A Meatless Bacon Mayo with an Ingredient List You Won't Believe

June  8, 2017

It would not be unreasonable to balk at the official the name of this recipe—"Bacon Mayo (for Vegetarians and Meat Eaters)"—and its motley crew of disparate ingredients: toasted Lapsang souchong tea leaves, soy sauce, allspice, mayonnaise, and... drumroll please... grape jelly.

What mad scientist came up with this concoction, which sounds, with all due respect, like one of the mystery sloshes I'd mix together during our sixth grade lunch break and dare a classmate to try?

It's none other than Tyler Kord, chef at No. 7 Sub, author of A Super Upsetting Cookbook About Sandwiches, and scrambled egg whisperer.

Sometimes you want to put bacon on a sandwich, but then you realize that you are a vegetarian.
Tyler Kord, Chef at No. 7 Sub

Kord offers no explanation for how he discovered that this combination of ingredients, when allowed to steep and, yes, marry, would be reminiscent of smoky bacon. Was it an act of desperation or of genius? Is there a difference? Kord does say this:

Sometimes you want to put bacon on a sandwich, but then you realize that you are a vegetarian. This is not quite like putting bacon on a sandwich, because it won't have the texture of bacon. But it will taste like bacon. And if you make it with Vegenaise, then you have vegan Bacon Mayo!

There she is, in all her glory! Photo by Bobbi Lin

I have never tasted bacon. I have never had a BLT. But I know how bacon smells. (Because, yes, sometime I smell it in my dreams.) And I can tell you, this mayonnaise smelled like bacon—and it tasted good, too: smoky, salty, sweet.

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I'm not the only one who thought so, either. Our test kitchen chef Josh Cohen vouched for me: Slather the mayonnaise on bread, slap it with a tomat-ah slice, and close your eyes. You just might be worried you've accidentally hit on pork.

So maybe you're a vegetarian who misses bacon, or a vegetarian who's interested in what bacon tastes like, or a badge-wearing bacon braggart who's found himself or herself bacon-bare, but with grape jelly, soy sauce, and Lapsang souchang to spare. Either way, you'll want to taste this to believe it. And don't be discouraged if it's not bacon-y after the initial mix. Try back in an hour, then tell us what you think.

Join The Conversation

Top Comment:
“All that crunch and chew in the bread really made up for the lack of "bacon texture". Thanks for the great recipe!”
— April R.

And hey, Chef Kord: Can we get a vegetarian lox cream cheese next? Asking for myself.

Still feeling happy? More super upsetting stuff from the Super Upsetting Cookbook:

Are vegetarians seriously missing out on bacon? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

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See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • April Robinson
    April Robinson
  • Paula
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  • Yvonne
  • FoodFreak
I used to work at Food52. I'm probably the person who picked all of the cookie dough out of the cookie dough ice cream.


April R. June 20, 2017
I made this last night for dinner and had it again for lunch today. Better the second day as far as flavors melding (I couldn't wait more than 1 hour!). It's pretty dang yummy but I think next time I'll reduce the soy sauce to 1 T and add some smoked paprika to give it a little more smoke and less salt. Tip: I used really cold lettuce, a thick slab of beef steak tomato (with pepper) and Dave's Famous Bread. All that crunch and chew in the bread really made up for the lack of "bacon texture". Thanks for the great recipe!
Paula June 20, 2017
What do we do with the rest of the jar of grape jelly???
Sarah J. June 20, 2017
Yvonne June 23, 2017
How about melting it over a grape tart?
Paula June 24, 2017
We could do like a Blue Apron thing: one person buy the jar and then mail out teaspoon baggies of it to the rest of us, say $1/bag.
Alanabee June 27, 2017
I picked up a grape jelly from the little jelly basket when you go out to breakfast!
Paula June 29, 2017
Excellent idea!
maryaskew June 18, 2017
Cheer up, vegetarians : bacon doesn't taste nearly as good as it smells cooking.
Paula June 20, 2017
Oh yes... yes, it does.
Yvonne June 20, 2017
I really does. You need better bacon.
Sarah J. June 20, 2017
This thread is hilarious.
Yvonne June 15, 2017
I gotta ask...why Grape Jelly? Why not Maple Syrup? Isn't that more baconey than Grape Jelly? Just wondering...
FoodFreak June 11, 2017
Yes, I miss bacon. It may be the only thing I miss. When I feel ambitious I make the mushroom bacon from Serious Eats.
Olive E. June 8, 2017
Is the recipe missing the soy sauce?

Creative recipe concept!
BakerRB June 8, 2017
If you click the "recipe with a little arrow" button near the top of the recipe it'll take you to the full recipe, which includes soy sauce in the ingredients list.

Food52 folks, please rethink the method of including partial recipes in a box that appears self contained. This confusion occurs in almost every article/recipe combo. Either embed the entire recipe or just use a big, obvious "click here". Please. Nice article though, and interesting recipe; no complaints there.
Lynne W. June 8, 2017
Does the book have many vegetarian recipes? I tried to peek on Amazon but it showed only a few roast beef pages.
Sarah J. June 12, 2017
The book has enough to keep my vegetarian self very interested and intrigued! The writing is also hilarious and fascinating.
Caitlin G. June 8, 2017
i love love love this cookbook. chef tyler is hilarious. everyone needs to read, even if you never make a single sandwich from it.
Ali S. June 8, 2017