Is Jerky a Vegan Food?

Traditionally made with beef, jerky has come a long way from its meaty days! Vegan jerky is made from a range of delicious meat alternatives including soy, seitan, mushroom, and even fruit, each boasting its own unique vitamin and flavor profiles. Nowadays you’ll find there are loads of flavor-bursting vegan jerky options to choose from when you buy vegan jerky online - right here at PlantX. 

What is vegan jerky made from?

The fun thing about vegan jerky is the fascinating range of different plant-based ingredients it can be made from! Unlike meat jerky which is usually limited to just beef or pork, vegan jerky can be made from an almost endless list of plant-based foods. Let’s take a closer look at some of the most common meat substitutes used for vegan jerky out there:

Vegan Jerky made from Soy Protein

A great source of protein and fiber, there’s a reason soy is a super common meat substitute in the vegan world. As a complete protein, it contains all nine essential amino acids and is high in B vitamins, zinc, and iron. And unlike meat jerky, it contains no cholesterol. Simply genius! 

In addition to its superior nutritional profile, soy protein is also favored for its realistic meaty texture, resulting in vegan jerky that pulls and tears apart in a wholly satisfying way. Its neutral taste also makes it an ideal canvas for inventive flavors.

Many vegan soy jerkies are also certified non-GMO. For two non-GMO soy jerky options in mouthwatering flavors, check out the Mexican-inspired Unisoy - Vegan Carne Asada Jerky and the spicy Louisville Vegan Jerky - Perfect Pepperoni!

Vegan Jerky made from Seitan

Known alternatively as “wheat-meat”, seitan is a vegan meat substitute common in many Asian cuisines. It is made out of vital wheat gluten, a high-protein flour made purely from gluten. Though you’ll be forgiven for thinking seitan is therefore high in carbohydrates, it’s actually a high protein, low-carb option! 

This is because it is made purely from gluten which is high in protein, making it a great option for any vegans looking to reduce their carbohydrate intake. However, if you have sensitivity to gluten, this is not the vegan jerky for you. 

Seitan has a meaty bite to it and a perfectly chewy texture, making it work fantastically well as a plant-based jerky - you won’t be able to tell the difference! If you want to give this protein-packed treat a go, try the tantalizing Primal Strips - Jerky Strips - Seitan Thai Peanut - a juicy vegan jerky with perfectly balanced flavors taking you straight to Thailand!

Vegan Jerky made from Mushroom

Rich in nutrients, mushrooms are a healthy plant-based option for vegan jerky. Mushrooms are rich in B vitamins, Vitamin D, niacin, and pantothenic acid. They are also high in antioxidants and a great source of fiber. 

Mushroom’s natural earthy, umami flavor and fibrous chewy texture make it an ideal natural substitute for meat in plant-based jerky. Mushroom jerky is also a great option for those who need to avoid soy or gluten. 

Brands such as Eat the Change offer mushroom jerky which is gluten-free, soy-free, and non-GMO, such as their Habanero BBQ Mushroom Jerky. Or if you fancy your Mushroom Jerky in a range of tantalizing flavors, including Zesty Thai and Applewood BBQ, you’ll want to try Pan’s Mushroom Jerky. It’s made from organic Shiitake mushrooms and the rich flavors will take you straight to vegan jerky heaven.

Vegan Jerky made from Fruit

For a different, sweeter kind of vegan jerky, you want to opt for one of the many types of fruit-based vegan jerkies out there. Various fruits lend themselves well to be made into jerky, including pineapple, coconut, and mango

Plant-based jerky made from fruit have diverse nutritional benefits depending on which fruit they are made from. Just keep in mind that they are often slightly higher in carbohydrates and natural sugars, compared to the soy and seitan jerkies. Fruit jerky such Solely - Organic Fruit Jerky contains many naturally occurring vitamins and minerals and can be an easy way to get one of your five a day

Health Benefits of Vegan Jerky

One of the main advantages of vegan jerky over meat jerky is that it’s low in cholesterol and saturated fats. Vegan jerky made from soy or seitan is still high in protein, making it a filling and nutritious snack for not only vegans, but everyone! A soy-based jerky can be the perfect snack choice if you are following a lean diet, as one serving usually contains about 90 calories and up to 7 grams of protein! 

Jerky made from mushroom or fruit will be lower in protein but have a range of vitamins and minerals. They’re also packed with fiber which will help keep your gut happy and healthy. These are perfect if you’re looking for fuel for a hike, since these vegan jerkies are slightly higher in carbohydrates which will help you power through your day. 

If you’re browsing to buy vegan jerky, remember to check the nutritional information for each pack so you can get the vegan jerky that best suits your lifestyle and nutritional needs. We promise you, there’s a vegan jerky for everyone! 

Top Vegan Jerky to Try

Primal Strips - Jerky Strips - Seitan Teriyaki

Indulge in this protein-packed snack from Primal Strips. These vegan jerky strips are made with seitan and have the slightly sweet Teriyaki flavor we all love so much. It’s a juicy and tender plant-based jerky that ticks all the boxes. It is non-GMO and only uses natural vegan spices. Perfect on the go or if you’re looking for a savory nutritious snack to enjoy at home.

