Miso Glazed Tempeh, From the Grill!

Miso Glazed Grilled Tempeh, via Eat the Vegan Rainbow

If you have not done so already, you should definitely try tempeh. I’ve been hearing about it for some time now, and seeing several different brands and varieties right next to the tofu that I usually get but I only got the first batch of tempeh just the other day. I bought several different varieties to try them out and spent few days reading about what’s tempeh good for and how to best cook with it. Tempeh is related to tofu because both are soy based. But, in terms of flavor and texture (and as far as I can tell in terms of how you actually make the two, based on what Wikipedia says), tofu and tempeh are quite different. Tempeh is firm, much firmer than the firmest tofu, and does not come in liquid. It is actually fermented soy beans mixed with rice, so although it is dry, it does feel sticky to touch and just a bit slimy. FYI: I am not saying this to gross you out, rather to forewarn you so that you are not as surprised when you start handling it as I was – I thought my tempeh has gone bad and wanted to through it out! But, I double-checked the date on the bag, regained my cool and went for it.

I decided to start simple and build from there, so this Miso Glazed Grilled Tempeh is more or less my starting point. The brand of tempeh I got is Lightlife and the two varieties I started with are their Organic Garden Veggie and Organic Soy Tempeh. Each package is half a pound (about 250 g), and the block of tempeh comes in a vacuumed-sealed package, that’s within a sealed plastic bag, so there are two bags to remove! I used both blocks at the same time, since one just did not seem enough to make for the end of the week Friday dinner.

The first thing I did was to fire up the grill. I have a gas grill and it takes it about ten to fifteen minutes to get to be sizzling hot, with burners going at full blast and the lid down. That was just enough time for me to prep the tempeh and the glaze. For tempeh, I placed the pieces into a pan large enough to keep the pieces flat, covered with water, brought to boil and boiled for four to five minutes per side – I did flip the pieces over once since the pan I was using was shallow and the water did not fully cover the tempeh, so if your tempeh is fully covered you will not need to do the flip! After about ten minutes I took the tempeh out, pat dried the pieces, and left them uncovered on some paper towels.

While the tempeh was boiling and the grill was heating up, I mixed together a simple glaze with some soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, white miso glaze and vegetable oil. I spread the glaze over the tempeh pieces just before placing them on the grill the glazed side down. Then I glazed the top and let it grill for about five to six minutes. By that time the grill marks will be perfect, and the pieces ready to be flipped. I did reglaze both sides again and flipped again, so that at the end each side got two layers of glaze and about eight to ten minutes of grilling, so in total the grilling bit took less than twenty minutes. If you are in a rush, you can definitely skip the reglazing, but if you are outside hanging around the grill with friends and family and enjoying the lovely summer evening, then why not give tempeh extra love, glaze and grill time?

Let grilled tempeh rest for just a second, then slice and serve. You can serve it in a hamburger or a hot dog bun with the usual trimmings, but note that condiments, like mustard and ketchup, are going to overpower the flavor of the grilled tempeh. So, I recommend serving tempeh with a side of coleslaw and baked, or barbecue beans, which is how I had mine. Add to that a glass of cold beverage of choice, and what can be better?

Miso Glazed Grilled Tempeh Sliced, via Eat the Vegan Rainbow

Miso Glazed Grilled Tempeh

What you’ll need:

2 8 oz (227 g) blocks of tempeh (any variety and brand you like)

2 tablespoons soy sauce, reduced sodium

2 tablespoons white miso paste

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

1/2 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce (vegan)

Oil for oiling the grill grates


What you’ll do:

  1. Prepare your grill like you normally do. I recommend getting the grill really hot and letting any bits and pieces from the previous grill session burn off, then scrapping the grates with an appropriate type of a brush (please be careful here because you can really damage your grill grates if you don’t follow the manufactures instructions and recommendations), and then oil them generously with a paper towel dipped in vegetable oil – please use long tongs here to prevent getting burned!
  2. Take tempeh out of the wrapping and palace in a pan large enough to hold it flat and straight. Cover with water, bring to boil and let it boil for 5 to 10 minutes. Make sure you flip the tempeh half way through if your tempeh is not fully submerged in water. If it is, no mid-way flipping is needed!
  3. While tempeh is boiling and the grill is getting hot, mix together the glaze by whisking together soy sauce, vegetable oil, miso paste and Worcestershire sauce. The glaze should be smooth, but even if you have few lumps in there don’t worry about it – it won’t matter at the end.
  4. Place the boiled tempeh onto some paper towels and gently dry.
  5. Using a (silicone) food brush spread the glaze liberally ove the tempeh and place the piece of tempeh glaze side down on the hot grill. Keep the gas grill on medium high heat, or if you are using a charcoal grill keep it as hot as you would when grilling vegetables, veggie burgers, or mushroom or tofu steaks. Grill the glazed tempeh 5 to 6 minutes on one side, and while it is grilling apply the glaze on the other side, flip over, grill for 4 to 5 minutes, glaze, flip, grill, repeat for as long as you like.
  6. Let stand for just a moment or two, slice and serve!!! This Miso Glazed Grilled Tempeh will work as an appetizer, finger food, as well as dinner, especially with some grilled corn, veggies, coleslaw, baked or barbecue beans, or as a salad topping…

