Burnt mushrooms, it turns out, taste a lot like bacon, Baton Rouge-based salad dressing manufacturer Richard Hanley discovered by accident.
Last year, Hanley and his wife, Kate, had a eureka moment when they accidentally overcooked grilled mushrooms, discovering an unintentionally crisp texture and flavor that mimicked that of bacon. As successful salad dressing manufacturers of Hanley’s Foods, the Hanleys immediately began brainstorming how to scale up the mistake into a salad topper that would fit into their business’ portfolio of seven all-natural salad dressings along with croutons made from po-boy bread.
With plant-based food sales increasing exponentially, the idea felt timely, Hanley says. He and Kate spent the next few months testing ingredients and cooking methods at the LSU AgCenter Food Incubator, where they had also developed their other products and still bottle many of their salad dressings.