Once it's dehydrated, eggplant tastes remarkably like beef jerky: chewy, dense, and savory. Marinating thin slices of eggplant in balsamic vinegar, olive oil, paprika, and a little maple syrup locks in a slightly smoky, slightly tangy flavor. Pack the finished snack to take on a hike or road trip—it really hits the spot.
Vegan Eggplant Jerky
Yield: about 4 servings
Active Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 6 hours and 10 minutes
Preheat oven to 115 degrees or the lowest temperature setting. Arrange metal racks on two baking sheets. Set aside.
Stir together balsamic vinegar, maple syrup, smoked paprika, garlic powder, and olive oil in a baking dish. Cut off ends of eggplants and use a mandolin or knife to thinly slice eggplants vertically into 1/8-inch slices. Place slices in the marinade and toss to coat. Marinate 2 hours, flipping halfway through.
Lay eggplant slices on the racks, making sure they do not overlap. Sprinkle with salt. Place in oven to dehydrate for 4 to 6 hours, or until jerky is dry to the touch and chewy. Store covered in a cool dry place.