Copyright ©Eat the Vegan Rainbow, 2017

Roasted Tofu Steak Tips

Beef steak tips are tough and chewy, and slightly annoying but these tofu steak tips will have you asking for more!
Roasted Tofu Steak Tips, via Eat the Vegan Rainbow
One of the most frequent questions that I get when I tell people that I am vegan is: “What do you eat?”. And when I explain I eat plants, then the next question is almost without a fail: “Where do you get your protein from?”.

Putting aside the fact that gluten is a protein and that, therefore, you can get protein from eating wheat bread, there are numerous other plant sources of protein. Peas and quinoa come to mind, as well as beans and chickpeas, edamame, nuts and nut butter, tempeh and tofu. This last one, tofu, does raise some eyebrows and comments along the lines of “Tofu is so bland… How do you make it taste any good?”.

Being bland is what makes tofu perfect. It is a blank canvas, ready for you to paint flavors on. I use tofu all the time, and it works in Indian inspired dishes, like Saag Paneer and Mango Chickpea Curry Tofu, in Pad Thai, grilled, as well as Popovers. An eye opening moment for me came when I realized how super easy it is to transform tofu into incredible bacon!

Tofu comes in couple of different consistencies and textures so you can pick and choose from silken to extra firm to match the recipe you are making. Extra firm tofu works well for applications where it is critical that the final product is solid and slightly chewy and that’s why I went with extra firm tofu in this Roasted Tofu Steak Tips recipe.

Most tofu recipes start with tofu pressing and draining. You can go professional and get yourself a tofu press, but I am keeping it low tech (for now) and usually just take a block or two of extra firm tofu, drain it and then leave it in a strainer for couple of hours. That usually does the trick for me. Once pressing and draining is completed, you can slice the tofu any way you like or crumble it if you are making something like a ground beef substitute.

Next comes adding flavors, which usually involves marinating, meaning letting your tofu sit in a mix of species, aromatics, and usually some liquids (oil, vinegar, citrus juice of choice, liquid smoke, or other sauces). I recommend being patient and leaving the tofu to marinate for at least an hour. But, if you are pressed for time you could use the marinade ingredients and cook the tofu in them. You will end up with something really flavorful that way as well, just not necessarily grill or broiling friendly.

These tofu steak tips can be roasted, as I did here, but they can also be made into kebabs and grilled. That was my original plan but rain interfered and I went from outdoor grilling straight into the hot oven. The tofu steak tips did not mind at all and come out absolutely delicious!

These Roasted Tofu Steak Tips are a great summer food. They are also very grill friendly and easy to transform into kebabs!
Roasted Tofu Steak Tips, Plated via Eat the Vegan Rainbow

Roasted Tofu Steak Tips

What you’ll need:

2 16 oz. block tofu, extra firm

1/3 cup olive oil

1/3 cup Worcestershire sauce (vegan)

1/3 cup soy sauce

1/3 cup balsamic vinegar

3 cloves garlic pressed

1 tablespoon dry basil

1 tablespoon dry oregano

Zest of one lemon


What you’ll do:

  1. Drain the tofu and press it using a method that works for you. I usually leave my blocks of tofu in a strainer for few hours on the kitchen counter or overnight in the refrigerator. You can do whatever your normally do to prep your tofu.
  2. Once drained, cut the tofu into 1 in x 1 in (2.5 x 2.5 cm) cubes.
  3. Combine all the other ingredients in a large freezer or food storage bag (or a large container with a flat bottom) and mix everything together. Add tofu cubes and let the tofu marinate for 1-2 hours.
  4. Preheat the oven to 450 F (230 C).
  5. Line the baking sheet with parchment paper and spread the marinated tofu cubes on it. Make sure to leave some space between them for more even roasting.
  6. Put the tofu into the oven and roast for 15 minutes. Check, turn over if needed and roast for another 10 minutes. The tofu steak tips should be brown, with charred edges. You can adjust the roasting time to fit your taste preference – I like my steak tips charred and blackened!
  7. Take out of the oven and enjoy with a salad, roasted corn, mashed potatoes, coleslaw, corn bread, pasta salad, or anything else you like. These tofu steak tips are versatile and are a great match for many of the summer favorites. And as I already mentioned they can be made into fantastic kebabs and grilled!

