Vegan BLT salad with crispy coconut "bacon," tangy lemon pepper dressing, grilled peaches, and avocado - The First Messpin it!

This post is sponsored by Mountain Rose Herbs.

The crispiest vegan coconut "bacon" ever - The First Messpin it!Spices etc. - The First Messpin it!Salad ingredients & tangy lemon pepper dressing - The First Messpin it!
I ate a salad similar to this last time we were in LA. It was covered in coconut “bacon” bits, had little dollops of a nut-based soft cheese, a killer dressing, grilled peaches, and a few other grilled vegetables. It was the first thing that I ate after we landed and I don’t know if it was the travel day hunger kicking in, but I inhaled that thing. I could have easily enjoyed 3 full servings, no joke. My man was eating this gorgeous, fully loaded veggie burger with sweet potato fries right across from me and I was just ALL IN on this salad.

And this was funny to me because I’ve never been too wild about coconut bacon. I had ate it in sandwiches and straight out of a bag one time, and mostly thought “meh..!” I don’t even know what drew me to order this salad to be honest. Café Gratitude’s coconut bacon was shatteringly crisp (no weirdly meaty middles) and not overly smoky. It had a bunch of other things going on flavor-wise that I appreciated. Most coconut bacon recipes have liquid smoke, which I find to be dominant and quite bitter, even in tiny amounts. This one was balanced and I almost asked for a bonus scoop of it.

If you’ve seen my kitchen, you know that I’m a bit of a spice/spice blend/fancy salt/oils etc. person. I’m grateful to be in a position where I can try a bunch of these things because I find that they really do add a lot to our meals when I’m short on time and still not even sure what we’re going to actually be eating for dinner. Also spice blends are amazing during grilling season. Sprinkle, toss, toss, fire, eat, yessssss.

I got to try a bunch of products from Mountain Rose Herbs recently and when I was going through their site making my selections, their smoked paprika, lemon pepper, and smoked Kiawe salt went straight to the top of my list (along with curry leaves, smoked peppercorns, some mesquite powder, olive oil, loose leaf tea, and a bunch of other goodies). Lemon pepper is one of those flavors from the 90’s that I never get tired of (no shame), and if you’ve been reading this site for a while, you know my love for smoked paprika. The Kiawe salt is so smoky in such a pure and pleasant way. Like a slightly cleaner campfire vibe. I knew it would be a perfect replacement for liquid smoke in this recipe.

This version of alt-bacon is so good. I ate a third of it right off the tray once it cooled. And it plays so well in a salad with juicy summer tomatoes, lightly charred peaches and a very buttermilk-esque lemon pepper dressing. This salad would be perfect for a plant-heavy barbecue. Anyway, hope you try this recipe out and that you give my pals at Mountain Rose Herbs a browse. They are uncompromising in their standards for premium quality organics and environmental stewardship. Deep respect!

Making coconut "bacon" - The First Messpin it!Grilled peaches - The First Messpin it!Vegan BLT salad with crispy coconut "bacon," tangy lemon pepper dressing, grilled peaches, and avocado - The First Messpin it!Vegan BLT salad with crispy coconut "bacon," tangy lemon pepper dressing, grilled peaches, and avocado - The First Messpin it!
Print the recipe here!
NOTES: You’ll need the large flake coconut for the bacon here; rather than the fine shreds. It gets super crisp, almost like a chip and it tends to look more bacon-like. For leftover coconut bacon, cool it completely and store in a sealed jar/reusable container at room temperature. It should keep crisp for about a week. The tangy lemon pepper dressing is also excellent simply drizzled over sliced summer tomatoes with some chopped herbs and extra black pepper.

4 cups large flake coconut
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons pure maple syrup
1 tablespoon gluten-free tamari OR coconut aminos
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
2 teaspoons smoked salt
ground black pepper, to taste

1/3 cup raw cashews, soaked for at least 4 hours and drained
2/3 cup filtered water
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon pure maple syrup
1 teaspoon lemon pepper seasoning
sea salt, to taste

2 just-ripe peaches, halved
olive oil, for grilling
4 servings of chopped greens (I used arugula and red leaf lettuce)
sliced tomatoes
1 ripe avocado, peeled, pitted & sliced

Make the coconut bacon: preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.

Measure the coconut flakes out onto the parchment-lined baking sheet. In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, maple syrup, tamari, smoked paprika, smoked salt, and pepper. Pour the mixture over the coconut on the baking sheet. Massage the oil and spice mixture into the coconut, trying to coat every piece as evenly as possible. Spread the coconut out into a single layer.

Slide the baking sheet into the oven. Bake for 25 minutes, lightly stirring the coconut up at the halfway point. The coconut bacon should be deep brown and lightly crisp on the edges. It will crisp completely as it cools.

Make the dressing: in an upright blender, combine the cashews, water, lemon juice, maple syrup, lemon pepper seasoning, and salt. Blend on high until completely smooth. It should be the consistency of half & half cream. Transfer dressing t a sealable jar and store in the refrigerator until ready to use.

