Portobello Mushroom “Jerky”

by Gena on January 16, 2012

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If there’s one thing you learn right away when you go vegan (or vegetarian), it’s that Portobello mushrooms make for a good “meaty” substitute. If you don’t happen to figure this out on your own, any number of restaurants nationwide will show you: grilled Portobello “steak” is often offered as a substitute for chicken, fish, or meat on salads and in other entrée dishes. Though I do know a number of veg*ns who don’t care for Portobellos—they find the texture off-putting—most plant-based eaters I know are delighted to use this mighty mushroom as a satisfying centerpiece in any number of special meals.

Recently, I was reminded of how much I like to use Portobello caps when I whipped up an old favorite for dinner: my raw, vegan “steak and potatoes”:



Recipe is here. This is raw comfort food at its finest—let remind you all that Chloe’s husband, who is a lover of traditional meat and potatoes, goes a little crazy for my raw mashed potatoes!

Today, I’m taking a slightly different spin on raw Portobello. Instead of eating it whole, like the proverbial “meat” of a dish, I decided this week to slice it up, marinate it, and create a high raw vegan’s version of “jerky.” Part of the inspiration, naturally, was my eggplant bacon:


And in fact, this recipe uses the very same marinade. The results, though, are slightly different: the “jerky” has more chew, and I actually found it more accessible tasting than the eggplant bacon.

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It’s salty, smoky, and absolutely delicious. It’s also an ideal way for students and other busy folk to get veggies in on-the-go. Which means it’ll be a true staple this semester!

Raw, Vegan Portobello Mushroom "Jerky" (raw, vegan, gluten free)

Makes about 2 snack sized portions

2 Portobello mushroom caps, sliced into strips about 3/4 inch thick

For the marinade:

3 tbsp tamari
2 tbsp maple syrup
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 tsp chili powder
3-5 drops liquid smoke OR 1/4 tsp smoked paprika (omit to make 100% raw)
Black pepper to taste

1) Soak the mushrooms in the marinade for about 4 hours or more (overnight is good).

2) Dehydrate at 115 degrees for about 4-6 hours, or until mushrooms are dried out but still chewy (not crunchy). Dehyrating time will vary according to how much liquid the mushrooms absorbed, so check them and adjust time accordingly.

A very typical snack for me when I come home in the afternoon after class is a small plate of greens and veggies, some raw crackers, and 1/4 cup homemade hummus. Below you’ll see a snack plate featuring the “jerky”:

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The whole point of this recipe is ease. So if you don’t have time to throw together a little plate like that, just pack up the jerky along with some fruit or crackers or almonds, and munch on-the-go!

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Hope this inspires you all to add more veggie power into your snacking routine!

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Mushrooms are powerful sources of antioxidants and phytochemicals. Note that their nutrition power is best harnessed through eating a mix of raw and cooked ‘shrooms. This fills the raw quota very nicely Smile

Happy MLK day, everyone: I hope you’re commemorating in a special way.


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{ 25 comments… read them below or add one }

Laura @ Sprint 2 the Table January 16, 2012 at 3:24 pm

This is so cool! I’ve seen tempeh done similarly and called “bacon, ” but I love the idea of mushrooms. I bet their earthiness plays perfectly here. Does it keep well?


Get Skinny, Go Vegan. January 16, 2012 at 3:33 pm

I made something similar years back & really liked it. Thanks for the reminder!! Don’t know why I have waited so long to do it again. The mushrooms look good too-have found that I am not crazy about all raw mushroom dishes but portabellas generally seem to work!


Ali January 16, 2012 at 3:58 pm

LOVE this. I think that the bitterness in the eggplant is a little challenging to get around, so the use of mushrooms is much better for a more delicate pallet. Awesome idea girl. I seriously think you need to make a recipe book. <3


bitt January 16, 2012 at 4:59 pm

I personally love a good portobello as an entree with some other veggies, but I know someone who was transitioning to vegetarianism who found the idea insulting as a meal and decided he’d rather eat steak. A mushroom is delicious, but as good veggie restaurants know, we need more to make a meal.

Love the idea of jerky! I love a good marinated mushroom in the dehydrator for a few hours, but never let it go all the way. I’ll have to add this to my dehydrating repertoire.


Lisa @wheezy99 January 16, 2012 at 5:02 pm

I really want to try this. Is there any other way to make it without a dehydrater? I don’t have one.


Averie @ Love Veggies and Yoga January 16, 2012 at 5:12 pm

Ok this looks awesome. I’ve seen eggplant bacon lots but never have seen ‘shroom jerky. This is perfect! And that you didnt use garlic, onions, or added salt. I love you even more because of that! I need to make this but first, must go pick up some shrooms.


Allyson January 16, 2012 at 5:24 pm

This is an incredible idea, Gena! I have never thought to make my own jerky (why?!)…and it is so hard to come across a good vegan one that’s also GF, save a few varieties. One of my favorite pasta sauces uses raw marinated mushrooms, and I know this method will translate brilliantly into jerky. I am all over this!


