Friday, September 4, 2015

Vegan Mofo #4: Salade aux Noix....

Today we’re moving on from Ireland and onto France with this tasty yet simple salad.  Honestly I don’t know much about the origins of this salad, but it’s a pretty typical and traditional French Salad, I saw it on a lot of menus when I was there this past Spring but unfortunately because the traditional version contains bacon I was never able to eat it. Traditionally the dressing also uses the leftover bacon drippings as an ingredients, which I think is kind of gross, but to mimic the flavor I used the leftover liquid from cooking my coconut bacon. If you want it a bit more ‘greasy’ you could add some additional oil - perhaps coconut oil - and a dash more of liquid smoke for extra bacon flavor.

Originally I hadn’t intended to make this salad but I’m happy I decided to put a vegan spin on it after all, because it turned out great. It’s the kind of salad that’s perfect for a light lunch, or as the first course to a larger meal.

Salade aux Noix

1 Head Green Leaf Lettuce
Handful of Arugula.
½ Cup Walnuts
½ Cup Coconut Bacon (recipe follows)
5 Thin Slices Baguette
1 Garlic Clove
1 Tbsp Walnut Oil
1 Tbsp Red Wine Vinegar
1 tsp Dijon Mustard
Olive Oil as needed
Coarse Black Pepper to taste.

Coconut Bacon 

½ Cup Dried Unsweetened Coconut Flakes
1 Tbsp Soy Sauce
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 Tbsp Maple Syrup
½ Tbsp Liquid Smoke
Dash of Smoked Paprika
Dash of Garlic Powder
Dash of Smoked Sea Salt

Instructions - Coconut Bacon 

- Combine all liquid ingredients in a bowl, and pre-heat a small pan over medium heat. Once heated add the coconut flakes and pour the sauce over, mix with a spatula to combine. Fry for 3-5 minutes turning occasionally so the flakes don’t burn. Once browned and most of the liquid has been absorbed turn off the heat and remove the coconut to a plate to cool. Let cool 5 minutes. Leave any remaining liquid in the pan.

Instructions - Salad 

- Tear the lettuce into bite sized pieces and place in a large salad bowl along with the arugula.

- Re-heat the pan in which you cooked the coconut bacon, and add the walnuts. Toast them until browned then remove them to a plate.

- To the pan add the walnut oil, red wine vinegar, and Dijon Mustard. Whisk to combine, and simmer for a minute until warmed though. Turn off the heat and set aside.

- Preheat your Broiler. Slice the garlic clove in half. Drizzle the baguette slices in a bit of olive oil and rub the garlic halves over the bread.

- Place the bread on a broiler sheet and broil on high for 1-2 minutes a side until brown. Remove from the broiler and let cool.

- Finally, add the cooled coconut bacon and walnuts to the salad. Breaking the pieces a part as necessary. Crumble the sliced baguette pieces over top, and then drizzle the dressing over. Toss the entire thing together, and sprinkle with black pepper if desired. Enjoy!

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Vegan Mofo #3: Brotchan Foltchep...

Yes, another Irish Soup. What can I say?  I love Ireland, and I love Soup! Back in 2009 My husband and I traveled a good portion of Ireland, we hit 14 Cities and numerous natural wonders from the Dublin and the Wicklow Mountains, to Belfast and the Giant's Causeway, to Galway and the Cliffs of Moher to the Aran Islands, to Cork. We by no means saw it all, and I would love to go back some day because it was one of the most enjoyable travel experiences we've ever had. The people are some of the most helpful, good natured and genuinely friendly of anyone I've met anywhere. The country itself is bursting with overwhelming beauty and natural wonder, the cities and towns have a calm and peaceful vibe, and say what you will about food in that part of the world, but I never met an Irish Soup in an Irish Pub that I didn't absolutely love! Especially on those cold, drizzling days.

So, this soup is called Brotchan Foltchep (Also known as Brotchan Roy) and it’s a simple soup that utilizes some of Ireland’s staple foods, oatmeal, leeks and milk. It might sound weird to you to put  oatmeal in a soup, but trust me it’s delicious! Not to mention warming, and filling, plus it comes together really easy, what more can you ask for out of a meal?

