I still remember my joy at discovering that all Clif bars are vegan. This was in high school, in the early days of my veganhood. I’ll admit, with my hectic varsity-athlete-honours-kid schedule, there were more than a few meals that consisted of nothing more than a Lemon Poppy Seed Clif bar (my favourite Clif bar flavours and lipstick colours are always discontinued).
After almost a decade, however, I’m starting to wonder what other snacks are out there. I like nuts, seeds, and dried fruits for my afternoon handful at work. Fruit leather is also fun, if somewhat mysterious.
Then there is jerky.
Candace, why did you introduce me to Primal Strips? We took them as a snack rafting on the river, and ever since then I’ve developed something of a habit.
The problem is, they’re expensive. I even looked into buying them in bulk, but just couldn’t justify the cost.
Thanks to the FDA (am I thanking a government entity?), however, all food must be labelled (albeit poorly) with ingredients in order of proportion. I created this recipe from the ingredients list on the Hot and Spicy Primal Strips. I left out the TVP because it just seemed too complicated. Shiitake mushroom is simpler.
I swear, the very first recipe that I tried was perfect.
So perfect, in fact, that I can’t honestly say how long these will store; they never last more than a few days here before being gobbled up by friends, coworkers, or really lazy snackers.
The first time that I made them, Ryan and I each brought them into work for taste testing; between his coworkers (mechanical engineers in the blades division of an impeller corporation) and mine (designers and product managers at a blood glucose meter company), we had a pretty healthy sample size.
It’s no secret that I love New Hampshire, but apparently some people in this state don’t know what artichoke hearts are (and don’t get me started about the parsley/cilantro identification at the grocery store). Some of Ryan’s coworkers are among this population, so I was a little leery about their willingness to try—not to mention like—vegan jerky.
Halfway through that morning, he messaged me, saying ‘They’re fricken awesome’and ‘I’m going to eat all of mine today!’ One of his colleagues is even a hunter—this guy asked for the recipe so that he could eat it while in his tree stand. While I’m not sure how I feel about someone munching on vegan jerky whilst awaiting his next target to walk over (but thanks for the compliment, George!), I’m still flattered.
In short, these rock. Don’t take my word for it—try them yourself. Because on top of everything, they’re even easy to make.
And one last note, for those nouveau chefs amongst my readers: many of the ingredients are ‘divided.’ This means that you’ll use the whole measurement, but not all at once. So be careful when you’re mixing—many ingredients go into both the jerky and the marinade, so don’t accidentally dump all at once.
Vegan Jerky Recipe
By October 31, 2012Published:
- Yield: 12 Strips (6 Servings)
- Prep: 10 mins
- Cook: 40 mins
- Ready In: 50 mins
Inspired by Primal Strips Hot and Spicy jerky from shittake mushrooms, these little strips of glory are a savoury treat.
- 8 oz shiitake mushrooms
- 2-inch piece kombu Powdered
- 1/2 t onion powder
- 1/2 t garlic powder
- 1/2 t allspice Divided
- 1/2 t cayenne Divided (Use less for less heat)
- black pepper
- 2 t vegan sugar
- 2 T low-sodium tamari or soy sauce Divided
- 2 T peanut oil Divided
- 3/4 t liquid smoke
- 2 oz vital wheat gluten (60 g, 1/2 c)
- 1 T seasoned rice vinegar
- 1 T molasses
- Preheat the oven to 200ºC (400ºF).
- Remove the stems from the mushrooms. If you're finicky about eating dirt, gently wipe the mushrooms clean with a damp cloth.
- Add the mushroom stems to the work bowl of a food processor. Process for a few seconds until they're finely diced.
- Add the mushroom caps, powdered kombu, onion powder, garlic powder, ¼ t allspice, ¼ t cayenne, black pepper, and sugar. Pulse to finely dice and combine.
- Add 1 T soy sauce, 1 T peanut oil, and the liquid smoke. Process until mushy.
- Add the gluten and process until a dough forms. It should be squishy—not sticky—and hold together in a ball. It will be more malleable than seitan dough (if you're familiar with that).
- Remove the dough from the processor and knead a little, then roll into a rectangle ⅛" thick.
- While that rests, mix the remaining ¼ t allspice, ¼ t cayenne, 1 T soy sauce, and 1 T peanut oil along with the vinegar, molasses, and more black pepper.
- Using a knife or pizza cutter, slice the jerky into strips. (I like mine about 1 1/2" x 6".)
- Arrange the strips on parchment paper on a baking sheet. Brush with just under half the marinade. Bake for 20 minutes.
- After 20 minutes, flip the strips, brush with just under the other half the marinade, and bake for another 20 minutes.
- After that, remove the strips, flip again, and brush with any remaining marinade so that both sides are nice and shiny.
- If not eating immediately, then store in plastic wrap.