Copyright © Eat the Vegan Rainbow, 2017

Homemade Ground Beef Substitute

 

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Homemade Ground Beef Substitute, via Eat the Vegan Rainbow
Without a doubt ground beef is one of the staples of American cuisine. And it is also something that many meat substitutes are trying to recreate. This means that you can now go to most supermarkets and get a meatless ground beef product off the shelf. Some are tried are really good, like the Trader Joe’s one or the Beyond Burger, but it’s the price tag that is a bit troublesome plus I am a bit of a control freak and like to know exactly what goes on my plate.

So, I have been making my own meatless beef. I’ve been fairly happy with my burger experiment, and I’ve been also happy with a tofu based ground beef substitute that was created by Glow Kitchen. That ground beef substitute was very influential in my early days of vegan cooking that I recently included it in my list of 5 Must-Try Recipes for Beginner Vegans. It worked really well in applications like stuffed peppers but I wanted to explore ground mushroom and TVP (textured vegetable protein) based versions. I had such an amazing result when I used ground mushrooms, in combination with lentils, as a filling for Shepherd’s Pie, that I just have to figure out a way to fold them into a ground beef substitute.

As a general rule, if you want to recreate a meat dish without using any meat, stick with spices, texture and consistency that evokes the appearance that you are aiming for. Grounding mushrooms was definitely a breakthrough for me, as well as using TVP without pre-soaking! Plus, adding spices like cumin and paprika, as well as coconut aminos or a dash of soy sauce brings out that meat-like flavor. My final touch is just a little bit of tomato paste, for color as well as flavor. When all the components are in, and well mixed, I let the mixture just rest for at least an hour. Thus helps flavors merge and combine and TVP soften.

At the end, what you have after all this mixing, grinding and resting is a mix that looks very much like ground beef yet tastes so much better and richer. You can use the mix to stuff your peppers, in a sauce like Bolognese, or sautée as us and use in tacos, on pizza, or for any other purpose you can think of. You can definitely make meatballs out of it, or even hamburgers. This homemade ground beef substitute is versatile and very budget friendly so you can definitely afford to make batch after batch especially if you get your TVP from jet.com, the cheapest source of this ingredient I could find.

Homemade Ground Beef Substitute

What you’ll need:

10 oz (283 g) white mushrooms

1 1/3 cups TVP (textured vegetable protein)

1 tablespoon liquid smoke

1/3 cup vegetable oil

2 tablespoon tomato paste

1 tablespoon liquid coconut aminos

1 teaspoon cumin

1 teaspoon paprika

1 teaspoon onion powder

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

Cooking spray (if the idea is to sautée the mix; for other applications just follow the procedure you would normally follow)

What you’ll do:

  1. Wipe the mushrooms with a paper towel to remove any bits of dirt. Put in the food processor and grind to a fine grind. Pour out into a large mixing bowl.
  2. Add the rest of the ingredients, except cooking spay, mix well and let the mixture rest for at least 1 hour.
  3. Once the mix has rested it is ready to use. The mix browns well and makes for a great taco filling or nacho topping. It can also be used to stuff peppers and to make hamburgers or meatless meatballs, in which case you don’t to brown the mix but ma need to form patties and leave them in the fridge to firm up before cooking.

 

Copyright © Eat the Vegan Rainbow, 2017

Black-Eyed Peas Burgers

Black-Eyed Pea Burgers
Black-Eyed Pea Burgers, via Eat the Vegan Rainbow
Still hunting for that perfect meat-free burger? I’m with you and I’m still searching. But in the meantime my Roasted Red Peppers Chickpea Burgers I shared recently, and these Black-Eyed Peas Burgers here are really close to where I want my burgers to be.

As with the chickpea burgers, the big secret to getting the burgers to stick together is to let the patties firm up in the fridge or the freezer. The rest is really easy and requires a large mixing bowl, a stick (immersion) blender (or a food processor), and couple of easy to find ingredients. These are really simple and I’d say they qualify as a quick mid-week dinner.

