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.
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.
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). —Gena Hamshaw
low-sodium tamari, more to taste
apple cider vinegar
extra-virgin olive oil
ground chili powder
large or medium portobello mushroom caps, sliced into strips about 1/4-inch thick
Whisk together the tamari, vinegar, syrup, olive oil, paprika, and chili. Transfer to a rectangular, airtight container and add the mushroom slices. Marinate them for 8 hours, or overnight.
Preheat your oven to 250° F and line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Arrange the mushroom slices on the sheets. Bake for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, or until the pieces have shrunken, browned slightly, and dried out. They should have a chewy texture. Flip slices at the 1 hour mark.
Allow the slices to cool completely before transferring them to an airtight container. Stored in the fridge, the jerky will keep for up to 1 week.
Gena is a registered dietitian, recipe developer, and food blogger. She's the author of three cookbooks, including Power Plates (2017) and Food52 Vegan (2015). She enjoys cooking vegetables, making bread, and challenging herself with vegan baking projects.