Primal Strips - Jerky Strips - Soya Hickory Smoke

Try this protein-packed bad boy of a snack from Primal Strips. These chewy vegan jerky strips are made with soy and flavored with Hickory Smoke. It’s a juicy and delicious snack that will satisfy all your smokey cravings without any of the meat. Simply perfect with a cold beer, while preparing the barbecue, or on a camping trip. This vegan jerky will take your snack time to new smoky heights! 

Eat the Change - Habanero BBQ Mushroom Jerky

This savory snack is made from organic Crimini and Portobello mushrooms and celebrates the incredible range of ingredients the plant-based kitchen has to offer. This organic vegan jerky combines sweetness, saltiness, spiciness, and smokiness in a brilliant way. The earthy mushroom flavor is beautifully accompanied by habanero and barbecue flavor, with notes of tamarind, pineapple and agave. The result is a spicy and tantalizing vegan jerky with extra heat.

Eat the Change - Sea Salt & Cracked Pepper Mushroom Jerky

This vegan jerky is bold and zesty. It’s made from organic Crimini and Portobello mushrooms and flavored with coarsely ground sea salt, cracked pepper and a hint of cumin. It’s a stripped-back but genius combination that takes this jerky to a whole new level. Due to its beautiful simplicity, this vegan jerky goes well with most drinks and makes the perfect on-the-go snack. Last but not least, it’s 100% organic! 

BeLeaf - Meatless Vegan Jerky

BeLeaf’s Jerky are packed with protein, low in carbs and bursting with flavor from herbs and spices. In addition, they are 100% free from GMO and trans fat. BeLeaf’s Meatless Jerky is made from textured soy protein and comes in five showstopping flavors: Original, Spicy, Jalapeno, Wasabi and Thai Hot & Sour. Shop a selection and have a vegan jerky ready for every mood! 

Vegan Jerky Recipes

Take your wraps to the next level of plant-based goodness by adding vegan jerky! Make every bite chewy and bursting with flavor by adding any x to our Crunchy Salad Wrap recipe. It’s a great way to get some extra protein alongside all the vitamin-packed crunchy veggies. Or you can take our Vegan Shawarma Tofu Pita Wrap recipe to a new dimension by swapping the tofu with a flavorful jerky like Primal Strips - Jerky Strips - Seitan Teriyaki. The fresh herbs and the natural vegan yogurt will marry perfectly with the sweet notes of the teriyaki jerky.

You can also add vegan jerky to Asian recipes like General Tso’s Tofu for extra texture. Choose a Asian-inspired vegan jerky like Primal Strips - Jerky Strips - Seitan Teriyaki. Cook the dish to perfection and simply mix in the vegan jerky with the tofu right before serving. Get ready for a new taste sensation!

Craving an American favorite? Prepare your Buffalo Cauliflower Wings and serve this mouthwatering side dish alongside Primal Strips - Jerky Strips - Soya Hickory Smoke for a perfect balance of smokiness and heat, as well as carbs and protein. Sit back and relax with a cold beer. 

Frequently Asked Questions 

Is vegan jerky gluten-free?

If you’re looking for gluten-free plant-based jerky, you will have to avoid seitan-based jerky, but many of the best vegan jerkies are still gluten-free! Eat the Change - Sea Salt & Cracked Pepper Mushroom Jerky is a fantastic gluten-free jerky option. Always check the nutritional label to be on the safe side when you’re looking to buy gluten-free vegan jerky. 

Can dogs eat mushroom jerky?

All store-bought mushrooms are generally safe for dogs to consume, but you should double-check all the other ingredients on your mushroom jerky to make sure that they are safe to offer to your four-legged friend! If unsure, always consult your vet. 

What does vegan jerky taste like?

Vegan jerky comes in a wide range of flavors inspired by regular meat jerky, but there are just as many innovative flavor combinations to explore. Most vegan jerky are made from soy protein, seitan or mushrooms which have been dehydrated to give it a realistic, chewy texture. These are then flavored to give you a wide range of options that will tantalize your taste buds. What about Smoky Hickory, Pepperoni, Texas Bbq or Maple Bacon? Or Jalapeno, Teriyaki or Thai Peanut? On the other hand, vegan jerky made from fruit usually has a sweeter, more natural flavor like mango or pineapple - there’s really something for everyone! 

Is vegan jerky healthy?

There are so many vegan jerky options out there you will be sure to find one that suits your lifestyle and diet. As a general rule, vegan jerky is low in cholesterol and saturated fats. Vegan jerky made from soy or seitan is also high in protein and low in carbs which is a desirable trait for most health conscious vegans out there. Jerky made from mushrooms or fruit usually contains a range of vitamins and minerals. They are also full of fiber, but will be low in protein. Like all foods, vegan jerky should be consumed in moderation as part of a balanced diet. 

Is biltong or jerky healthier?

It depends on the brand and on your diet! As a general rule, biltong is leaner but has a higher fat content, and jerky has a higher protein content. If you want a healthy option, go for a vegan jerky made from soy or seitan. It’s high in protein and low in cholesterol. Just make sure you choose a vegan jerky brand that uses organic ingredients and natural flavorings, like the ones we have here at PlantX!

Is there plant-based jerky?

Yes, there are tons of delicious plant-based jerky options, and you find the best vegan jerky right here at PlantX! Plant-based jerky can be made from soy protein, seitan, mushrooms, fruit and more. They all come in a wide range of tantalizing flavors and have a realistic, chewy texture.