Are you a sucker for salty, crunchy, addictive chips? (And really, who isn’t?) Wellness chef Charles Chen has the perfect, all-natural swap: coconut “bacon” bites. The special seasoning makes coconut chips taste remarkably similar to bacon, but without all the saturated fat, cholesterol, and sodium.
Chen is a chef, entrepreneur, and vivacious host of the online cooking show Kitchen Hustle, where “hustlers learn how to fuel their passions.” Throughout his childhood, Chen struggled with his health. As a teenager, he was prediabetic and a self-proclaimed couch potato who had no energy or motivation to make healthier choices. After hitting what he calls his “rock bottom moment,” he reclaimed his health, lost more than 100 pounds, and now helps others fuel their “bodies, mind, and spirit starting in the kitchen.”
The flavor of bacon is easier to replicate than you may think. That’s because bacon itself is heavily seasoned and cured (nope, it doesn’t just naturally taste that way), so you can mimic that process to create bacon-like treats with a variety of non-pork foods. (Exhibit A: Here’s our low-cal recipe for “bacon” bits made from shiitake mushrooms.)
This recipe uses a few special ingredients to provide the bacon-like flavor. Liquid aminos is essentially soy sauce, but it has less sodium and is gluten-free. The potent liquid aminos gives the coconut some savory umami flavor, so it tastes meatier. The other secret ingredient? Liquid smoke. That’ll make the coconut bacon bites taste like they’ve been smoked over wood chips.
You could eat these by the handful (watch your portion size, of course), or you could throw them into salads or atop some creamy avocado toast.