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
I wrote a children's book, How Our Vegan Family Celebrates, to help vegans and vegan allies know how to include vegans in their celebrations and give affirmation to vegan kids who may feel alone. The book goes through holidays throughout the year and has a section at the back with parent tips!
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