Brotchan Foltchep 

2 Tbsp Vegan Butter
4 Large Leeks (White and Light Green Part Only Sliced)
3 Tbsp Steel Cut Oats
3 Cups Vegan Chicken Broth or 3 Cups water + 2 Vegan Chicken Bouillon Cubes
2 ½ Cups Non-Dairy Milk (Soy or Almond)
1 tsp Sea Salt
½ tsp Black Pepper (or to taste)
Pinch of Ground Mace
½ Bunch Minced Parsley

Optional but Recommended (If you have any broth leftover from making home-made chicken style seitan add 4 Tbsp to the soup. Or, whisk together 2 Tbsp Nutritional Yeast with 4 Tbsp of Water and add)

- Melt Vegan butter in a large stock pot over medium heat.

- Add sliced leeks and saute for 10 minutes until leeks are soft.

- Add Steel Cut Oats, Broth and Milk. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to simmer. Let simmer for 20-30 minutes until Oatmeal is tender.

- Add in salt, pepper, mace, and the optional seitan liquid or nutritional yeast mixture. Let simmer an additional 10 minutes.

- Stir in the minced parsley. Let stand 5 minutes then serve with a nice brown bread, and enjoy!

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Vegan Mofo #2: Irish Beef and Barley Soup...

Every country it seems has some kind of beef stew as a part of their traditional cuisine, so just like with Buttermilk Pancakes, Beef and Barley Soup is one of those recipes that I can’t find reliable origin information on. The Irish cook books I’ve looked through all claim that Beef and Barley Soup is a traditional Irish Farmhouse Soup, but since it’s so popular in many other countries it’s true origin is anyone’s guess. Though Barley is a pretty ancient crop, and people have been making this soup a long, long time, so it wouldn’t surprise me in the least to find out it is Irish, or at least originating in the UK.

I tried to keep this recipe as traditional as possible, and did a fare job of that. The only out of place ingredients are Tamari and Marmite, which I used to enhance the beefy flavor of the soup. Due to the tough cuts of meat this soup is suppose to be cooked with original meat based recipes have a very long cooking time. This vegan version could probably be cooked in less time, but I like the hour long simmer as it provides ample opportunity for the flavors of the soup to marry. However because of the long time, the potatoes do begin to break down, and so this soup ended up thicker and more stew like then a ‘traditional’ beef and barley soup. If that isn’t to your fancy then feel free to add a bit more broth or water to thin the soup out, or decrease the cooking time by 15-20 minutes, to the point where the potatoes are soft but not breaking down.

Irish Beef and Barley Soup 

1 lb Homemade or Store-bought Beef Style Seitan cubed
2 tsp Olive Oil
1 Large Onion Sliced into quarter moons
4 Garlic Cloves Minced
3 Large Carrots Sliced into Rounds
2 Russet Potatoes Cubed
3 Celery Stalks Chopped
1 Large Leek Sliced (White and Light Green Part Only)
8 Cups Vegan Beef Broth or 8 Cups Water + 2 Vegan Beef Bouillon Cubes
1/4 C Pearled Barley
1/4 C Split Green Peas (pre soaked)
1 tsp Thyme Leaves
½ tsp Dried Rosemary
½ tsp Black Pepper (or more to taste)
3 Tbsp Tamari
1 Heaping Tbsp Marmite
½ Bunch Minced Parsley
Sea Salt to taste if needed

- Pour Vegan Beef Stock into a pot and bring to a boil. Once Boiling add Green Split Peas and Barley. Reduce to simmer and cook for 20-30 minutes or until barley and peas are tender.

- Heat 1 tsp Oil in skillet over medium heat. When hot add cubed beef and cook for 8-10 minutes stirring to brown on all sides. When browned to your liking remove from skillet and set aside on a plate.

- Heat remaining tsp of Oil in the same pan, add the onions and saute over medium heat for 8 minutes until soft and golden. Add in the carrots, celery, garlic and leek. Saute another 10 minutes until vegetables are soft.

