Our Top Picks For the Best Vegan Jerky

Larissa loves jerky, so when we became vegetarians in 2013, the quest to find good vegan jerky brands was on! We wanted to find jerky that contained zero animal products but still had all of the flavor and chewiness in one of her favorite snacks. 

In this article, we’ll explore the benefits of vegan jerky, share reviews of popular brands, provide some creative ways to enjoy vegan jerky, and share five recipes. Whether you’re a long-time vegetarian or just curious, you’ll find plenty of great info here to satisfy your snack cravings!

In a hurry and just want our top 3 picks? Here they are! Read on for our full list of 10 of the best brands.

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Health Benefits of Vegan Jerky

Before we get into our top brands, let’s explore why vegan jerky is a healthier choice than traditional beef (or other animal) jerky. 

  • High in protein  “But where do you get your protein?” We’ve all heard that question, right? Vegan jerky is a fantastic source of plant-based protein, making it an excellent snack for those looking to increase their protein intake without getting the saturated fat and cholesterol that comes with traditional beef jerky. 

Brands like Louisville Vegan Jerky Co. use soy protein, which provides all the essential amino acids your body needs. This makes vegan jerky a great option for vegans and vegetarians (or anyone else seeking a high-protein snack).

  • Low in fat and calories  Unlike traditional beef jerky, vegan jerky is often low in fat and calories, which can be beneficial for those managing their weight or looking to maintain a healthy diet. Using simple plant-based ingredients like soy curls or mushrooms, vegan jerky offers a delicious snack without the excess fat found in animal-based foods.
  • Rich in fiber and essential nutrients  Plant-based jerky is not only high in protein but is also rich in fiber, which aids in digestion and helps keep you feeling full longer. Additionally, vegan jerky is packed with essential nutrients like iron, magnesium, and B vitamins, ensuring you get a nutritious snack. Varieties like Applewood BBQ Mushroom Jerky and Giorgio Savory Wild Vegan Portabella Mushroom Jerky are excellent examples of flavorful and nutritious options.

These health benefits make vegan jerky a smart choice for health-conscious individuals. 

Best Vegan Jerky Brands You Can Buy

1. Primal Spirit Foods

Taste: ★★★★☆
Texture: ★★★★☆
Primal Spirit Foods offers delicious flavors like Hickory Smoked and Teriyaki. Their jerky has a great balance of taste and texture, making it a popular choice.

2. Louisville Vegan Jerky Co.

Taste: ★★★★★
Texture: ★★★★☆
Louisville Vegan Jerky Co. is a top choice for many, offering a wide variety of flavors like Maple Bacon and Spicy General Tso’s. Their jerky has a bold, savory taste with a satisfying chew.

3. Noble Jerky

Taste: ★★★★☆
Texture: ★★★★☆
Noble Jerky provides a variety of flavorful options, including Chipotle and Sweet BBQ. Their jerky is known for its tender bite and robust flavors.

4. Unisoy Vegan Jerky

Taste: ★★★★☆
Texture: ★★★★☆

Unisoy Vegan Jerky is a popular choice among plant-based snack enthusiasts, offering a variety of flavors like Black Pepper, Mild Spicy, and Teriyaki. 

5. It’s Jerky Ya’ll Plant-Based Vegan Jerky

Taste: ★★★★☆
Texture: ★★★★☆
It’s Jerky Ya’ll offers a range of unique flavors including Prickly Pear Chipotle and Black Pepper with Sea Salt. 

6. Giorgio Savory Wild Premium Mushroom Jerky

Taste: ★★★★☆
Texture: ★★★☆☆
Giorgio’s Premium Mushroom Jerky delivers a unique twist with its mushroom base. The taste is rich and earthy, although the texture is typically softer than that of soy-based jerky.

7. Unlimeat Jerky

Taste: ★★★★☆
Texture: ★★★★☆
Unlimeat offers flavors like Korean BBQ and Smoky Chili. Their jerky pieces are flavorful and have a satisfying chew.

8. Pan’s Mushroom Jerky

Taste: ★★★☆☆
Texture: ★★★☆☆
Pan’s Mushroom Jerky is a favorite for those who enjoy a tender mushroom texture. The flavors are unique and earthy, offering a different yet delicious jerky experience.

9. BeLeaf – Meatless Vegan Jerky

Taste: ★★★★☆
Texture: ★★★☆☆
BeLeaf offers a variety of flavors with a focus on delivering a chewy texture. Their jerky is well-seasoned and perfect for snacking on the go.

