Beef-less Jerky

There was never beef jerky in my house when I was growing up. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever tasted beef jerky.

So why was I so curious to try this recipe?

It’s amazing how a food dehydrator can kindle the experimental spirit.

My version looks nothing like the original. In fact, it’s definitely far uglier. But I’m sure it tastes the same – as what I ended up with was a chewy, flavourful, bold and smoky snack.

Don’t be intimidated by the long list of ingredients. It’s mostly spices, and you can leave some of them out if they’re not your thing. The one spice I’d reduce next time is the dried fennel, as it stood out a little too much for my liking.

No dehydrator? No problem. There’s also instructions below for baking these in the oven.

Are you a beef jerky fan? What makes it so compelling?

Beef-less Jerky
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free
Recipe type: Snack
Serves: 8
  • 1 medium beet, peeled and cut in chunks
  • 1 large carrot, cut in chunks
  • ½ small onion, cut in chunks
  • 1 large clove garlic
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp Bragg’s, tamari or soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp finely ground flax seeds
  • ½ tsp apple cider vinegar
  • ¼ tsp liquid smoke (optional)
  • 2 tbsp gluten-free rolled oats
  • ¼ tsp onion powder
  • ¼ tsp dried fennel
  • ¼ tsp dried mustard
  • ½ tsp dried sage
  • ¼ tsp paprika (or smoked paprika, if you don’t use liquid smoke)
  • ¼ tsp sea salt, or less, to your taste
  1. Place all ingredients in the bowl of a food processor and process until very smooth. It will take some time, about 5 minutes, and you will have to scrape the sides several times, but eventually the veggies will release their juices and it will come together in a paste.
  2. If using a dehydrator, spread in a 9 x 9 square on a Teflex sheet and dehydrate at 105 degrees until dry.
  3. If using an oven, line a 9 x 9-inch pan with parchment paper, then spread the paste over the parchment. Bake at 375 degrees F for 30-35 minutes, or until the top is dry. Remove from oven and lower heat to 325 degrees F.
  4. Invert a wooden (or other heatproof) cutting board over the pan and flip the jerky and parchment onto it. Peel off the parchment and cut the square into strips about one inch wide. Place them on a parchment-lined cookie sheet and return to the oven for about 30 more minutes, until the strips are dried out but still flexible.
  5. If some of the strips dry out faster than others, remove those first and allow the rest to keep baking until they all reach the desired texture. Cool completely before eating. Store, covered in the refrigerator, up to three days. Makes about 8 strips.


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10 Responses to Beef-less Jerky

  1. Brenda Jones July 28, 2011 at 4:34 pm #

    For me this posting is like reading about delicious tofu-dogs/veggie-dogs. Both beef jerky and hot-dogs are disgusting to me, so eating an artificial version really doesn’t appeal to me either. I only tried a sample of beef jerky a few weeks ago, and didn’t care for it. Sorry…

    • Sondi Bruner July 28, 2011 at 4:42 pm #

      Tell me how you really feel! lol This recipe could taste nothing like beef jerky, I really have no idea what it tastes like or what’s in it. The fake meat products are very popular, as most vegetarians are ex-meat eaters and they’d like something similar to what they used to have. My issue with them is they have a ton of processed, synthetic ingredients that aren’t that great for you. But homemade versions like this with lots of veggies and spices are fine by me.

  2. India-leigh@aveganobsession July 29, 2011 at 1:25 am #

    well, I like to chew something savoury (are yours chewy?)..i imagine it’s good for my jaw or something and it gets me to slow down my eating…I nearly didn’t open your post because I immediately thought ‘dehydrator’ and then got sad that I don’t currently have one..but I can make it in the oven?! and in only 30 mins not for a week or how ever ridiculously long some recipes call for to subsititute for lack of dehydrating equip! Fab…on my list of ‘to try’. Thanks Sondi!

    • Sondi Bruner July 29, 2011 at 5:59 am #

      Mine were chewy, but not extremely chewy. I think the oven method may make them more chewy. Hope this recipe works out for you!

  3. J3nn (Jenn's Menu and Lifestyle Blog) August 5, 2011 at 1:14 pm #

    I love that this recipe doesn’t use seitan (gluten-free)! I’m excited to try this. Yes, I do like jerky–a lot–but have never had a veggie one. This looks awesome, I’m going to try it. :)

  4. Jeffie August 6, 2011 at 8:14 am #

    Ahhh, “beet”-jerky. You’re a genius.

  5. John from Colorado August 6, 2011 at 9:54 am #

    Sondi are you out of your mind there is no way this stuff tastes like jerky not even close. You should try real smoked jerky and mabye you will understand why we crave the chewy, salty, smoky flavor.
    It’s not all about meat.

    • Sondi Bruner August 6, 2011 at 12:54 pm #

      I have no idea what jerky tastes like, as I said. But if it has the same flavours as jerky, why wouldn’t it taste similar to a jerky made with meat?

  6. Ricki August 6, 2011 at 11:22 am #

    I’m tickled that you went to the trouble of making this recipe! Thanks so much for giving it a try and posting about it. I have only the vaguest recollection of the “real” stuff, but I can tell you that I enjoyed this one much, much more. It’s not meant to be “meat” but more, as you say, a chewy, smoky, spicy, savory snack. Now that you’ve reminded me of it, I think I need to make another batch! 😀

    • Sondi Bruner August 6, 2011 at 12:53 pm #

      I think I might try it again to see if I can get the consistency to be more like yours. Might need the oven for this one.