Eggplant Jerky – it might not taste just like jerky, but it is a healthy and delicious snack! The eggplant’s shiny purple skin beckons, so before I know it, I put it in my grocery cart. I buy at the farmers’ market or take from the surplus of a neighbor’s garden. Then the eggplant was in all its regal splendor in my fridge, waiting to be eaten somehow.
Eggplant in our kitchen
The number of things modern chefs can do with vegetables is growing, and they are coming up with new ways to make eating vegetables exciting and desirable. They managed to make an eggplant jerky this time, so it’s great to turn it on when you have jerky. Paleo is a balanced consumption of meat with vegetables, making beef jerky and eggplant jerky snacks reasonably flat. They offer two different ways to make them, one for those who have a dehydrator and the other for those who don’t.
If you want a taste of jerky but need a serving of vegetables instead of a serving of meat, this eggplant jerky is for you. They say the eggplant takes on the texture of bacon, and with the addition of the smoked apple salt, it actually takes on the character of bacon. There is nothing wrong with the bacon in the paleo diet, but here we only stick to vegetables, and no bacon is used in the recipe. Using maple syrup adds to the sweetness of the mixture and also adds respect to the bacon.
If you don’t have a food dehydrator, you can dry the eggplant on the lowest setting in the oven; this recipe has instructions for both methods.
You can use regular salt as salt and smoked apple salt for flavoring.
Eggplant Jerky (Vegan)
- Food Dehydrator
- 1 pound large eggplant
- ½ cup olive oil
- 4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
- ½ teaspoon paprika
- Regular or applewood-smoked salt
- Wash eggplant and slice into thin strips. For ease in snacking, you can cut long strips in half crosswise. Leave full-length for a more bacon-like appearance.
- In a large bowl, whisk together oil, vinegar, maple syrup, and paprika. Place strips in the mixture a few times, turning to make sure each is completely coated. If you run short of marinade, add a little more oil and stir it in with your hands.
- Marinate for 2 hours. Then, place strips on a baking sheet food dehydrator.
- To dry in a food dehydrator: Lay strips on mesh trays. While you do this, place a tray fitted with a solid sheet underneath the mesh tray to catch any drips. Strips should be close but not overlapping. Sprinkle on a little salt (again, you don’t need much). Place trays in the dehydrator. Dehydrate at 115°F for 12 to 18 hours or until dry and fairly crisp.