Black-Eyed Peas Burgers

What you’ll need:

2 15.5 oz (439 g) cans black-eyed peas

3 large carrots

1/2 cup pumpkin seeds

2 tablespoons almond butter

2 tablespoons flax meal

1 teaspoon smoked paprika

1 teaspoon onion powder

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 tablespoon sesame seeds

Cooking spray

What you’ll do:

  1. In a small mixing bowl combine flax meal with 4 tablespoons of hot water to make Flax Egg.
  2. Place black-eyed peas in a strainer and rinse well. Drain to remove excess water and pat dry. Place in a large mixing bowl.
  3. Use a food processor to chop the carrots very finely. Add to the mixing bowl.
  4. Add the rest of the ingredients, including the Flax Egg, and blend everything together using an immersion (stick) blender. If you don’t have a stick blender you can also use a food processor. The mix should be relatively smooth, but some chunkiness is OK.
  5. Line the large tray with wax paper. Use your hands to form the burger patties. They should be about 1/8 in (1 cm) thick. Arrange the patties on the tray, cover with another sheet of wax paper and put in the freezer for about 30 minutes. If you leave them in the refrigerator you will need to give them couple of hours.
  6. Place a large pan over medium-high heat and let it get nice and hot. Spray the bottom with the cooking spray and add burgers to the pan in small batches. Cook for about 5-6 minutes on one side then flip over and finish cooking for another 4-5 minutes on the other side.
  7. Serve as you would any other burger, perhaps with some Fat Free Roasted Potato Medallions on the side as a healthy alternative to French fries.
  8. Copyright © Eat the Vegan Rainbow, 2017

A Very Beefy Veggie Burger

"Beef" Veggie Burger
“Beef” Veggie Burger, via Eat the Vegan Rainbow
For many researching and investing into meat alternatives, making a plant-based burger that looks, cooks and tastes like real beef has become one of the most important goals. Several years ago, I heard Pat Brown, founder and CEO of Impossible Foods, give a talk and one thing Pat mentioned was how incredibly hard it is to re-create a plant-based hamburger. Burgers are such a huge part of American culture, so offering a meatless alternative is unlikely to convince anyone to go meat-free unless that alternative is spot on, juicy and meaty.

But, lets be honest: veggie burgers are definitely not hitting this mark. For the most part, they are a mix of vegetables thrown together and shaped into a patty that usually falls apart as you are grilling it. I know this sounds mean, but it is what it is. I myself have been down the road of trying to figure out how to keep my veggie burgers together while at the same time make them taste authentic many times before. Some attempts have been a total failure, some, like this Roasted Red Peppers and Chickpea Burger, have been a success.

Don’t get me wrong – I love veggie burgers! They have amazing flavors and textures, and they are fun to eat. Also: I am not a fan of hamburgers, but I live in a land of hamburger lovers so I agree with Pat Brown’s general idea that in order to convince people to give up their meat we need to offer them something incredible to sizzle on the grill and stick inside the bun. And just in case you are wondering whether there is any such thing available in retail stores, you should head out to your local Whole Foods Market and get some Beyond Meat‘s The Beyond Burger. I had it few nights ago and it blew my mind!

So although I am most certainly going to be getting those burgers again, they do come with a relatively unfriendly price tag, which means I am where I started: trying to home brew an impossible, incredible and all-around awesome meat-free burger. This recipe for A Very Beefy Veggie Burger is one step closer to achieving that ideal combination of flavor, texture and grillability and the tip top secret of this recipe is to use TVP (Textured Vegetable Protein) without pre-soaking and letting it absorb all the ground mushroom and mashed beans juices. This batch of burgers was cooked in a grill pan because the weather in New England has been very rainy lately and I just could not wait to make these, but the patties are firm enough to withstand the ultimate test of an outdoor grill.

As for condiments, sky is truly the limit. I paired these burgers with some Vegan Herb Mayo, cucumber and tomato slices, butter lettuce and Roasted Red Beets Hummus, but you can use anything you like. The flavor of these patties is very, very similar to what you can expect from a hamburger, but the texture and juiciness does need more work. Still, I will try, try, try again until I develop the recipe for a mouth-watering, and inexpensive, beef-less burger. As Silicon Valley is now funding these types of efforts, perhaps I can re-write the stereotype of “two guys in a garage” into “one woman in the kitchen” story? That would be fun!!!