Judy January 16, 2012 at 8:47 pm

That mushroom jerky sounds delicious! I’ll definitely have to try it.

Gena, do you have some ideas for raw soups? I would especially like some that use greens. Being a diabetic, I don’t tolerate fruit based green smoothies well, and green salads are a bit rough on my weakened digestive system. I would like to eat more greens, though, because they are so good for you, and I’m trying to find ways to sneak more greens into my diet.


Jami January 16, 2012 at 10:17 pm

My dad has recently been put on a high-veggie, low-animal i.e. healthy diet by the docs (now maybe he understands my veganism a little better?) and jerky has always been like a drug for him so I’ll have to pass this recipe along! Thanks!


Lolita January 16, 2012 at 10:54 pm

This is such a great idea! Having been vegetarian since I was 3 I’ve never even tasted real jerky, but love the sound of this version. That snack plate looks awesome… i love an arvo snack of a veggie plate and dip too!


Hannah January 17, 2012 at 3:47 am

Oh hell yeah! I’ve always loved mushrooms more than eggplant anyway.

And hmm, it’s not MLK Day here in Australia, clearly, but I’m currently watching The West Wing. Does that count as commemorating a dream of a better America? ;)


Olivia @ The Olivia Project January 17, 2012 at 10:34 am

I made Ani Phyo’s eggplant bacon/jerky and loved it so I bet I would love this, too! It looks fantastic and is such a good idea!

I will have to pass this along to my vegan mom and reluctant dad. It was an awesome marinated portobello mushroom burger that first got my dad to question his meat eating ways! I bet he would love this!


jessy jones January 17, 2012 at 11:32 am

This looks great. I will have to make it soon. I made your zucchini muffins Sunday morning, and they were sooo good. I would love to see more muffin recipes, especially ones with hidden vegetables in them. :) I will be making more this weekend!


jasper January 17, 2012 at 11:54 am

potassium, selenium and even some protein portobello’s pack a nutritional punch and one my run yesterday, I thought, I wonder if I’ve got any free radicals floating around in my system (I’m a nerd and that’s the only explanation for a weird wonder like this!) and portobello’s are known to fight against the free radicals! super food portobellos! thanks gena! – jasper


Christine (The Raw Project) January 17, 2012 at 12:19 pm

Yum, this looks wonderful! I’ve gotta try it on my husband soon. And try myself soon because I have mixed emotions about mushrooms, love the flavor, but not always the texture.


Ricki January 17, 2012 at 12:28 pm

Portobellos are one of the foods I really miss on the ACD. Can’t wait to get back to them–and this is the first recipe I’m going to!


Maija Haavisto January 17, 2012 at 1:16 pm

Sounds yummy, I love raw marinated and dehydrated mushrooms in general. I’ve only recently started to buy portobellos, as when I still lived in Finland they were quite rare and very expensive.

Judy: It’s easy to make delicious raw soups without any “real” recipe by blending greens, water and nuts and/or seeds and/or avocado. Celery, miso, leon, onion, garlic and fresh herbs (especially basil and thyme, but why not parsley, mint or cilantro) can be added for flavour. Zucchini is also a nice addition.


Beth January 17, 2012 at 1:18 pm

Gena – This looks delicous and inventive! Is there anyway to make the jerky without the use of a dehydrator?


The Appetite For Reduction Project January 17, 2012 at 1:39 pm

Genius idea! Have tried this with aubergine before, but mushrooms will make a nice change. Thanks!


Gina @ Running to the Kitchen January 17, 2012 at 2:31 pm

Awesome idea. I love portobello mushrooms and I love jerky. This could be a match made in heaven :)


Sarah January 17, 2012 at 3:50 pm

Portobello mushrooms are my summer bbq standby! There’s nothing better than a marinated mushroom burger. Can’t wait to try your jerky to add to my bag of mushroom tricks!


Heather January 18, 2012 at 11:12 am

Oh yum I love portobello mushrooms! Trying to find new savory recipes these days since I’m off all delicious sweet things – this fits the bill Gena! Also, I blogged about your tomato bread and am officially in love with it :) http://www.sweetlyraw.com/2012/01/adventures-in-raw-vegan-breads.html


Kaitlyn@TheTieDyeFiles January 18, 2012 at 9:05 pm

I’m so excited for the steak and potatoes, and the jerky. The boyfriend loves traditional jerky (ew, never liked it even pre-vegan), but perhaps he;d be willing to give this a try.


Kimberly (Badger Girl) January 25, 2012 at 11:32 am

I LOVE this. Seriously love. We have a dehydrator and I am always looking for new recipes. I admit, I am a meat eater, but we are more importantly, clean eaters who avoid processed foods (and dairy) and try to eat more meat-less than not. Love the recipe and love your site.


Wendy January 28, 2012 at 10:42 pm

Looks sooooo incredibly delish! Does dehydrating the mushroom at 115F destroy the hydrazines or do you not worry about that? Excited to try this one out:)


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