Set a grill or grill pan to high heat. Lightly brush the peach halves with olive oil and set them, face down, on the grill. Once char marks appear and the skin is peeling away from the peach, remove from the grill.

Portion greens into 4 serving bowls. Arrange tomatoes, avocado, and grilled peaches over the greens. Drizzle the salads with the tangy lemon pepper dressing and top with plenty of coconut bacon and freshly ground black pepper. Serve immediately.

**This post was created in partnership with Mountain Rose Herbs. All opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting brands that support this site.

  • Erin at Pure Feast16/08/2017 - 9:38 am

    This coconut bacon sounds delish, I’d probably end up eating them on their own as a snack more often than not. I might try making them in my dehydrator rather than the oven and see how they turn out!ReplyCancel

  • Valentina | The Blue Bride16/08/2017 - 11:34 am

    This salad looks gorgeous! I think that after years of pinning “coconut/shiitake/tempeh bacon”, the time to make it has finally come :DReplyCancel

  • JoBay16/08/2017 - 5:52 pm

    Nice. But “could have eaten” not “could have ate.”ReplyCancel

  • Cassie Autumn Tran16/08/2017 - 9:21 pm

    The coconut bacon looks wonderful! I’ve had vegan BLT salads before, but nothing like this! I don’t blame you for eating a third of the coconut bacon tray! I would definitely do the same!ReplyCancel

  • Luna18/08/2017 - 5:15 am

    I can eat this 7 days a week – coconut and avocado are my favorites evaaahhh!!!ReplyCancel

  • Sarah | Well and Full22/08/2017 - 6:37 pm

    Girl, you know I’m on the coconut bacon train. I love the way you used it in this salad, and that lemon pepper dressing sounds TO DIE FOR.ReplyCancel

  • Sabrina26/08/2017 - 7:05 pm

    Nice recipe and interesting story, like your version of coconut bacon, I’d never heard of it before! Thank you!ReplyCancel

  • Elle29/08/2017 - 9:25 am

    I’m planning on making this tonight – it looks delicious! I only have coconut strips that come packaged with cane sugar on them. Will that work? Thank you!ReplyCancel

    • Laura30/08/2017 - 11:39 am

      Sorry for the late reply! I think it will be fine, but you could skip most of the maple syrup in the recipe.

  • SujanaYoga31/08/2017 - 8:02 am

    Amazing! It looks delicious. Thanks for sharing the recipe.ReplyCancel

  • Christina31/08/2017 - 2:25 pm

    COCONUT BACON? This is the first time I’ve heard of coconut bacon, it sounds and looks delicious! I love your pour shot over the coconut too. Lovely post, lovely photography, amazing looking recipe!ReplyCancel

  • Hilary04/09/2017 - 10:25 pm

    This looks awesome, I also live in southern ontario (woot!) and I am wondering where you got this type of coconut. It never seems to be with the other coconut in the baking aisle or at bulk barn…

    PS love your book and I’m not even vegetarian :) Just appreciate good plant lovin’ReplyCancel

    • Laura06/09/2017 - 4:29 pm

      Hi Hilary,
      The large flake coconut IS hard to find here! I actually picked up a bunch of it on a random HomeSense trip. They had 4 huge bags in their little superfood aisle and I took all of them! Since that trip, I’ve seen it there a few times. A Marshall’s or Winners store might be worth a visit, too.

  • sara forte05/09/2017 - 5:22 pm

    oh my yes. I would have inhaled this too! Looks like perfection. You always take the extra step to make a salad special and I need to follow your footsteps. The extra little step makes all the difference and this looks like perfection. Hope you all are enjoying the end of your summer. xoReplyCancel

  • Aiden05/09/2017 - 6:41 pm

    OH MY GOD.

    I have made many a coconut bacon recipe.

    This is by far THE BEST. SOOO GOOOD I am so happy that there’s extra! :) The salad as a whole is stellar too – loving the grilled peach.

    Thanks for the recipe.ReplyCancel

  • […] it’s hard to go wrong. This is why I love these smoky beans so much. I took the idea behind Laura’s coconut bacon and used the flavor in these beans. Using smoked salt really brings the flavor together and this […]ReplyCancel

  • […] I want to make this salad. […]ReplyCancel

  • […] it’s hard to go wrong. This is why I love these smoky beans so much. I took the idea behind Laura’s coconut bacon and used the flavor in these beans. Using smoked salt really brings the flavor together and this […]ReplyCancel

  • Izzy16/09/2017 - 1:47 pm

    This salad looks so so incredible!! I have never tried coconut bacon but i feel like i need to do it right now!! Yumm, dreaming of this salad right now haha.ReplyCancel

  • […] cozy dishes. Here are a few of my favorites: Golden Fennel Kale Chop, Pumpkin Buckwheat Kale Salad, Vegan BLT Salad with Coconut Bacon Bits, Kale Lentil Pasta Salad with Maple Pecans, Charred Broccoli and Red Onion […]ReplyCancel

  • Valarie18/12/2017 - 7:47 pm

    This salad was delicious. It was the first time I’ve tried grilled peaches and I must say I was definitely surprised at how flavorful it was. It’s a definite YES! from meReplyCancel

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