For The Love Of Bacon

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Delicious Bacon
Bacon has developed for itself a cult-like following around the low-carb and Paleo diet circles where it’s not rare to see people wearing t-shirts affirming their love for bacon.

It’s also the ultimate white-trash American iconic food, but has this weird ability of being enjoyed equally by the rich and the poor. It’s the perfect poor man’s breakfast, but fancy restaurants now serve bacon ice cream, bacon mousses, bacon flavored vodka and foie gras with bacon.

The word “bacon” itself comes from the Old High German word bacho, which means buttock. It’s prepared differently depending on where you are in the world and many parts of the pork can be used to prepare bacon. In the U.S., bacon is most often prepared from pork belly, which gives a very fatty bacon. What is often referred to as Canadian bacon in the U.S. is back bacon taken from the pork loin, which is leaner.

Bacon is always cured, but can be smoked or not and high-quality smoked bacon from artisanal producers will often be a whole different story than the bacon readily available in grocery stores. While pork bacon is the most popular version, other meats like beef, lamb or chicken can be cured and smoked in a similar manner.

Bacon is versatile with many foods and is good in savory as well as sweet preparations. It’s great in sauces, stews, soups, salads and snacks or wrapped around fruits, fish, seafood, poultry and red meat. It possesses a unique combination of umami flavors that give an addictive taste to most foods that it’s coupled with. Additionally, you should always keep the rendered bacon fat as it will also impair some of the bacon flavor to food cooked in it.

Nutrition-wise, we know that bacon is not the villain that it’s made out to be. Dietary saturated fat and cholesterol are good for us, and not just in moderate amounts. The stigma against saturated fat and cholesterol has strong ties and even some people in the Paleo circles still fall in the trap of fearing fat and seeking lean meat as their main source of energy. It’s important to keep in mind that fat is a great source of fuel and that it’s excess protein consumption that should be feared more than excess fat consumption. Of course, when it comes to fat, some choices are better than others. Pork’s fat, lard, is about 40% saturated, 45% monounsaturated and 12% polyunsaturated. Saturated and monounsaturated fats are the ones that should be consumed liberally, while polyunsaturated fats should be kept to a minimum. In the case of lard, the levels of polyunsaturated fat is higher than in tallow, butter fat or coconut oil, which makes it somewhat less desirable to consume in large quantities and for high-heat cooking. The fatty tissues of pork in confined production tend to be higher in total polyunsaturated fat and lower in omega-3 fatty acids, which is needed in balance with omega-6. For this reason, it might prove to be a good idea to consume fatty fish regularly or a very high-quality fish oil supplement if lard is a main constituent of your diet.

BaconAnother concern is the levels of nitrates in bacon. It’s true that most bacon, other the the nitrate-free versions, will contain varying amounts of nitrate, but this is often an unfounded concern has most vegetables contain comparable levels of nitrates.

One true concern with bacon is the high amount of sodium found in it, but this could be a good thing to some people who eat a Paleo diet without adding much salt to food and who start experiencing low blood pressure problems. For most people though, it’s wise to watch the amount of total sodium consumed. A good way to tackle it is to use much less salt or none at all in meals that include bacon, making the bacon your source of sodium for that meal.

Following is a roundup of 8 delicious bacon-centered recipes. Most of the recipes call for the basic salt and pepper seasoning, but keep in mind that much less salt will be needed then usual because of the saltiness of the bacon.

Bacon recipe roundup

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Bacon wrapped asparagus with cilantro flavored mayonnaise

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 30 asparagus stalks, hard base removed;
  • 10 slices bacon;
  • 1/2 cup paleo mayonnaise;
  • 2 tbsp + 1 tsp lime juice;
  • 1 tbsp + 2 tsp fresh cilantro leaves, finely chopped;
  • 1/4 cup lard or other cooking fat, melted;
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste;

Preparation

  1. Preheat your oven to 450 F.
  2. Wrap each bacon slice around a bundle made with 3 asparagus stalks and secure with toothpicks if needed.
  3. Place on a rimmed baking sheet and season to taste with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.
  4. Place in the oven to cook for about 20 minutes.
  5. In the mean time, prepare the mayonnaise by combining the cilantro and lime juice with the mayonnaise and seasoning to taste with salt and pepper.
  6. Remove the bacon wrapped asparagus from the oven and serve with the flavored mayonnaise.