- Add the sauteed vegetables to the pot with the Barley and Split Peas. Add the cubed potatoes, thyme,.rosemary, black pepper, tamari, and marmite. Stir to combine and bring to a boil. Once boiling reduce to simmer and let simmer gently on the stove for 45 minutes to an hour. Until all vegetables are tender and the soup has thickened.

- Add in the Browned Beef, and Minced Parsley. Stir to combine and simmer an additional 5 minutes until beef is warmed through. Taste for flavor and add more salt or pepper if needed.

- Serve hot and enjoy!

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Vegan Mofo #1: Irish Buttermilk Pancakes...

Today is the first day of the much awaited Vegan Mofo, are you excited? I am. I didn’t realize it until today but I guess there are some new guidelines this year. Apparently there are daily prompts/suggestions for what to blog about there is one for each day of the month, a lot of people seem to like this idea - it requires less thinking and planning I suppose, but I hate it. There is nothing more boring to me then doing the same thing everyone else is doing. For me part of the fun of Vegan Mofo is to see all the different things people are coming up with. Why do I want to look at twenty posts all talking about the same thing? I also don’t like being limited. I couldn’t be less interested in ‘following’ what everyone else is doing and that goes for every aspect of my life. So, needless to say I’m not following these prompts, I’m doing my own thing, if that means I’m excluded from Vegan Mofo then so be it, but I really want to continue on with my original idea.

The theme I decided on is Veganized Dishes From Countries To Which I’ve Traveled. I do so much traveling and food is a big part of traveling, when away I always tell myself that I’ll experiment at home with the foods of my travels but I rarely do. I figured this year’s Mofo would give me the perfect opportunity and excuse to do just that. I also thought it might be nice to provide you with some new recipes, considering I haven’t been very active lately. Every year I cook other people’s recipes for Mofo, but this year is the first time I’ll be blogging original recipes. Though, just a point of warning, I’m going to be veganizing ‘traditional’ recipes, and so I’m going for authenticity in my creations, not health. Most likely the recipes will not be gluten-free, soy-free, sugar-free, salt-free or any other kind of healthy. They will not be unhealthy on purpose, but a lot of them are going to be based off of ‘meat and potatoes’ recipes and so I am envisioning a lot of seitan usage in the coming month. So, anyway, I hope you enjoy it!

Coincidently today’s recipe actually goes along with the prompt for September 1st, which is ‘Breakfast” I had planned to start Mofo out simple with a quick and easy recipe, Buttermilk Pancakes!

Now despite my best efforts I can’t find a reliable source on the internet claiming that Buttermilk Pancakes are an original Irish creation. It seems every English speaking country has their own version of this classic breakfast. Though I’ve flipped through a couple of Irish Cook books and they all have a variation on Buttermilk Pancakes. Considering that Buttermilk is quite common, readily available, and widely used in Irish baking it is not unreasonable to think that Buttermilk Pancakes might have originated in Ireland or at least somewhere in the United Kingdom before migrating.

Perhaps it’s a typically Irish practice to serve pancakes drizzled in Honey, but I’m not sure. I myself have always served pancakes - any kind - with maple syrup, so I thought dousing them in honey was a bit weird myself but I decided to give it a try, and really enjoyed it. The honey really melted into these soft fluffy cakes, and it was a really nice compliment to the savory butter. It had a lighter, more mellow sweetness then serving the cakes with maple syrup.

To mimic the buttermilk I used non-dairy milk with a large quantity of apple cider vinegar, but don’t worry you can’t taste the vinegar. Due to the sugar, these pancakes are a little sweeter then what you might be used to, but they are not so sweet as to be unpleasant. They are very simple and easy to make, with few ingredients, and due to their simplicity you can whip up a good batch virtually any day of the week. Enjoy with a nice steaming mug of Irish Breakfast Tea!

Irish Buttermilk Pancakes 

2 Cups All Purpose Flour
1 ½ tsp Baking Soda
4 Tbsp Sugar
Ener-G Egg Replacer or Flax Egg to = 1 Egg
1 ½ Cups Non-dairy Milk (Soy or Almond recommended)
2 Tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar
Non-Dairy Butter, and Bee-Free Honey to Serve 

- Heat greased skillet over medium heat.

