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Don't knock it until you've tried it.

By Betty Gold
March 22, 2021
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Just when you thought TikTok had sufficiently expanded your appetite for (and acceptance of) weird food hacks you never knew you needed, our curiosity has officially arrived at the apex of piqued thanks to Charles Hunter III, a personal chef, recipe developer, and food blogger behind The Salted Table.

How so, you ask? By serving us breakfast with a side of—wait for it—banana peel bacon. This recipe is exactly what it sounds (and looks) like: Raw banana peels that have been marinated in a mixture of vegan Worcestershire sauce, liquid smoke, garlic, and onion powder, and other common barbecue-adjacent seasonings, and then seared in a hot pan until crisp, dark, and (his words, not mine) "pruny."

banana-peel-bacon
Credit: Charles Hunter III

He credits Tabitha Brown, the extraordinary vegan TikTok host with a cult following, for giving him the idea to develop his waste-free recipe. After making a similar dish for herself, she was less-than-impressed, so Hunter set out to make a better version of banana peel bacon.

"I was inspired to make this after I saw Tabitha Brown try it in one of her cooking videos," Hunter says. "But after Tabitha made the faux bacon, she expressed that she was not a fan, and I saw that as a challenge to make a version that was tasty. I watched several videos, and read a few recipes before attempting it; because typically after some research—you gather enough information to figure out where some people went wrong, and where there's room for improvement. But that's all subjective, just because I think my version is good, doesn't mean you will, and I'm OK with that."

Clearly, Hunter acknowledges that banana peel bacon is controversial at best, and includes a number of friendly disclaimers in his post ahead of the recipe itself. "First things first, I don't really care about any negative opinions you may have about this recipe," he starts out by saying. "It is not for everyone and I'm fully aware of that. But if by chance you live a no waste lifestyle, or you are a vegan, or vegetarian who misses the crunchy smoky goodness of a once known porky strip. This recipe is for you! This recipe caused a raucous on Twitter, and people are very opinionated about vegan food; to the point of making you a little uncomfortable. Don't be one of those people please."

With words like that, how can you not respect his creativity (and commitment to reducing food waste and meat consumption)? In my mind, any effort made to replace a beef product with a plant-based version is moving the needle—both for the health of our bodies and for reducing climate change caused by greenhouse gas emissions.

banana-peel-bacon
Credit: Charles Hunter III

Hunter also notes that you can try this recipe with carrots and eggplant—we're also big fans of mushroom "bacon"—and that you're free to play with the spice blend to suit your palate. "Feel free to add a couple of dashes of cayenne, some crushed red pepper flakes, or some chili paste in the marinade," he says. After you allow the spice blend's flavors to seep into the banana peels in the fridge for a couple of hours, start cooking them into a cold pan to prevent the marinade from burning. Flip them often to control the caramelization, and serve immediately after they've cooled.  

For the full recipe, head over to The Salted Table.