Bacon & sweet potato salad

Serves 6

Ingredients

  • 4 medium sweet potatoes, peeled, cut in cubes;
  • 4 slices bacon;
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped;
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced;
  • 1 1/2 tbsp homemade or Dijon mustard;
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice;
  • 4 loosely packed cups baby spinach;
  • 2 tbsp lard or other cooking fat;
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste;

Preparation

  1. Place the sweet potato cubes in a pot of cold water, bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Simmer for about 10 minutes, until tender.
  2. In the mean time, cook the bacon slices over a medium heat in a large pan until crisp, about.4 minutes per side. Set aside
  3. Add the onion and garlic to the pan as well as the additional cooking fat and cook until the onions are soft, about 5 minutes. Season liberally with black pepper.
  4. Turn off the heat and stir in the lemon juice and mustard.
  5. Drain the cooked sweet potato cubes and place in a bowl.
  6. Add the baby spinach with the sweet potatoes and combine well and pour the cooked onions with all the drippings on top.
  7. Crumble the cooked bacon over, combine and serve.


Bacon & broccoli curried soup with almonds

Serves 5

Ingredients

  • 4 slices bacon, cut in 1-inch pieces;
  • 1 cup leeks, green part discarded and white finely chopped;
  • 1/2 cup carrots, finely chopped;
  • 4 cups broccoli, finely chopped;
  • 1 tsp curry powder;
  • 1/2 tsp dried basil;
  • 3 cups chicken stock;
  • 1 cup coconut milk;
  • 4 tbsp almonds, chopped;
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste;

Preparation

  1. Heat a pot over a medium heat and cook the bacon for about 6 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  2. Remove the bacon from the pot, set aside and add the leeks and carrots to the pot in the rendered bacon fat.
  3. Stir often and cook until soft.
  4. Add the broccoli, curry powder and basil and cook for a few more minutes.
  5. Pour in the chicken stock, bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Simmer for about 10 minutes, until the broccoli is soft.
  6. Add the bacon back in the pot and stir in the coconut milk.
  7. Season to taste with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, reheat the liquid and serve sprinkled with chopped almonds on top.


Bacon & tomato guacamole

Yields 3 cups

Ingredients

  • 5 slices thick bacon;
  • 3 medium avocados;
  • 1 onion, diced;
  • 2 chipotle chilies, seeded and finely chopped;
  • 1 large tomato, chopped into 1/4-inch pieces;
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped and stems removed;
  • 2 tbsp lime juice;
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste;

Preparation

  1. Heat a large pan over a medium heat and cook the bacon until crisp, about 5 minutes per side.
  2. Pat the bacon dry and crumble it.
  3. Place the avocado flesh in a bowl and mash it with a fork.
  4. Add the onion, chilies, tomato, cilantro and crumbled bacon. Season to taste with salt and pepper, add the lime juice and stir well to combine all the ingredients.
  5. Serve immediately of reserve in the refrigerator with a plastic wrap touching the surface of the guacamole to prevent oxidation.


Caprese chicken with bacon

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 8 slices bacon;
  • 4 boneless chicken breast halves;
  • 2 plum tomatoes, sliced;
  • 6 basil leaves, sliced thinly;
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste;

Preparation

  1. Preheat your oven to 400 F.
  2. Place the bacon slices on a rimmed baking sheet and place in the oven to cook for about 10 minutes so they are still soft.
  3. Remove from the oven and pat the slices dry with paper towels.
  4. Rub the chicken breast halves in the rendered bacon fat, season them with salt and pepper to taste and place them in a baking dish.
  5. Place the basil leaves and tomato slices on top of the breast halves and place the partially cooked bacon slices over.
  6. Place in the oven to cook for about 20 to 25 minutes, until the chicken is well cooked.