- Combine Milk and Apple Cider Vinegar in a measuring Cup and let stand for five minutes.

- Combine all dry ingredients in a bowl.

- Make Well in center and add Ener-G Egg or Flax Egg, along with Milk/Vinegar Mixture. Stir with a wooden spoon until just combined. Don’t over mix.

- Using a 1/4 Cup measuring cup scoop the pancake batter onto the hot greased skillet, spreading batter into a circle. Let cook until bubbles form on top, then gently flip the pancake over.

- Repeat until all batter is used and pancakes are cooked.

- Serve drenched in melted vegan butter with a hearty drizzle of Bee-Free Honey over top.

Monday, August 31, 2015

Our 8 Year Anniversary...

The 25th of August was me and my Husband’s anniversary, and though our celebration was pretty low key this year we did start the day off right with a delicious breakfast. I didn’t go all out this year as I tend to do some years because I didn’t get home from work until 8am and then we had a little overnight getaway planned. I chose three simple - yet tasty - dishes from my new copy of Mastering the Art of Vegan Cooking by Annie and Dan Shannon (of Betty Goes Vegan fame)

A combination of something savory and something sweet sounded just right to me and so I started with the Cinnamon Peach Skillet Rolls. Yes, these are exactly what they sound like, Cinnamon Rolls filled with sliced peaches with a peach glaze. Oh my god! I don’t know why I don’t make Cinnamon Rolls more often! They are a bit time consuming but always so worth the effort. Unfortunately my cast iron skillet wasn’t near big enough to accommodate the rolls and so I ended up just baking them in a glass dish, but that’s okay, they were amazing regardless. We each ate 2 right out of the gate, and they didn’t survive longer then a second day, that’s how fantastic these were.

For the ‘main’ course I made the Tofu a la Goldenrod which is a simple plain seasoned tofu scramble served over toast and drenched in a milk based gravy. It probably sounds weird, and if you’re like me you might even think that sounds slightly disgusting, but trust me, it was soooo good! The only reason I even made it was because it was simple and I thought I could at least utilize the tofu scramble even if I wasn’t interested in drenching it in gravy but I’m really glad I took the chance on this dish as it was super filling, and so unexpectedly wonderful. I loved the flavor combo of the tofu, the toast, and the savory gravy.

As a side I made the Roasted Red Flannel Hash, which is a standard Hash of potatoes and beets baked in the oven with red onion and some spices, there’s even kale thrown in there for good measure. This was pretty good too, though I thought it could use a bit more salt, but that’s me.

It was a fantastic way to start our anniversary, and the perfect opportunity to try out some new and interesting recipes.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Vegan Mofo is Here Again!

I can’t believe my last post was in May. I haven’t been a very good blogger lately. I always want to post, but, the truth is that when I started this blog I had a very empty plate, and these days my plate is pretty full. I hate the “I don’t have time” excuse when other people use it, but I don’t really have a lot of ‘extra’ time these days, or at least, I don’t want to spend what limited extra time I have cooking or blogging. I still do cook of course, but what I mean is that I don’t really cook that many things worth blogging about. I make a lot of the same meals, or just cook things from cook books and while that’s fine once in a while, I originally intended this blog to be one of creative original recipes, not a blog of other peoples recipes. So, even when I have the time I haven’t really got the creativity or the drive to do it, for that I feel bad because I know a lot of people enjoy the blog, but until I find a way to balance blogging with everything else in my life sporadic posting will be the norm.

Having said that, I did decide at the last minute to participate in Vegan Mofo. It’s really one of my favorite events and I have so much fun doing it. I was really bummed last year about not being able to participate but we were in Ecuador and Peru for most of September and I just wasn’t able to blog. This year we will be going away at the end of September again - Road Trip of the Pacific Northwest - but from September 1st to the 20th I’ll be posting. I normally do two posts per day during Vegan Mofo, but this year due to my own limitations I will only be posting once per day for a total of 20 posts. As for a theme, I haven’t fully decided on one yet. But I’m kicking around two ideas in my head.

