Last week we had out of town guests, and one of them was my friend Eric. He and his wife are vegan and I remember one year he went on a trip with some old friends and he said he needed vegan jerky. Because he and his friends would always get big bags of jerky for their trips, he wanted a vegan version to bring. He ended up making his own out of tofu, which works really well and has the same protein satisfaction of the non-vegan versions.
Tofu jerky is easy as, or easier, than the meat versions. You slice the tofu into strips and marinate it in a similar marinade and then dehydrate until chewy and dry. There are tons of recipes to use for your marinade, or use your favorite marinade that you have used with meat in the past if you have one.
I had that on my mind for a Throwback Thursday post when I went for a walk with my dogs yesterday and the neighbor girl joined us along with a handful of Slim Jims. I knew it was a sign and came right home to whip up a new creation: Jackfruit Jerky.
Preheat oven to 350 F. Slice the jackfruit and then combine all other ingredients well in a bowl. Toss everything gently together, being careful not the break up the jackfruit in the process.
Cover a baking sheet in parchment paper and spread out your jackfruit and marinade on it so everything has space to cook.
Bake for 35-45 minutes, letting it get browned and a bit crispy/chewy. Once it cools it will harden more because of the sugar in the maple syrup, so it will mostly be chewy when it's still hot. If you can wait a few minutes, you'll get the firmer texture.
Once it's cool enough to eat, all I can say is good luck having enough to store in an airtight container. The neighbor girl who had just eaten several Slim Jims wanted all of it! The kids and husband and I were all snacking away and it was gone in less than an hour (I had to hide it while it cooled just to take pictures).
You could use this same method and make a teriyaki jerky or something with Sriracha or whatever flavors you like your jerky to be. As always, be creative and have fun with it! None of my recipes are written in stone!
Some other Vegan Jerky Recipes
A super simple Tofu Jerky recipe from Connoisseurus Veg
From my first vegan blog, Meat Free Mom, a mushroom jerky that was a huge crowd pleaser.
There are some great soy curl-based vegan jerkies on the market, so I bet it would be fun to experiment with using soy curls in a similar method to make a soy curl jerky. Experiment and enjoy!
With a food dehydrator, you can try marinating and dehydrating all kinds of veggies for a jerky-like snack that keeps in an airtight container. The trick to keep it chewy is to include some oil and some sweetener (doesn't need to be a lot). You can use strips of carrots, beets, and probably lots of other things! I've even dehydrated broccoli for a fun snack!
Buy Vegan Jerky
Sometimes when you have no bun, you have to use an English Muffin. No regrets!
This week, Inspirilized posted a beautiful picture of a carrot dog on her Instagram and got some seriously rude responses. She's not vegan and most of her recipes aren't vegan, but for some reason some people still really fight back against anything they like made vegan. Well too bad, dudes.
Apart from the drama, that tussle reminded me how great carrot dogs are! I first heard of them when I was living in Alaska an some hot dog specialty restaurant opened and I saw "carrot dog" on the menu as a vegetarian option. I actually thought it was a joke and never tried it.
Then, in my Vegan Parents group on Facebook, I saw a post with a recipe, and I started making them and loving them. Of course I do a mishmash of recipes, so I'll share a variety of them for you to choose from or combine into your own perfect dawg.
The first answer is obviously shape, but actually the sweetness and texture of a carrot really lends itself to a vegan version of a hot dog. As long as you don't boil the life out of it, a carrot retains a nice bite, even when you cook it, and with a good marinade you can really infuse flavor in it.
Also, carrots are healthy, cheap, and readily available. Sure, I like veggie hot dogs, but they are pretty processed and I can't always find them locally, so carrot dogs make for a cheaper and *easier option.
*Easier, but takes some time to really infuse flavor, so not necessarily faster.
Okay, Let's See Some Recipes!
Carrot Dogs from Kid Tested, Firefighter Approved
This was the first recipe I tried and it was a hit. I just love the name and the story that the kids AND the firefighter love these. You going to tell a firefighter he needs a meat hotdog? I wouldn't, if I were you .
