Bacon is one of the best examples of a food people love and hate. Love, because of the savory taste and crispy texture, and hate, because of its potentially negative health effects.
People sometimes swap pork bacon for the turkey variety when trying to eat cut back on fat and calories, but now there’s an easy and delicious option for vegans and health-conscious people: Carrot bacon. There’s no curing process or frying involved, and you get all the nutritional benefits from this vegetable.
Is Bacon Really That Unhealthy?
Bacon is pork that is cured in a solution of salt, nitrates, and occasionally sugar. After that, the bacon is usually smoked. Curing and smoking preserve the meat, retains its red color, and contributes to the signature flavor.
It’s no secret that bacon contains a lot of salt, an ingredient that has been associated with high blood pressure and an increased risk of stomach cancer. It also has high amounts of additives like nitrites, which are associated with cancer risk. Undercooking or overcooking the bacon can release other potentially harmful compounds too.
Bacon has the same negative effects as other processed meats that observational studies have associated with heart disease and colon, liver, breast, and lung cancer. While observational studies cannot always prove causation, the results have been consistent with other studies as well. 
Health Benefits of Carrots
In this recipe, we replace the controversial prime ingredient of pork bacon with a healthy vegetable, making this bacon perfect for vegans, vegetarians, those avoiding pork for religious reasons, and anyone who just wants to try something new. Many of us are omnivores after all, so there is room for all types of bacon at the table.
We tend to think of the orange variety when we think of carrots but they actually come in purple, red, yellow, and white. No matter the color, they are rich in vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants.
Vitamin A (as beta carotene)
There’s the famous myth that carrots improve vision, but it’s just that, a myth. True, carrots contain vitamin A (as beta carotene), and a deficiency of this vitamin can result in xerophthalmia, a progressive eye disease, but they won’t improve the sight of the average person without this condition.
The antioxidants in carrots may help reduce the risk of developing certain kinds of cancer, including leukemia, colon cancer, and lung cancer. The studies involved did hold evidence to support these claims but more research is required to make the statement conclusive.
Carrots contain fiber that can aid good digestive health, with one cup of chopped carrots containing 3.58 g of fiber. The combination of high fiber and low calories makes carrots a good choice for those suffering from diabetes since they are unlikely to cause blood sugar spikes. The fiber also contributes to the good bacteria in the gut, which can improve one’s health and fend off the risk of disease. 
Aside from vitamin A, other nutrient carrots are known for is vitamin C, which helps the body fight diseases and supports healing. When the body is under stress, some experts believe that consuming additional vitamin C can support the immune system, this is particularly true for athletes. This is why some take supplemental vitamin C in attempts to reduce the severity or duration of a virus or cold. 
So if you’re craving all of these health benefits alongside the hot and crispy deliciousness of bacon, this is the recipe for you! Enjoy this carrot bacon as a snack or in a sandwich, in a salad, alongside a burger, or in a scramble. The possibilities are endless when it comes to simple scrumptiousness like this.
With the help of a mandolin, the prep time for this recipe is cut short, with the cooking time being only 15 minutes. If you don’t have a mandolin, you can slice the carrot lengthwise as thinly as you can; you may have to increase the baking time to account for the thicker pieces. As long as the carrot bacon strips are slightly wavy and a little crispy, they are ready to be enjoyed!
Baked Smoky Carrot Bacon
Recipe by Lisa Andersson and Erik Huss from One Green Planet
- 3 large carrots
- 2 tablespoons grapeseed oil or refined avocado oil
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- one teaspoon salt
- Preheat the oven to 320°F.
- Rinse the carrots, peel, and slice lengthwise using a mandolin. Lay the carrot strips on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
- Stir together remaining ingredients in a small bowl and then brush the carrot strips on both sides.
- Bake the carrot strips in the oven for 15 minutes, or until the strips become wavy and slightly crispy.
Keep Reading: Mini Keto Egg Burgers with Bacon and Avocado
- “Is Bacon Bad for You, or Good? The Salty, Crunchy Truth.” Kris Gunnars, BSc. Healthline. April 30, 2018
- “Carrots 101: Nutrition Facts and Health Benefits.” Healthline. Adda Bjarnadottir, MS, RDN (Ice). May 3, 2019
- “What are the health benefits of carrots?” Megan Ware, RDN, L.D. Medical News Today. December 4, 2019
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