10. Moku Foods Mushroom Jerky

Taste: ★★★☆☆
Texture: ★★★☆☆
Moku Foods provides a plant-based jerky made from mushrooms, featuring flavors like Hawaiian Teriyaki. The texture is tender, and the taste is pleasantly sweet and savory.

These top 10 vegan jerky brands offer a range of delicious and satisfying options. Whether you’re after a meaty texture or a unique mushroom bite, there’s something here to suit every palate!

Tips for Enjoying Vegan Jerky

Perfect for on-the-go snacking

Vegan jerky is an ideal snack for those with busy lifestyles. Here’s why:

Easy to pack for trips  Whether you’re heading out for a day trip, weekend getaway, or long road trip, vegan jerky is compact and easy to pack. It doesn’t require refrigeration, making it a convenient option for travel.

Great for hiking and other outdoor activities  Vegan jerky is lightweight and provides a quick energy boost, making it perfect for hiking, kayaking, or any outdoor adventure. Its high protein content helps keep you fueled and satisfied during physical activities.

Pairing Suggestions

Vegan jerky is not just for solo snacking; it can be paired with other foods to enhance your snacking experience:

Pair with fruit and nuts  Combine your favorite vegan jerky with a mix of fruits and nuts for a balanced and nutritious snack. The sweetness of fruits like apples or dried cranberries complements the savory flavors of the jerky, while nuts add extra protein and healthy fats.

Add to salads or sandwiches  Chop up vegan jerky and toss it into a salad for added texture and flavor. It can also be a great addition to sandwiches, providing a chewy, savory element that pairs well with fresh vegetables and spreads.

Include in a vegan charcuterie board  Elevate your charcuterie board by adding vegan jerky to the mix. It pairs wonderfully with an assortment of vegan cheeses, olives, pickles, and crackers. The chewy texture and savory taste of vegan jerky add a unique element to the board, making it a delightful centerpiece for parties or gatherings. 

These tips will help you enjoy vegan beef jerky in a variety of ways, whether you’re on the go or looking to enhance your meals. It’s a versatile, delicious, and nutritious snack that fits seamlessly into any lifestyle!

5 of The Best Vegan Jerky Recipes You Can Make at Home

Adventurous in the kitchen? Why not try making jerky at home, where you control all of the ingredients! Here are 5 recipes for homemade vegan jerky.

1. Eric’s Original Vegan Jerky

(From Sarah’s Vegan Kitchen)

This recipe offers a classic flavor and chewy texture, perfect for snacking.

2. Easy Mushroom Jerky

(From Hassle Free Vegan)

This recipe provides an earthy flavor and a unique texture, ideal for mushroom lovers.

3. Vegan Jerky

(From The Hidden Veggies)

This recipe offers a smoky flavor with a slightly spicy kick.

4. Epic Vegan Jerky

(From Vegan Blueberry)

This recipe is perfect for those who enjoy a spicy, smoky flavor.

5. Smoky Soy Curls (Air Fryer)

(From Well+Good)

This method is quick and provides a smoky, robust flavor.

These recipes offer a variety of flavors and textures, ensuring there’s something for every taste preference. Enjoy experimenting with these delicious vegan jerky options!

FAQ

1. What is vegan jerky made of?

Vegan jerky is typically made from plant-based proteins such as soy curls, seitan, mushrooms, or jackfruit. These ingredients are marinated in flavorful sauces and spices to mimic the taste and texture of traditional beef jerky.

2. How does the taste of vegan jerky compare to traditional beef jerky?

Vegan jerky can closely mimic the savory, smoky flavors of traditional beef jerky. Brands like Louisville Vegan Jerky Co. and Beyond Meat Jerky use ingredients like liquid smoke and various spices to achieve a similar taste profile. While the texture may vary slightly, many find vegan jerky to be just as satisfying.

3. Can I make vegan jerky without a dehydrator?

Yes, you can make vegan jerky without a dehydrator. An oven set to a low temperature (around 200°F or 93°C) works well. Simply marinate your plant-based protein, lay it out on a baking sheet, and bake until it reaches your desired texture. This usually takes about 2-4 hours, depending on the thickness of the pieces.

4. Is vegan jerky gluten-free?

Many vegan jerky brands offer gluten-free options. For example, brands like Primal Spirit Foods and Louisville Jerky use gluten-free ingredients in some of their products. Always check the packaging for gluten-free labels if you have dietary restrictions.

5. How should I store vegan jerky to keep it fresh?

To keep vegan jerky fresh, store it in an airtight container or resealable bag. It’s best kept in a cool, dry place. If you make homemade vegan jerky, you can also refrigerate it to extend its shelf life. Properly stored, vegan jerky can last several weeks.

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