Meat is still the world’s primary source of protein. The trend toward a vegan diet is, however, disrupting the multibillion-dollar meat industry. As people look for more plant-based meat, the consumption of vegan jerky is on the rise. In fact, it is one of the fast-growing vegan snacks on the market. The perfect on-the-go snack, vegan jerky provides a rich protein alternative to regular jerky. However, is it for you?
Is Vegan Jerky Better?
Traditional jerky is made from dried animal meat packed with sugar and salt to keep it from spoiling. With the rising demand for vegan meat alternatives, meatless jerky has become popular among both vegans and people who are trying a healthier option. So if it’s not meat, then what is it? Vegan jerky uses meat alternatives like soy, seitan (wheat gluten), and mushrooms. Combined with the right flavors and spices, these alternatives have a similar taste and texture to the ‘real’ thing. Many of the vegan brands use only clean ingredients; are free of GMOs; have less sugar; and have no additives like MSG, nitrates, and saturated fat. And with a similar amount of protein but fewer calories, vegan meat snacks become healthy alternatives for regular jerky.
Innovative Variation and Unique Flavors Please Even the Non-Vegan
If you think vegan jerky will be tasteless, or worse, tastes like dried vegetables, you are sorely wrong. Today’s recipe creations satisfy even the most discerning foodie. With flavors like bourbon-smoked black pepper, Sriracha maple, and sesame teriyaki, this plant-based meat doesn’t deprive you from the real taste. Alternatives like mushrooms and soy can also give you a satisfying aroma when the right amount and combination of flavors are added. If you’re a foodie with a sweet tooth, you can indulge in the innovative flavor of Mighty Bee’s coconut jerky. They also bring flavors like chocolate, hazelnut, and Nutella. If you’re craving something tasty with intense flavor, try eggplant jerky in BBQ flavor, a plant-based meat from Power Plant.
Plant-Based Jerky: Try These Healthy and Guilt-Free Options
Do you want to see if the vegan jerky trend is for you? Here’s a list of guilt-free plant-based meat snacks. These options are produced naturally, mostly handmade from preparation to packing.
1. Louisville Vegan Jerky – $36 (pack of 5)
This hand-seasoned jerky is filled with clean ingredients and spices. Each chewy and delicious variety comes with a taste of Louisville home-cooked food.
2. Buffalo Dill Limited Edition Jerky by Louisville Vegan Jerky Co. – $7 per bag
Another innovative flavor from Louisville Vegan Jerky, Buffalo is also handmade and produced in small portions, making it a limited edition. Grab your bag now.
3. Pan’s Vegetarian Mushroom Jerky – $7 per bag.
Mushrooms give this jerky a unique texture, but its meaty flavor doesn’t disappoint. Sprinkled with brown sugar and spices, this plant-based meat is a definite taste bud trigger to try.
4. Lightlife Meatless Smart Jerky – $25 (pack of 4)
It’s thicker than regular jerky but does not get leathery when you chew on a piece. It has milder flavor for foodies who are not fond of salty snacks. It also comes in original teriyaki flavor.
5. Primal Strips – $30 (24-pack)
It comes in four flavors–teriyaki, mesquite lime, Texas BBQ, and hickory smoked. Each variant has a different texture and are made from mushrooms, seitan, and soy.
6. Stonewall Jerquee – $24 (pack of 9)
This unique vegan meat jerky comes in the form of little nuggets. It’s very dry and chewy and comes in several flavors like hot pastrami, Tandoori chicken, and peppy pepperoni.
7. Sam’s Harvest Jerky – $24 (pack of 4)
For those who are looking for vegan meat alternatives, this is the closest to a meat-based jerky when it comes to texture. Its ‘soy curls’ give the meaty and chewy texture you’ll love.
8. Vegan Dream Jerky – $24 (pack of 8)
Each pack contains super thin jerky that looks like leather. Vegan Dream Jerky is popular for its hickory pepper flavor. Although very flat, this jerky is a chewy challenge with satisfying beefy taste.
9. May Wah Vegan Jerky – $4 per bag
It’s closely similar to Primal Strips, although a little bit cheaper as it comes in bag for $4 unlike Primal Strip that costs $1.75 per strip. It’s moist and a little bit sticky, making it easier to chew.
10. Hung Yang Foods Curry Jerky Shreds – $5
If you love curry, then you have to try these jerky ‘”shreds” made from flavored soy and wheat protein. They are salty and sweet at the same time, making them ideal for ramen or any noodle flavoring.
11. Watermelon Road Eggplant Jerky – $9
Made with dried eggplant well-seasoned with dried fruits—watermelon and pineapple. Some mint, smoked sea salt, and vinegar are added for aroma and tastefulness.
12. Mighty Bee Coconut Jerky – $34 for a pack of 12
Pack your daily dose of fiber with this coconut jerky lightly sweetened with dates. Mighty Bee also makes a chocolate and hazelnut jerky.
13. Cocoburg Coconut Jerky – $7.87
Cocoburg’s coconut jerky gives you the tropical vibe in every chew. It’s made from coconut meat seasoned with special flavoring. It has a coconut-y fruity taste but is not too sweet.
14. Unisoy Jerky – $21 for a pack of 3
Unisoy Vegan Jerky Mild Spicy will trigger your taste buds for flavor. Savor the Szechuan flavor and satisfy your spicy pallet with its crushed red pepper and chili powder.
15. Power Plant Jerky – $6.50
Their eggplant jerky in BBQ and sweet sriracha flavors are many vegans’ favorite. Power Plant boasts that its plant-based meat are all vegan—gluten-free, soy-free, and only organic eggplants are used as ingredients.
16. Kelp Jerky – $3.99 for 1.5 ounces
It’s made from locally harvested kelp, a type of seaweed. It’s high in protein and other nutrients, making it a super food for vegans. It’s GMO-free, egg-free, soy-free, and gluten-free.
17. Soybean Jerky – $2.17
Soy is one of the staple vegan meat alternatives of many vegan jerky. This is a good source of protein and minerals for energy and muscles. One of the famous soybean jerkies is Sweet Japan’s Soy Jerky.