Vegetarian Bacon Mayonnaise (No Bacon!)

October  4, 2022
5 Ratings
Photo by Bobbi Lin
  • Prep time 1 hour 5 minutes
  • Cook time 10 minutes
  • Makes 1 1/2 cups
Author Notes

From Tyler Kord's cookbook, A Super Upsetting Cookbook About Sandwiches.

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.

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?), but he writes, "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!" —Sarah Jampel

What You'll Need
  • 2 teaspoons Lapsang Souchong tea leaves
  • 1 1/2 cups mayonnaise
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 garlic clove, finely minced
  • 1 teaspoon grape jelly
  • 2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
  1. Heat an oven to 250° F. Toast the leaves on a parchment-lined baking sheet for 10 minutes, or until completely dry and crumbly. Crush to a powder in a mortar and pestle or spice grinder.
  2. In a medium mixing bowl, combine the tea leaves with the remaining ingredients. Whisk until thoroughly combined. Taste. "It totally does not taste like bacon," at this stage explains Kord.
  3. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour (and up to 4 days). Now give it another taste: "Bacon!" Kord writes. "Kind of! But definitely delicious."

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • rudder
  • Nance
  • Sarah Jampel
    Sarah Jampel
  • Jillian

11 Reviews

Jillian January 25, 2024
I love this recipe and have used it for years. The only thing is that I leave out the allspice because I think it makes it taste less like bacon and more like hot dogs. It’s fabulous either way!
Jillian August 6, 2019
We love this recipe! It tastes more like bacon without the allspice, which I think, makes it taste more like hot dogs.
Dldgraff September 9, 2019
Thank you for sharing this with me! I loved it just as you made it! I’d like to repay it and wondered if you had a preferred brand of tea
Lk G. May 26, 2018
SassyinClifton, or others, wondering which soy sauce brand did you use, and do you think it would matter?
rudder June 27, 2017
This recipe is fantastic! Made it for BLTs without the bacon =)
SassyinClifton June 27, 2017
Checking back in regarding "Bacon Mayo": it's a slam dunk for both the pescatarian (that's me) and the carnivore (my husband). Hubby is amazed at how much it tastes like bacon. I haven't had bacon in eons, and I love it's complex taste. I think the tea really brings a complexity that I'm not sure liquid smoke can replicate. I also have liquid smoke and use frequently in recipes that call for bacon. That's not to say you couldn't sub the tea for it, but the final product will be different.
SassyinClifton June 22, 2017
Today I bought the Lapsang Souchong tea (Twining tea bags; 1 tea bag= apprx. 1 teaspoon tea) and grape jelly from the grocery store. Our preferred store- bought mayonnaise is Hampton Creek Just Mayo which we love and it also happens to be vegan. I mixed up a batch of the vegetarian "bacon" mayonnaise, and it's in the fridge curing. I'll give it a taste in the next few days and report back....
Sarah J. June 27, 2017
What'd you think?!
Jillian August 6, 2019
We use Just Mayo exclusively, as well. The recipe is great!
Nance June 11, 2017
Assuming the toasted tea is for the smoky aroma, why couldn't you just use a little bit of liquid smoke instead?
Sarah J. June 27, 2017
I think that might make a good substitution!