Bacon, liver & onion medley

Serves 3

Ingredients

  • 1 lb beef liver, cut into 1/4-inch slices;
  • Juice of 1 lemon;
  • 2 onions, thinly sliced;
  • 1/4 lb bacon, cut into bite sized pieces;
  • 8 cloves garlic, minced;
  • Lard or other cooking fat;

Preparation

  1. Place the liver slices in a bowl with the lemon juice and enough water to cover.
  2. Place in the refrigerator to marinate for 2 to 4 hours.
  3. Heat a large skillet over a medium heat and cook the bacon pieces for about 5 minutes, until it barely starts to crisp-up.
  4. Remove the bacon from the skillet and set aside.
  5. Add the onions to the hot skillet and cook for about 6 minutes, until soft. Set aside.
  6. Add enough cooking fat to the skillet with the rendered bacon fat to obtain a total of about 1/3 cup fat.
  7. Drain and pat fry the liver slices.
  8. Add the liver to the hot skillet and cook on one side for about 2 minutes.
  9. Turn the slices over, add back the onions and bacon as well as the minced garlic and cook for an additional 2 minutes.


Cod with bacon & creamy fennel

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 4 slices bacon, cut into 1/4-inch pieces;
  • 2 fennel bulbs, cut into 1-inch wedges;
  • 1 3/4 cups chicken stock;
  • 2/3 cup coconut milk;
  • 1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes;
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced;
  • 1/2 lb cod, cut into chunks;
  • 1 tbsp homemade or Dijon mustard;
  • Chopped fennel top for garnishing;
  • 3 tbsp lard or other cooking fat;
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste;

Preparation

  1. Heat a large skillet over a medium heat and cook the bacon pieces for about 6 minutes, until it starts to crisp-up.
  2. Remove the bacon from the skillet and set aside.
  3. Add the fennel wedges to the hot skillet with the rendered bacon fat, adding 1 tbsp lard or other cooking fat.
  4. Season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste and cook for about 7 minutes, until slightly browned, while stirring occasionally.
  5. Stir in the chicken stock, coconut milk, garlic and sun-dried tomatoes and simmer, partially covered, for about 20 minutes. Stir occasionally.
  6. In the mean time, season the fish to taste with salt and pepper, heat a pan over a medium-high heat and cook the fish in the remaining cooking fat until just cooked through.
  7. Add back the bacon pieces to the cooked fennel as well as the mustard and serve on top of the cooked cod.


Bacon & beet salad

Here the bright red beets will bleed their color in the mayonnaise, which will become nice and pink.

Serves 6

Ingredients

  1. 3 large beets;
  2. 1 cup celery, chopped;
  3. 4 eggs;
  4. 2 onions, diced;
  5. 1 bell pepper, diced;
  6. 8 slices bacon;
  7. 1 cup homemade mayonnaise;
  8. Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste;

Preparation

  1. Place the beets in a pot and fill with cold water. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and simmer for about 45 minutes, until the beets are tender.
  2. Meanwhile, heat a large pan over a medium heat and cook the bacon until crisp, about 5 minutes per side.
  3. Pat the bacon dry and crumble it.
  4. For perfect hard boiled eggs, place the eggs in a pot with cold water and gently bring to a boil. When the water boils, cover the pot, turn off the heat and let stand for exactly 7 minutes. After 7 minutes, drain the hot water and rinse with icy cold water for a minute to stop the cooking and prevent a grey ring from forming around the yolk.
  5. When the eggs are cool enough the handle, peel them and chop them coarsely.
  6. Drain and rinse the beets with cold water.
  7. When cold enough to handle, remove the skin from the beets and cut them in cubes.
  8. Place the beet cubes in a bowl, add the other ingredients and combine well.
  9. Season to taste with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper and place in the refrigerator to chill before serving.

P.S. Have a look at our Paleo Recipe Book. It's a cookbook we've created to help you eat the best Paleo food. It contains over 370 recipes and covers everything you need.

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