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I'm making a batch of Brown Sugar Smokies for a potluck, and wanted to provide a vegetarian alternative.

I know that brown sugar'd carrots are good, so I figured they're a decent substitute for the sausages. Is there a good alternative for the bacon?

I was thinking of using mushrooms, which probably have the right texture, but I don't eat them enough to know whether that would be a decent taste or just gross.

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Speaking as a non-meat-eater, I would vastly prefer a completely other food than some kind of meat substitute. While there are a lot of vegetarians who like fake meat, there are a lot who don't. –  FuzzyChef Dec 21 '11 at 1:47
    
Thanks for the suggestions everyone. I ended up going with carrots wrapped in sliced portobello mushroom caps. They matched the form of the smokies well, but were a completely different taste. The mushrooms pretty much overpowered the carrots, but that wasn't necessarily a bad thing. I think they accomplished what they were meant to - they were a decent alternative that matched the form of the original. I wouldn't eat them if it were up to me, but then again, I'm a dedicated carnivore. –  James Beninger Dec 23 '11 at 17:03
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3 Answers

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This may be off-base as a one-to-one substitute, but I like Vegan Naked Fatties.

Basically, it is riffing on the Naked Fatties recipe here, only I had some alternative folks to appease. Obviously it's not bacon but I modified it to make for a similar salty-savory taste. That said, if you're trying to impress vegan/vegetarian friends with a replicant, this one is an easy-to-accomplish endeavor.

Otherwise, you can just use Fake Bacon strips or Tofurkey slices to wrap it in faux-meat; those don't allow you much flexibility to complement flavors as well though.

Naked Fatties

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There are a few vegan/vegetarian bacon products out there. The one that we have been happiest with is Smart Bacon. It has a good smoky flavor and if you're careful to not let it dry out, it has a pleasant, meaty texture. If you're planning to wrap something in Smart Bacon, I would recommend using toothpicks, as it won't stick to itself like I've seen pork bacon do.

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I'm assuming your goal is to try and capture the main elements that make bacon wrapped smokies great: sweet, salty, meaty, and smoky.

For a vegetarian finger food, grilled tofu would be my first choice. This recipe mirrors the flavor profile of the bacon wrapped smokies pretty closely: http://allrecipes.com/recipe/crispy-barbequed-tofu-slices/detail.aspx

Straight up breaded, fried tofu is also very tasty and versatile (it is fried, after all), and you could serve it with a variety of dipping sauces.

If you're not a fan of tofu, mushrooms would be my second choice. Stuffed mushrooms that are grilled instead of baked would give you a nice subtle smokiness, and they are always a crowd pleaser: http://allrecipes.com/recipe/mouth-watering-stuffed-mushrooms/detail.aspx

And last but not least, I'm a big fan of grilled eggplant. This grilled eggplant and ricotta crostini recipe keeps a nice balance of sweet, salty, smoky, and rich: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/anne-burrell/grilled-eggplant-and-ricotta-crostini-recipe/index.html

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