspoon liquid smoke
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt-free garlic powder
Mix. Then add to coconut flakes, toasted pumpkin seeds, or even use as a rub for meats or oven-roasted cauliflower. Just remember to have fun!
SALT-FREE COCONUT BACON BITS
adapted from the Cookie + Kate blog’s Coconut Bacon Recipe
- 2 cups un-sweetened coconut flakes
- Salt-Free Bacon Spice Marinade
In a large pan, working in batches, toast the coconut flakes until they turn golden brown, about 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer the toasted coconut flakes to a medium mixing bowl and then add in the Salt-Free Bacon Spice Marinade. Use a spatula to mix until well combined. Then use immediately (yum, salad!) or keep in an air-tight container for up to a week. Use a hot pan (for 3 minutes or so) or a 350dg F oven (for 6 to 8 minutes) to re-toast and re-crisp as desired.