A little while back, the fine people at Louisville Vegan Jerky Company sent our studio a few sample bags of their new, non-jerky product, their Unreal Vegan Bacon Bits.
We’ve long been fans of their namesake product, which we first wrote up last year—it’s a softer, drier vegan jerky that (most importantly) is leans on short lists of simple, recognizable ingredients for their flavor-packed taste profile.
As it happens, the company’s jerky originated as a happy accident, as founder Stanley Chase explains:
“Louisville Vegan Jerky Company was started in my home kitchen back in 2012. Having spent some time in Oahu as a child, I was craving manapua one night and decided I would try to create a vegetarian version. Typically manapua is made by stuffing char sui (bbq pork) into a sweet dough and steaming it. I got an old recipe for the char sui from my mother and decided to bake the soy protein I was using instead of sauteing it. I was busy trying to get the dough ready and chatting with roommates when the smell of bbq hit my nose. I realized I didn’t set a timer. I ran into the kitchen grabbing the baking sheet out as quick as I could only to find overdone faux char sui. I was going to make another attempt from scratch when I decided I’d try the burnt char sui anyways. I couldn’t believe it, it was the worst char sui I’d ever had, but the best vegan jerky in the world! I scooped up what was on the tray, put the new jerky creation into ziplock bags and went to my favorite local bar that always has a full patio of people. I started passing the bags around the picnic tables, within 20 minutes everyone was talking about the jerky asking where they could buy it. Most of the people eating it weren’t even aware it was vegan! A couple of weeks later I had the first round of bags selling inside a couple of Heine Brothers Coffee shops and Rainbow Blossom grocery stores around Louisville.”
Louisville Vegan Jerky Company’s new faux bacon bits follow the same formula as their jerky, diverging from path of the crunchy, brittle soy bits (yes, Bac-Os are indeed vegan, as Farm Sanctuary founder Gene Baur recently informed Daily Show host Jon Stewart). The Unreal Vegan Bacon Bits instead focusing on flavorful, smokey, soft chunks of soy that make use of tamari, maple syrup, natural smoke flavor, and beet juice for their crave-worthy taste and pleasing color.
We’d highly recommend giving these a try the next time you’re looking to dress up a meal—Los Angeles, you can pick up LVJC’s products at Organix + nearby Follow Your Heart Market; the company’s store locator shows other physical locations along with online purveyors that carry both their jerky and vegan bacon bits.
Below, some culinary experiments we conducted with the vegan bacon bits, all wildly successful: spinach salad with homemade vegan ranch; loaded baked potato with melted Chao; Beyond Meat’s Beast Burger with Follow Your Heart slices; and pile of the delectable bits about to be eaten total on their own, which, I warn you, is a strong temptation to overcome when these things are just hanging around your house.