All Natural Carrot Dogs from The Easy Vegan Cookbook
I like that this offer a soy-free option for those with sensitivities. You could sub coconut aminos in the other recipes you find too, if that's a concern.
Vegan Carrot Dogs with Spiraled Toppings by Inspiralized
Not only does this recipe have a carrot dog recipe, but I love that she gives 3 different topping ideas that all look amazing. Please, I must spiralize a pickle like NOW.
Chili Cheese Carrot Dogs by Plant Strong Vegan
These are soy-free, gluten-free, vegan, and pack a big filling bite into this healthy alternative to hot dogs.
Looking for a Vegan Hotdog that isn't a Carrot?
My favorite vegan dawg is the Frankfurter from Field Roast. They have a complex taste, densely chewy texture, and they are great with toppings.
Another favorite is the Kielbasa by Tofurkey. This is a big plump vegan sausage with lots of flavor and you can boil it in beer, grill it, and top with grilled onions, sauerkraut, and mustard for a totally satisfying dawg that will make you forget all about meat.
Most veggie dogs are vegan, but read the ingredients in case. My kids like the basic Yves The Good Dog hot dogs, so try out a few and see what you are into.
Thursday is my designated throwback day to tackle a classic dish and make it vegan. This week it's also St. Patrick's Day, so I was conflicted about posting something non-St. Patrick's Day related. But in the end, I was at my local health food store, Anelas Yoga and Wellness, and they had sprouted bagels AND I had just made a new batch ofCultured Cashew Cheese, and decision was basically made for me.
When I was in college, before I was vegan, I lived in a small Northern California town with the cutest every bakery that was Mexican and Jewish fusion- don't adjust your screen, that's what it was- called Los Bagels. That place was AWESOME (and I'm sure still is, even without me visiting. In addition to round bagels, they had a long straight bagel called a "slug" that had the Everything Bagel toppings- sesame, poppyseed, garlic, and onion. I would get these all the time and loved them loaded up with cream cheese, sprouts, onions, tomato, cucumber, avocado, EVERYTHING.
I really fell in love with the "Everything Bagel" there. Once I became vegan, I realized that most bagels have an egg wash and so it limits my bagel options considerably, and I haven't come across a vegan everything bagel in the supermarket. But, there are good bagel options- so what's a girl to do? Make her own? That's really intimidating to me, involving several steps, but if you are into it, here are two recipes to try:
Whole Wheat Bagels from The Happy Herbivore
Multigrain Bagels from Seitan is my Motor
If, like me, you just want to buy your bagels, just check the ingredients. Generally, egg is the only animal ingredient I see on bagels, but with baked goods you might check for milk/whey/butter/casein/lactose, and L-cystine (derived from hair and feathers and used as a dough condioner- I know, gross). These sprouted wheat bagels from Alvarado St. Bakery are awesome, have 10g of protein (if you are into that sort of thing) and tasty. Thomas's mini bagels are also vegan, if you have fewer choices where you live.
Everything Cream Cheese
So, in case you can't find an everything bagel, I came up with a solution- Everything Cream Cheese.
2 Tbsp vegan cream cheese (I used my Cultured Cashew Cheese, but you can get Tofutti, Daiya, or Follow Your Heart cream cheese for this instead If you don't want to wait for it to culture, this would be good with my Cultured Cashew Cheese even before it cultured.)
1/2 tsp each garlic granules, onion flakes (or chopped green onion), poppy seeds, and sesame seeds
Optional: red pepper flakes to your liking
Mix it all together and schmear on your toasted bagel
If you are feeling extra fancy, top it with a vegan smoked salmon/lox alternative like this amazingrecipe from Olives for Dinner that uses carrots (this one takes a couple days- so plan ahead).
You could also simply top it with onion, capers, dill, and roasted red pepper.
Sprouts and or a slice of tomato would go great with this.
Go a bit sweet and add a thin layer of jalapeño jelly.
Or go sweet and simple and just schmear and go.
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