The plant-based foods trend has been around for a while. What’s new is more people — even those who don’t eat only vegan or vegetarian are exploring plant-based snacking as they become more aware of the downsides of eating processed meats, with some just wanting a break from meat as they seek more ways to add diverse and savory flavors into their regular snacks and meals
Easy Vegan Eggplant Jerky
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 3 hours
Dried eggplant jerky is a healthy alternative to beef jerky. For this recipe, it is best to use a dehydrator if you have one, as the eggplant can be made with no added oils and fats. It will still retain a crisp, yet chewy texture, packed full of flavor much like your favorite jerky.
If you do not have a food dehydrator you can use an oven, but will have to coat the eggplant in oil first so they do not stick. The baked version is not quite as healthy, but is much more “jerky” like.
Eggplants are like flavor sponges and suck up any herb or spice you throw at them. The marinade I have written is just a suggestion and feel free to experiment with your favorites. Some people like to keep it simple and use a smokey barbeque sauce which has a similar effect, but also contains added sugars. It’s up to you and your flavor preference.
- 1 Italian eggplant
- 2 tablespoon tamarind paste
- 1 tablespoon liquid smoke (or smoked paprika)
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce or tamari
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- salt and pepper to taste
- Slice eggplant into 1/2 inch slices lengthwise.
- Remove the round ends and re-stack.
- Cut again lengthwise into 1/2 inch strips which makes an eggplant strip that resembles bacon.
- In a large bowl combine all ingredients.
- Place a plate or lid (if the bowl comes with one) and shake so that everything is evenly coated.
- Let this stand for at least an hour. You will notice a lot of water coming out of the eggplant. This is normal as eggplants release water when in contact with salt.
- Arrange slices of eggplant on a food dehydrator and dry for 3 hours, or until crisp.
- If you are using an oven, first coat the eggplant pieces in olive oil and bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes or until crisp. (Keep a close eye on them as you do not want them to burn.)
- They are now ready to be eaten and will keep for quite some time as they are dehydrated.
Wishing you the best day ever.
Dr. Bobby & Sue Ellen, RN