Very Beefy Plant-Based Burger
Very Beefy Plant-Based Burger, via Eat the Vegan Rainbow
Note: Just in case you are asking yourself why we should go meatless, Bill Gates offered some well-articulated arguments in the Future of Food post few years ago.

 

A Very Beefy Veggie Burger

What you’ll need:

2 15.5 oz (439 g) cans of Roman (cranberry) beans

1 cup TVP (Textured Vegetable Protein; I used Bob’s Red Mill TVP)

8 oz. (227 g) baby bella mushrooms

2 tablespoons almond butter

2 tablespoons nutritional yeast

1 tablespoon soy sauce, reduced sodium

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce, vegan

1 teaspoon onion powder

1 teaspoon garlic powder

Cooking spray

 

What you’ll do:

  1. Drain and rinse the beans. Pat dry and place in the large mixing bowl.
  2. Use a food processor to grind the mushrooms. Add the mushroom meat to the mixing bowl.
  3. Add TVP and the rest of the ingredients (except the cooking spray) into the bowl and use the immersion blender to blend everything into a mixture that looks like ground beef, with the same type of texture. You can also do this step in the food processor.
  4. Let the mixture stand for 30 to 60 minutes on the kitchen counter, then shape the burgers and leave them in the refrigerator for about an hour to firm up. This will give TVP time to soak up all the juice from mushrooms and bean and soften just enough to give a nice ground beef texture to the burger without making it too soft and crumbly.
  5. Heat the grill or the grill pan on high and make sure that your grill grate or your pan are generously oiled. Reduce the heat to medium before putting your burgers on. Grill for 4 to 5 minutes on one side, then flip over and grill for additional 4 to 5 minutes.
  6. Put your burger buns on the grill for a minute or two to toast them gently, then top with mayo, burger, cucumber slices, tomatoes, lettuce, roasted beet hummus or whatever floats your boat – and bite in!!!

Correction: the original post said “yeast extract” but that’s not correct. I used nutritional yeast so I made the correction now. Thanks to Mary Dion for flagging this to me on Facebook!!!

Copyright © Eat the Vegan Rainbow, 2017

Oh My… It’s Another Meatless Shepherd’s Pie

Meatless Shepherd’s Pie, via Eat the Vegan Rainbow
The first full meal post on this blog was my version of that classic, Shepherd’s Pie. The reason I kicked things off by veganizing a classic was that I wanted to push the limits and see if I can do it and be happy with the results. At that point I was one month into plant-based diet, and felt that I need to step it up in terms of how I create my meals. That’s a quick story behind the first Vegan Shepherd’s Pie.

Once that recipe was published I did get some backlash from people who firmly believed that a Shepherd’s Pie without meat is an abomination. I obviously don’t agree and have now created another version of Shepherd’s Pie that is so close to the original that very few people will know the difference. I served this for Easter Sunday dinner few weeks ago, and it was a hit!

The three main tricks I used are to fully cook the lentils on their own in water, to use full sprigs of rosemary without chopping, and to grind the mushrooms in the food processor before using. All these three things put together make this Shepherd’s Pie taste very, very similar to the ground lamb containing version. Except that this recipe leaves the lambs alone – which can’t be bad, right?


And if you are not concerned about the well-being of lambs much, perhaps you’ll find the health benefits of this recipe or its budget-friendliness more appealing. Regardless of your reasons, I hope you find at least one to compel you to try this meatless Shepherd’s Pie. Enjoy!!!

Meatless Shepherd’s Pie

What you’ll need (for 8 HUNGRY people):

14 oz (400 g) dark (brown) lentils

4 large carrots, chopped

5 celery stalks, diced

1 onion, diced

20 oz (570 g) mushrooms

3-4 sprigs of rosemary

2 tablespoons thyme, chopped

4 cups green peas, frozen

6 potatoes, medium size

3 cloves garlic

1/4 cup almond milk

2 tablespoons olive oil

Cooking spray

What you’ll do:

  1. Cook lentils according to bag instructions. In brief, for this amount of lentils you’ll need 4-6 cups of water that you need to bring to boil. Once the water is boiling add rinsed lentils in and simmer until lentils are done, which will take 20 to 25 minutes. Set cooked lentils aside.
  2. Peel and cube the potatoes. Put them in a large pot, and add the garlic cloves too. You don’t need to chop the garlic as it will soften during boiling and you will be able to mash it with potatoes. Cover the potatoes with water and bring to boil. Decrease the heat and boil until potatoes are cooked through. Take the pot of the heat, and let it cool off before mashing.
  3. Clean the mushrooms with a paper towel to remove any visible bits of dirt. Use a food processor to chop the mushrooms until they are about the same size as little bits of ground meat.
  4. Spray the bottom of a large frying pan with cooking spray and turn the heat on to medium high. Add onion,  carrots and celery. Sauté for 3 to 5 minutes.
  5. Add whole sprigs of rosemary and chopped thyme and stir everything together. Sauté for another 8 to 10 minutes.
  6. Add chopped mushrooms, stir well and sauté until mushrooms are softened, which should not take longer than 5 minutes.
  7. Add frozen green peas, and mix everything together.  You can lower the heat or turn it completely off as all you need to do now is mix the pie filling until the peas thaw.
  8. Take rosemary sprigs out and discard. Some of the leaves will fall off and that’s OK. Remove as many as you can but leaving some in will help the flavor develop further.
  9. Add cooked lentils and mix everything together. Set aside.
  10. Preaheat the oven to 375 F (190 C).
  11. While the oven is preheating, mash the potatoes. To the pot of boiled potatoes that have been drained and cooked, add almond milk, olive oil and mash using a potato masher until the mashed potatoes are soft and smooth. You can always add more almond milk to get the consistency just right.
  12. Spay the bottom and the sides of a large baking dish with cooking spray. Pour the Shepherd’s Pie filling in and smooth out.
  13. Spoon the mashed potatoes over the top. Smooth out the mash and then using a fork create nooks and ridges. Spray the top with a bit more cooking spray and place in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes or until the potato topping is nice and browned.
  14. Serve with your favorite salad or even some vegan gravy. Trust me, this Shepherd’s Pie will leave you speechless!
  15. Copyright © Eat the Vegan Rainbow, 2017

Grilled Portobello Mushroom Steaks

Grilled Portobello Mushroom Steaks
Grilled Portobello Mushroom Steaks, via Eat the Vegan Rainbow
It’s that time of year in New England when we jump out of our winter lairs and onto our no-longer-snow-covered decks to fire up the grill. I love grilling, and if anyone ever told you that grilling is a guy thing, don’t listen to them as grilling is for everyone! There is something very primal that comes to forth when you find yourself outdoors, standing in front of the fire and flames, and you hear the sizzle of delicious food getting caramelized, charred and transformed into the mouth watering delights.

I love using my grill, especially during the summer months, because it gets the food cooked fast without heating the kitchen and makes clean up a breeze. Add to that a delight of summer evenings and eating outside, and it can hardly get better than that. I make piles of grilled vegetables and have even developed an awesome way of making grilled pizza, which I’ll share in another post.

Here I’ll share how to get the perfect Grilled Portobello Mushroom Steaks as grilled steaks are the quintessential example of this type of cooking. For this recipe to work you do need to use very large portobello mushroom caps. The ones I found in our local grocery store are about 4 to 5 in (10 to 12 cm) in diameter, and that’s the size I recommend for a recipe like this as the bigger portobello caps will hold up to grilling much better. Most of the really large portobello mushrooms will come without stems, but if the ones you get include the stems I recommend using the stems to make your own vegan “scallops”.

The recipe is really very simple and the mushroom steaks cook very quickly. The most time consuming step is putting the marinade together and letting the mushrooms soak up some flavors, which will take anywhere between one to two hours. If you are pressed for time you can skip this step and simply apply the same marinade liquid to the mushrooms as they grill.

Are there any tricks to getting a perfect grilled portobello mushroom steak? Yes, there are a couple. The first one is really more of an universal grilling advice than mushroom specific: make sure your grill grate is clean, hot and well oiled (for more on how to prepare your grill for perfect grilling results check this post out). This will help the food go on and not stick to the grates. I recommend using paper towel dipped in oil and a pair of long kitchen tongs to do this. The second trick is mushroom specific as I recommend grilling the mushrooms cap side facing up first in order to allow for all the excess moisture to drip out, before flipping the cap over. Finally, if you are into the grill marks you need to remember to rotate your cap by 90 degrees half way through the cooking.

Following these easy steps will bring delicious grilled mushroom steaks to your plate!