Either I’ll do my usual ‘cooking the books’ theme in which I cook recipes from cook books I don’t often use, but with an emphasis on Fall or Harvest Flavors - since fall is nearing.

Or I’ll veganize recipes that originate in countries to which I have traveled.

So stay tuned for all the Mofo Madness beginning September 1st

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Chickpea Flour Scramble - With Breakfast Taco Option...

I’ve been meaning to post this recipe for a while now, but I’ve found myself preoccupied of late. Sorry for the long absence, but I hope this recipe will make up for it. So, on the 23rd of April I really wanted a hearty breakfast. I woke up ravenous and desiring a scramble of some sort. Unfortunately I didn’t have any tofu on hand, neither did I have any canned chickpeas to make Isa’s Chickpea Scramble. However, it occurred to me in a brief moment of culinary genius that if I could make a scramble with whole beans, why couldn’t I make a scramble with chickpea flour? I had heard of it done before, and didn’t think it could be all that hard. I imagined it was somewhat like making a socca - which I love - and so I set to the task of making a chickpea flour scramble.

I was very skeptical that it would work out, especially in the beginning when I realized that the chickpea flour mix just didn’t want to break apart. The whole thing clumped together and wasn’t cooking. I thought I was going to have to scrap the whole endeavor - and no doubt if you try this recipe you might just think the same thing at first, but trust me, it works! - lucky for me I have patience - which is what this recipe needs - I kept at it and was rewarded by one of the most brilliant breakfasts ever. In fact I loved it so much I ended up making it the next day for my husband and I, as he hadn’t been home when I made it the first time. Skeptical as he was, he loved it too, and we devoured this scramble in taco form, though in my opinion it’s also just as good without the tortillas and extras.

What I love about this recipe is you can make the chickpea flour taste like whatever you like, I kept it simple and kept a traditional scramble flavor but you can literally add anything. You can add any spices you can add any vegetables and it creates the perfect gluten-free, and soy free scramble alternative for those who have allergies or sensitivities. More and more people are avoiding soy and gluten but that doesn’t mean they have to cut scrambles out of their lives too.

Personally I think this scramble has a better texture and mouth feel then a tofu scramble. Don’t get me wrong I do love tofu scrambles but I prefer a slightly dryer scramble and tofu scrambles usually have a bit of wetness to them. Also I think that the chickpea scramble mimics eggs better then tofu as it gets firm, but also retains that spongy, springy, softness of an egg. So if you’re looking for a new scramble to try give this one a go. I know it probably sounds weird but trust me the reward is worth it, I know you’ll love it.

Chickpea Flour Scramble 

1 ½ C Chickpea Flour
2 ½ C Water
1 tsp Black Slat
1 tsp Garlic Powder
1 tsp Onion Powder
½ tsp Turmeric
½ tsp Smoked Paprika
1/4 tsp Black Pepper

3 Green Onions diced
1 Ripe Tomato Diced

For Tacos 

Corn Tortillas
Shredded lettuce or Salad Mix
Vegan Cheese
Hot Sauce

- Lightly oil a medium sized pan, and heat over medium heat.

- In a bowl combine the chickpea flour through the black pepper and mix until thoroughly combined.

- Once the pan is hot add the chickpea flour mixture to the heated pan. Cover the pan and cook for about 4-5 minutes until the top looks glossy and the edges look cooked.

This is how it'll look when you first pour it into the pan

- Using a metal spatula begin scrambling the half-cooked mixture as you would scrambled eggs. Begin by folding and flipping the mixture over. Let it cook another 2 minutes or so and begin flipping again. Bare in mind that the mixture will be sticky and it will only be partially cooked making it difficult to fold, and separate but keep at it. It does take some time but use your spatula to continue to break the mass into smaller and smaller chunks, flipping them and cutting them. It should take at least 10 minutes.

