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Give Any Dish a Kick in the Pants with Vegan Mushroom "Jerky"

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On first inspection, there’s pretty much no food that could be less amenable to vegan interpretation than jerky. Right?

Wrong—at least if you’re willing to have a somewhat roomy interpretation of what jerky is. These portobello mushroom slices, which are cooked at low oven temperatures until they dry out slightly and intensify in flavor, are a very good, very creative spin on the idea of jerky.

Photo by Bobbi Lin

They’re great for snacking, but the way I really like to use them is stuffed into wraps, layered on sandwiches, or chopped and sprinkled onto salads. They add flavor and umami, and they’re an easy item to keep stored in the fridge for when you want to give dishes a bit of kick.

Word to the wise: the mushroom slices are good and salty. I offer 2 to 3 tablespoons of tamari here; I love salty flavor, so I usually use 3 tablespoons, but if you’d like a milder mushroom, try two instead.

Photo by James Ransom

Once you make the slices, you can store them in a mason jar (or another airtight container) in the fridge, waiting to break them out as needed. An added bonus? The mushrooms will also work as a handy vegan substitute for bacon (so you may want to throw a bunch in your next tofu scramble).

Vegan Mushroom "Jerky" (Slow-Roasted Mushroom Strips)

Vegan Mushroom "Jerky" (Slow-Roasted Mushroom Strips)

Gena Hamshaw Gena Hamshaw
Makes 4 cups
  • 2 tablespoons low-sodium tamari, more to taste
  • 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground chili powder
  • 4 large or medium portobello mushroom caps, sliced into strips about 1/4-inch thick
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Automagic Spring Menu Maker!
Automagic Spring Menu Maker!

Tags: Mushroom, Vegetarian, Vegan