Grilled Portobello Mushroom Steaks

What you’ll need:

(for 4 servings)

4 extra large portobello mushroom caps

2 tablespoons A.1. steak sauce (or any other steak sauce, homemade or store-bought)

2 tablespoons soy sauce

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon onion powder

2 teaspoons smoked paprika

2 teaspoons chili powder

Some oil to brush your grill

What you’ll do:

  1. Wipe the portobello caps with a paper towel to remove any dirt. Set aside.
  2. Whisk together all the rest of the ingredients in a container large enough to hold all four mushroom steaks.
  3. Place the mushroom steaks into the marinade and make sure they are fully coated and covered. Marinate for 30 to 60 minutes. If you decide to skip this step simply coat the mushrooms with the marinade before placing on the grill.
  4. While mushrooms are marinating, prepare your outdoor grill for medium high heat grilling. If you have any questions on how to do this, Whole Foods Market has a post that can help. Don’t have an outdoor grill? You can use the indoor grill or a grill pan for this recipe as well. In that case simply follow whatever steps you usually take when grilling indoors over medium high to high heat.
  5. Place your mushroom steaks on the grill top side up, spread some marinade over the steaks, and grill for 4 to 5 minutes.
  6. Spread some more marinade on top, turn the caps over and grill top side down for 3 minutes, then lift up and rotate by a very rough quarter turn, and grill for another 2 minutes. You can skip this rotating step. It does not change the flavor of the steaks, but it does make for those well-known (and loved) grill marks.
  7. Enjoy the perfect grilled portobello mushroom steak with your favorite sides, like Cauliflower Mash and a field greens salad!
  8. Copyright © Eat the Vegan Rainbow, 2017

Roasted Red Peppers Chickpea Burgers

Roasted Red Pepper Chickpea Burger
Roasted Red Pepper Chickpea Burgers, via Eat the Vegan Rainbow
There are many things that every time I make then turn out perfect and exactly as I want them. Well, veggie burgers ain’t that! I’ve tried many veggie burger recipes and had failure after failure to reckon with.

The main issue with most of the veggie burger recipes I tried (and failed at) is that the burger consistency is just so delicate that they fall apart as they are cooked. One way to make the veggie burgers sturdier is to use a grain or a flour based binder, like bread crumbs, which I use in my Vegan Jackfruit “Crab” Cakes, or oats, which I used in my Meatless Meatballs. But, I really wanted to see if I can skip using those in a burger.

The recipe I came up with uses chickpeas – in all honestly because I bought one too many cans of chickpeas at a recent sale – and some roasted red peppers, for color and flavor. It also uses sunflower seeds that add a different texture, a bit of crunch, good amount of healthy fats and a good amount of iron, which is something that I keep in mind when cooking given that meat, a great source of dietary iron, is off my table. Additionally, a key ingredient that glues the burgers together is “flax egg”, which is flax meal soaked in water which turns it gooey and slimy, just like egg!  The mix comes together really quickly and all you need will be a stick (hand-held) blender or a food processor.

Roasted Red Pepper Chickpea Burger Mix
Roasted Red Pepper Chickpea Burgers Mix, via Eat the Vegan Rainbow
The rest of the preparation does take a bit of time but really not much effort because you will let the fridge or a freezer do some work for you. Placing formed patties into a fridge or a freezer to firm up is officially the greatest tip ever. It helped my Jackfruit “Crab” Cakes, and I can now say it most certainly helped these Roasted Red Pepper Chickpea Burgers. I recommend keeping the patties in the freezer for quite a bit, until they are almost frozen on the edges, because these burgers are still gentle and soft while they cook. They do come together as they cool off and they will be great when you serve them, but you will need to be gentle and careful when you flip them so give the patties plenty of room.

Roasted Red Peppers Chickpea Burgers in the Pan
Roasted Red Peppers Chickpea Burgers in the Pan, via Eat the Vegan Rainbow
Leave the burgers to cool just for couple of minutes. As I mentioned, they will come out of the pan pretty soft and they will get firmer as they cool. You can serve these burgers any way you like your burgers served, in a bun or without. They have a delicious, just slightly sweet flavor from the roasted red peppers and the lovely browning they get as they cook.

