I don't know about you, but growing up the go-to hiking snacks were trail mix (with peanuts and M&M's of course), dried mangos, and jerky. Often, my family would buy things in bulk and we'd end up with an excess amount of these foods by the time winter or spring rolled around and we were hitting the trails less often, leaving the snacks to sit in the pantry. Nowadays, I'm hitting the trails more often than before and my diet has become vegetarian/mostly vegan. So instead of meat jerky, I recently tried KRAVE's vegan jerky and dang, it is hard to tell that it's made from pea protein!

When not eating the above snacks on hikes, I hate to let food go stale or to waste, so I've started coming up with some fun ideas to repurpose them. For trail mix and dried mangos I normally throw in the leftovers into a batch of maple granola to jazz it up. Jerky is a bit tricker to reimagine, but after some trial and error I found these five delicious ways to spice up your jerky game. 

1.  Vegan BLT with vegan jerky and homemade chipotle sauce

Toast two slices of homemade sourdough bread or whatever you have available. Lather one side with homemade chipotle sauce, the other with hummus or mashed beans, and layer lettuce, tomato, and vegan jerky or bacon equivalent. Serve with a side salad and fruit for a quick, yummy, balanced meal! To make the chipotle sauce, take around 1-2 tablespoons vegan mayo or sour cream and add 2 tsp mustard, 1 tsp paprika, 1 tsp cayenne, and 1/2 tsp turmeric. Mix well and voila!

Mackenzie Laverick

Additional thoughts: The jerky was a little chewy in the sandwich but the chipotle sauce went really well with the chipotle flavored jerky.

2. Jerked Black Beans

Chop and cook 1/2 onion on medium high heat with some olive oil for 10 minutes. Add in 1 cup black beans and 1/4 cup jerky. Season with taco mix, salt, and paprika. Cook for an additional 10 minutes. Serve with tacos, burritos, or Caribbean fare. 

Mackenzie Laverick

Additional thoughts: really good! I had this in a burrito bowl and the seasoning was spot on. After cooking the jerky with the onions and beans for a while it softened up and was a nice addition. 

3. Southwestern Salad

Quick and delicious: a bottom layer of leafy greens topped with chopped carrots, peppers, tomatoes, jerky, avocado, and grilled corn. I used champagne dressing, but any variation of Italian dressing should work really well with this salad. 

Mackenzie Laverick

4. Spicy Guacamole 

Mash up an avocado and add in salt, lime, and chili pepper. Top with vegan jerky. Optional add-ins: tomatoes, cilantro, and tomatillos. 

Mackenzie Laverick

5. Nachos!

You can make this recipe so many ways. I went simple, using blue corn tortilla chips, vegan cheese (daiya), and vegan jerky. You can either make this in the microwave (30 seconds on high) or roast in the oven or on the grill for 5 minutes around 350˚F. I used the spicy guacamole from above to top it off. Yum! Other great toppings are black beans, peppers, onion, mushrooms, and tomatoes. 

Mackenzie Laverick

The jerky I used in all of these recipes was KRAVE's plant-based chipotle jerky.  They also have Korean barbecue plant-based jerky and many other products. I received a free sample from the company, which is what I used to create these recipes. I would definitely recommend giving it a try! I've been vegetarian for over two years now but even friends who are meat-eaters were surprised that KRAVE's jerky was made from plants!