Gluten Free Living Food Low Calorie Neutral Paleo Recipes Vegan Vegetarian

Bacon Eggplant Jerky – Paleo, Vegan, & Gluten Free

eggplant jerky recipe

You can find various recipes for eggplant jerky all over the Internet. I don’t claim to have invented this one, but I do believe that I’ve worked to make it as simple and tasty as possible while giving you easy ways to alter it according to your own diet or taste preferences. There are so many ways you can change up this recipe within a certain framework that will still  end up with the chewiness of jerky and tasting like bacon.

Start with an eggplant that has a smooth and shiny skin. While I don’t like to remove the peel, its so full of nutrition and honestly, its one more step to get to the end result, but I do prefer this without the skin. My compromise is to slice it so that not every piece has skin attached to it. In the end the few pieces which were mostly all skin were the crispiest.

I tried to use a mandoline, as well as a food processor to slice it but that was a complete fail – a combination of the tough skin and the sponginess of the flesh. I tried peeling it and running it across the mandoline but the spongy flesh still fouled up the process, so out came my favorite chef’s knife and my bamboo cutting board and three minutes later I had a pile of bacon shaped pieces of eggplant. Well really you wouldn’t have thought they looked like bacon at this point, but since I knew where I was going with this, it was already starting to look like bacon to me. Do you think that positive thinking helps in the kitchen?  I do. I’ve noticed that when I’m feeling less than confident or unexcited about a new recipe it often turns out badly.

In the interest of making the recipe as simple as possible I used a Tandori spice mixture which has paprika, garlic, and salt. You can use any spice mixture which has a paprika base. I used garlic flavored olive oil, but you can of course use plain olive oil, just be sure it’s extra-virgin. Your taste buds will thank you. And I used balsamic vinegar because I love the rich flavor, but you can use apple cider vinegar if you prefer. I didn’t use black pepper but if you want to add some be sure it’s freshly ground.

I like my version of the marinade because you don’t get a lot of runoff like many of the recipes I found on the Internet. You don’t get oil dripping off into your dehydrator and you don’t have to use towels to sop up the oil after dehydrating them. Still I think my recipe would be better with a little more oil. Flavor-wise, it won’t matter much, but it will help the jerky to be a little less dry.

All of the recipes tell you to mix up the marinade, pour it over the eggplant, and stir to coat. That really doesn’t work very well when you’re working with what is basically a vegetable sponge. The first few slices soak up all the marinade and then you have to press on them to release enough marinade to coat the other slices which still don’t get evenly coated with the marinadde. So I covered the bottom of my bowl with a thin layer of marinade. Placed half the eggplant slices in the bowl, drizzled with half the marinade, added the rest of the eggplant, the rest of the marinade and tossed to coat.

I dehydrated my first batch for 12 hours and while I liked the end result, there were a few pieces which weren’t as dry which I liked even more. So my next batch will go for maybe 8 hours.

Ingredients

2 large eggplant

1/2 cup coconut aminoes, or low sodium soy sauce

1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon Tandori or Cajun spice mixture

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

1/2 to 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, optional

Instructions

Trim the bottom and top from the eggplant. Discard.

Slice the eggplant into 1/4-inch thick rounds. Stack 4 or 5 rounds and slice into strips.

Place all marinade ingredients in a small jar. Cover and shake well.  Coat the bottom of a large bowl with marinade. Working quickly, place half the eggplant in the bowl, drizzle with half the marinade, the remaining eggplant and then the remaining marinade. Toss to combine. Place in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours but you can leave it there all day or overnight.

Place strips on dehydrator trays being careful not to overlap the slices. Depending on your dehydrator you should have 5 to 6 trays. Dehydrate at 115 degrees for 8 to 12 hours. Take a few pieces out after 6 hours. Let them cool down and see if you like the consistency. If you do then stop the process. If you don’t then let them go for another hour or two and check them again.

And there you have it – your basic recipe for eggplant jerky. The next time I make it I’m going to make the following tweaks to see if I get an even better result:

1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons coconut aminoes, or low sodium soy sauce

1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon Tandori or Cajun spice mixture

1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

1/4 cup pure maple syrup

I’m sort of resisting adding the maple syrup because I don’t like to add sugar when it isn’t really needed, but I want to see what happens to this jerky with the addition of the rich amber flavor. I’m also going to use 1 eggplant and 2 medium zucchini. I don’t see why zucchini wouldn’t work and then the tough skin wouldn’t be an issue and it can be easily sliced on the mandoline.

I’ll update this post after trying out the new version. Happy eating!

About admin

I've always abhorred the idea that the only way to lose weight is to starve yourself, eat foods that are foreign to you, or gulp down special weight loss potions. I've proved that it is not only possible, but it's easy and fun to lose weight The UnDiet way. The UnDiet is extremely flexible, allowing you to make deviations based on your personal taste, the choices confronting you at any given time, your mood, your cooking skills and the time you have available. A gourmet cook can be happy with The UnDiet as well as those who don't know or care what saute means. You can eat out at restaurants and parties and still not fall off The UnDiet. You can eat olive oil, butter, cream, meat, mayonnaise and still not fall off The UnDiet. You can eat until you're full and still lose weight, once you've mastered the basic principles of The UnDiet. So dig in to this blog, subscribe to the newsletter for lots of extras not published on the blog and get ready for the Kindle book coming soon.

We want to hear from you :)