I Tried Making Bacon Out of Banana Peels — Here's What I Thought

Excuse me, “fake-un.”

There are plenty of meat-substitutes on the internet (need I remind you of carrot hotdogs or barbecued watermelon?), but only a few have been true success stories. When I heard that strips of rubbery, thick, typically inedible banana peels could turn into crispy strips of snacking goodness, I knew I had to give this one a try. Vegans and vegetarians, this one's for you.

Tabitha Brown tried this meat-less banana bacon on her YouTube channel and her final response was… less than enthused. However, I knew there were a few different ways to go about this experiment, so I thought another method might yield better, more bacon-flavored results.

I tried a recipe from Claire Lower at LifeHacker, which was a multi-step process. I used organic bananas with this recipe to make sure the peels weren't coated in pesticides or other synthetic ingredients. After you see all the time, ingredients, and effort involved, you can decide for yourself if this meat-less fix is worth it for you. But once your fake-un is ready, you can crumble it up to serve over soups and salads, slap it on a sandwich, or just dive right in.

Don't get me wrong, the final product, crisped up and coated in a delicious marinade, tasted pretty good. My only issue with the fake-un was its name association with bacon. If you bite into it with crispy, fatty, salty expectations, you will be sorely disappointed time and time again. However, if we just decided to call these things "fried banana strips" (or something more catchy), you'd know exactly what you're in for. Heck, we eat kale chips without a care, but you don't see anybody trying to call them "fake potato chips." It's all about the marketing, people.

How to Make Banana Peel Bacon

To start, preheat your oven to 375 degrees.

Cut both ends of the banana and carefully peel the skins into thick, long strips. Using a spoon, scrape away the white, stringy flesh from the inside of the peel.

Heat ¼ cup of neutrally-flavored oil in a high-sided skillet to 400 degrees. Carefully place each peel into the oil, frying for about 2-3 minutes on each side, or until golden-brown. Be sure to not overcrowd the pan.

While the peels are frying, whisk up a marinade in a large bowl using ¼ cup vegetable oil, 1 tablespoon soy sauce, 1 tablespoon maple syrup, 1 tablespoon brown sugar, ½ teaspoon garlic powder, ¼ teaspoon liquid smoke, ¼ teaspoon paprika, and (optional) 2 pinches of MSG.

Let the fried peels drain on paper towels, then toss in the marinade to coat. Lay the strips on a wire rack placed on top of a baking sheet, then bake for 5 minutes. Brush the remaining marinade on the strips and bake for another 3-5 minutes. Let the strips cool and crisp up for 5 minutes before eating.

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