After about 10 minutes

- After 10 minutes the mixture should be a bit dryer and it should be easier to break into pieces. The pan may well be very dry at this time and you can add a touch more olive oil to the pan to help prevent sticking as well as to help crisp up the chickpea mix. About a tablespoon of oil should be more then enough. Continue to flip and break up the chickpea mixture into smaller pieces with your spatula. Another 10 minutes and you should have some small and medium sized chunks, it should by now resemble a more traditional tofu or egg scramble.

Another 10 Minutes 

- When you have the chickpea mix broken into the size chunks you prefer, and they’re nicely dried and cooked through add in your green onions and cook another minute.

We're almost there, it's time for green onions!

- Add in your tomatoes and cook another 2 minutes.

Just about done, add your tomatoes!

- Your scramble should be more then ready now, and you can eat it as is - as you would any traditional tofu scramble. You can eat it on toast, as a side with ketchup, or as I did in tacos.

The finished product, so worth the effort!

- For Chickpea Flour Scramble Tacos spoon some of the chickpea scramble into a corn tortilla, top with your favorite shredded vegan cheese, a handful of shredded lettuce or salad mix, and then drizzle with ketchup or hot sauce as you desire. It would probably even be good with salsa.

Tacos anyone?


Saturday, April 25, 2015

Product Review - Field Roast: Chao Slices...

Field Roast is by far one of my favorite vegan companies, and they have been for some time now. All of their products are delicious, and not a one of them has let me down yet. They make some of the best vegan sausages on the market - and certainly THE BEST veggie dogs. - They also make killer deli slices, and burgers and now they’re tossing their hat into the ring and have begun making Vegan Cheese. Oh yeah, you heard that right, another vegan cheese!

Vegan cheese has come a long way in recent years, I know long-time vegans who say the vegan cheese now is light-years more advanced then what they had back in the day, but to tell the truth vegan cheese has even improved significantly from when I first went vegan five years ago. As far as I’m concerned the best on the market is Daiya, but Field Roast is definitely giving them a run for their money with their new Chao slices.

The new slices are made from Chao tofu which is a fermented soybean curd popular in Asia, and according to their website they make their Chao slices in a way similar to the way dairy cheese is traditionally made. Each flavor also contains coconut oil, as well as a variety of spices. They are Non-GMO, and roughly 60 calories per slice. They come in three awesome flavors such as Creamy Original, Coconut Herb, and Tomato Cayenne.  If you want my opinion each flavor has it’s virtues but I think I liked the coconut herb the best, it reminded me a bit of dairy goat cheese. Tomato Cayenne was probably my second favorite and reminded me a bit of cheddar though I really appreciate that Field Roast has attempted something different with their flavors rather then just try to mimic the same basic flavors of cheddar, mozzarella, and jack. Vegan’s need variety too and if you ask me there enough vegan cheddar and mozzarella substitutes on the market as it is. I love creativity.

All three flavors melt, and they’re particularly good for putting on burgers, sandwiches, grilled cheese, or any other thing you can think of. They’re even good eaten straight out of the package or is that just me? I have to say even my husband was impressed by Chao and normally he doesn’t particularly care for vegan cheese, so that’s saying something.

Field Roast made their Chao slices available sometime at the end of last year and so by now they should be easily available in most Whole Foods or health food stores, so next time you want a veggie burger grab up a pack of these slices to top it off with, you won’t be sorry.

If you want to learn more about Field Roast or their Chao Slices you can do so here

Friday, April 24, 2015

Product Review - Sophie's Kitchen: Vegan Toona...

Another vegan product I’ve been wanting to share with you for a while is Sophie’s Kitchen Vegan Toona. Yeah, you read that right, Vegan Canned Tuna, how cool is that? For a while now Sophie’s Kitchen has been the leader in producing vegan seafood products, in fact I think they may be one of the only companies focusing solely on vegan fish-friendly alternatives. Other companies make things like vegan fish sticks and vegan crab cakes but Sophie’s Kitchen has Vegan Calamari, Vegan Shrimp, Vegan Fish Filets, Vegan Scallops and now Vegan Tuna.

