Eating Light: Turkey Bacon, Surprisingly Good

Bacon is one of our favorite foods. Really, can anything top that smoky, juicy taste? We use it sparingly to add crackly goodness to soups and pasta, and to make our morning eggs even more delicious. But we never thought much of turkey bacon; it seemed like one of those half-hearted and unworthy substitutes for the real thing, like chocolate pudding with Splenda, or low-fat yogurt.

Well, we were wrong.

We bought turkey bacon on an experimental whim recently, and we realized that we had never really tasted the stuff before. We had it panfried with soup, and it really impressed us with its meaty, savory taste and rich texture.

Here's the key to turkey bacon: You can't mix it up with pork bacon, or look to it to be just like that streaked fatty goodness. It's a different sort of food altogether, but it's delicious in its own right and on its own terms. We often buy it now, but we don't use it as a "low-fat" substitute for "real" bacon; we use it when we want to add a little meat to a dish, and when we want a whole strip of bacon. We still use pork bacon any time we want real bacon flavor to infuse a whole dish, and when we need bacon fat to cook with. Turkey bacon gives off very little fat.

Turkey bacon, as you can see from the package photo above, is usually made from turkey thighs that have been ground and processed into strips. Some are cured; others are not. We enjoy Trader Joe's brand a lot.

Do you eat turkey bacon?

Related: Quick Tip: Freezing Bacon

(Image: Faith Durand)

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Faith is the executive editor of The Kitchn and the author of three cookbooks. They include Bakeless Sweets (Spring 2013) as well as The Kitchn's first cookbook, which will be published in Fall 2014. She lives in Columbus, Ohio with her husband Mike.