When I became a vegetarian 20-some-odd years ago, there were two things I really missed. The first was beef stroganoff. And the second was beef jerky. This Tofu Jerky is my attempt at making my own vegetarian version of jerky.
I’ve since made my own excellent vegetarian stroganoff using mushrooms instead of beef, and I don’t miss the beef at all.
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Black Pepper Tofu Jerky
The second thing I missed was beef jerky. I know, these are kind of weird things to miss. Kind of low-brow foods. But, they were two things that I loved and they were pretty hard to come by in vegetarian versions.
Store-bought vegetarian jerky
Fast forward many years, and I still crave beef jerky. But, now I’ve found a great veg version called iGreen Soybeef Jerky. It’s a bit tough and chewy, but you get a nice jaw workout from chewing on it.
There are some other brands that are good as well, and especially since it seems to be difficult to find that brand anymore.
The iGreen packaging is a little annoying, as it’s a huge mess of jerky all stuck together inside one bag (definitely not for eating and driving). And, there’s an international store not too far from me that sells it.
Now, I really like the flavor of this purchased jerky stuff, but I’m sure it isn’t all natural stuff that I could grow and make into my own jerky.
So, as I was noshing on a bag-full the other day, it occurred to me that I might be able to make some on my own vegetarian jerky. So, I went to Google to answer that question.
And, I found tons of posts for this vegetarian jerky recipe.
The tofu in the marinade ready to go in the ‘fridge for a few hours
Easy to make vegetarian jerky
This Tofu Jerky isn’t as tough and chewy as the store-bought stuff.
And, this dehydrated tofu jerky has a little less flavor than the store-bought stuff. But, it was really easy – basically you just do a little mixing and lots of waiting.
Veggie jerky lasts pretty much indefinitely.
You could also call this vegetarian bacon and serve it at the breakfast table. In the interest of full disclosure, I don’t think anyone would be fooled into thinking it’s bacon or even jerky. This DIY jerky isn’t the same as the store bought; it just isn’t. But, it was pretty good. And, fun to try.
Make it vegan
To make this a vegan jerky recipe, simply use maple syrup instead of honey. Otherwise, all of the ingredients are vegan.
This piece of jerky needs to be cooked for a bit longer, note the white part in the center
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Tofu Jerky Recipe
- 1 pound extra firm tofu
- 1 tablespoon onion powder
- 1 tablespoon fresh ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder or 1 clove crushed fresh garlic
- 1 teaspoon honey or maple syrup
- ½ cup low-sodium soy sauce
- ¼ cup water or dark beer
- 3 tablespoons liquid smoke
- Drain the tofu, and slice it into long strips on its short side. Strips should be about 4 to 5 millimeters in thickness.
- Mix remaining marinade ingredients together. Place the tofu in a single layer in a shallow 13×9-inch baking pan or a rimmed cookie sheet and pour the marinade over the top of the tofu. Let soak for 4 to 6 hours or overnight.
- Drain excess liquid (it may be reused) and dry tofu in food dehydrator or 200° F oven. This will take 4 to 8 hours. Flip the tofu over hourly so it dries evenly. Dry the jerky until it is very chewy and all the white areas have disappeared.
Nutritional information is based on third-party calculations, and should be considered estimates. Actual nutritional content will vary based on brands used, measuring methods, portion sizes, and more.