So far the Toona comes in two flavors, Seat Salt, and Black Pepper. Both are really good flavor wise though I don’t think they taste anywhere near as fishy as actual tuna - probably a good thing anyway! They have amazing mouth-feel and texture though. The ‘meat’ flakes like fish tuna does and it shreds super easy so you can use it in a vegan tuna sandwich or tuna salad. Though I really liked both flavors I think I preferred the Black Pepper, I’m not sure why but to me it tasted slightly more tuna like, and it was really so good I could have eaten it straight out of the can. So far the only application I’ve used the Toona in is to make a Tuna Noodle Casserole for my husband - who used to love that sort of thing in his pre-vegan days. It worked really well, and the casserole tasted amazing. I myself have never eaten tuna noodle casserole so I can’t say whether it tasted like the fish-unfriendly kind or not, but my husband seemed to think it was a pretty spot-on replication.

I imagine Sophie’s Kitchen Vegan Toona would be good in any dish calling for Tuna, and I’m actually really interested to try using it to make a spicy tuna sushi, as well as a traditional tuna salad. When I get around to doing either I’ll let you know how it turns out.

For now, the practicalities. Sophie’s Kitchen Vegan Toona in Seat Salt Flavor is both Gluten and Soy free, made with Pea Protein - like Beyond Meat - which is probably why it has such excellent texture. There are no preservatives, artificial colors or MSG. A single serving contains about 100 calories, 12% Fiber, 18% Protein, 4% Calcium and Iron and only 1g of sugar. The Black Pepper Flavor is Gluten Free but contains both soy protein and pea protein so it’s not soy free. It is also free of preservatives, artificial colors and MSG though. It’s about 90 Calories per serving and contains 12% Fiber and Protein, 4% Iron and Calcium.

So if you’re looking for a good tuna substitute keep a look out at your local heath food store for Sophie’s Kitchen and if you want to learn more about them you can do that here

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Product Review - Beyond Meat: Beefy Crumbles...

Jeeze, I can’t believe how behind I’ve gotten on both my product reviews and restaurant reviews. I love to try all the new vegan products that come out - you know for the novelty and curiosity too - and I like to tell you about all the best ones because for some people veganism can be a challenge - though a good one! - and sometimes these innovative products can be helpful.

By now I’m sure you’ve all heard about Beyond Meat. They are the newest vegan meat company on the market, and probably the best. Certainly they come the closest as far as mimicking texture is concerned. I talked about their Vegan Chicken Strips before, but they also make vegan beef now. Well, their beef crumbles have been out for about a year or so now - did I mention how behind I was?  - My husband and I were so excited to find their Fiesty Crumbles and their Beefy Crumbles in our local health food store and we eagerly picked up a bag of each. Since our initial discovery of the beefy crumbles I’ve purchased them a couple of times and used them in a few different applications. I’ve used the Fiesty Crumbles in Lasagna , the Beefy Crumbles in Tacos, and I even made this killer Italian Wedding Soup from Annie and Dan Shannon’s book “Betty Goes Vegan.”

Now, as much as I like these crumbles I can’t say they taste exactly what I remember beef to taste like, but they also don’t have that weird aftertaste that a lot of vegan meats have. They have a smooth ‘meaty’ flavor, but what I noticed the most is that the mouth-feel and texture of these crumbles quite resembles ground beef. They also ‘sweat’ or ‘grease’ a little when you cook them in a pan, like real beef would. That’s both slightly disturbing and completely fascinating to me! The progression of technology in all fields continues to astound.

As for practicalities, Beyond Meat - to my knowledge - is the only Gluten and Soy Free vegan meat product currently on the market. They make their products with pea protein, and they’re non-GMO. As for the Crumbles a ½ cup is about 100 Calories, with 0% Saturated Fat and 0% Cholesterol - can’t say that about animal meat now can you? That same ½ Cup also has about 4% Fiber, 20% Protein, 10% Calcium, 2% Iron and Vitamin C and only 1g of sugar.

So if you’re in the market for a good vegan beef, check out Beyond Meat. Oh, and if you’re lucky enough to find it they’ve also started making some bomb-ass Meatballs. Which I’ll have to review at another time, since I forgot to take pictures last time I bought them. Bad blogger!

To learn more about Beyond Meat check them out Here