Could you bake or broil these? I think that would work. Could you form patties, freeze them and then cook them a week later? I don’t see why not. But in that case I recommend thawing for a bit before letting them hit the griddle. Could these be grilled? Well, sorry to disappoint you but I don’t think so. But, this is not to say that I am not going to try. After all, experimenting is half the fun…

Roasted Red Pepper Chickpea Burger
Roasted Red Pepper Chickpea Burgers, via Eat the Vegan Rainbow

Roasted Red Pepper Chickpea Burgers

What you’ll need:

3 15.5 oz (439 g) cans chickpeas (garbanzo beans), low sodium

1/2 cup roasted red peppers, homemade or store bought (jarred in water)

1/4 cup sunflower seeds, roasted and unsalted

1 tablespoon tomato paste

1 teaspoon onion powder

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon chili powder

1 teaspoon smoked paprika

1 teaspoon soy sauce

2 tablespoon flax meal

4 tablespoons hot water

Cooking spray

What you’ll do:

  1. In a mixing/measuring cup mix flax meal and hot water. Stir well and let stand for 15-30 minutes.
  2. Place the chickpeas in a large colander or a strainer. Rinse well and drain.
  3. Put chickpeas, roasted red peppers, sunflower seeds, “flax eggs”, and all the spices in a large and deep mixing bowl (or the food processor if that’s what you are using instead of the stick blender) and blend until mostly blended. I like some texture to the burgers so I do leave some bigger chunks around, but follow your taste buds and preferences here.
  4. Line a flat serving platter or a tray with wax paper. Using your hands shape the burgers and place them on the tray. This amount of the burger mix makes about 8 good size burgers. Put the burgers in the freezer for 30-45 minutes of refrigerator for 2-3 hours. If using the freezer method make sure the patties are not frozen through but still soft in the middle and mostly solid at the edges. If you are using the refrigerator, the patties need to give some resistance when you poke them.
  5. Spray the bottom of your frying pan with cooking spray and heat over high heat. Put 3-4 burgers in at a time, how many depends on the size of your pan and it’s important to keep in mind that these burgers are on a softer side so need some extra space around them to help with moving around and flipping. Cook for 4-5 minutes on one side, carefully flip around and cook for another 3-4 minutes.
  6. Let the cooked burgers rest for 5 minutes or so, then serve!
  7. Copyright © Eat the Vegan Rainbow, 2017

Gluten-free Vegan Spaghetti & Meatballs

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Gluten-free Vegan Spaghetti & Meatballs, via Eat the Vegan Rainbow
Can gluten-free, vegan cooking be budget friendly, healthy, feed the whole family, and yet leave everyone feeling they are getting away with something? The answer is yes, and this recipe is my evidence. I use no fancy ingredients, and no fancy techniques.

How did I end up here? Well, as they say “Necessity is the mother of invention”. What happened is that I found myself facing a large bag of frozen vegetable mix, which I have cooked with many times before never to any great success. This is a classic item you can find in any grocery store – a bag that includes unspecified amounts of frozen peas, corn, green beans, carrots, and lima beans. The price on these is usually too hard to resist, and they keep really well if kept frozen so I usually have a couple in my freezer in case of an emergency where all other options dry up.

So one of those emergency situations came up and this time around, perhaps because of all this blogging I’ve been doing recently, I had a real brain wave. I decided to transform the relatively amorphous tasting vegetable mix into really incredible vegan meatballs, or should I say veggie balls?

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Frozen Vegetable Mix, thawed, via Eat the Vegan Rainbow
There are couple of simple tips that when put together make this recipe work. First of all, thaw your vegetables don’t cook them! Depending on the amount of veggies you use this may take 5-10 minutes in the microwave on high. Once the veggies are thawed and soft all through, use a stick (immersion) blender, or a food processor to make a thick paste out of it all. This will be a base for your “meatballs”.

Another thing that you will need to do is add flavor to the mix. Although each one of these veggies is lovely on their own and when fresh, put all together and after freezing and thawing they do lose some of their flavor. My secret ingredient in this recipe is definitely a dash of Trader Joe’s Chile Lime Seasoning Bland. If you don’t live in the area with a handy Trader Joe’s store near by, you can use regular chili powder and add some lime or lemon zest – that will do the trick!

You will have to be a bit patient with this recipe as it does take a bit of time. First of all, I use oats to help the meatballs stick together. I did not leave the oats whole, rather I blended them all into the veggie mix using a stick blender, added the spices, and left the mix to sit for about 15 minutes. That gives oats some time to absorb the liquid and make the mix stick together better, which helps for the next step – forming the “meatballs” and browning them. I recommend using a Dutch oven to brown the “meatballs”, as well as simmering the rich tomato sauce.

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Vegan “Meatballs” Browned in a Dutch Oven, via Eat the Vegan Rainbow
One word of advice is not to overcrowd your Dutch oven, and keep some room in between the “meatballs”. This helps them cook, and helps you maneuver them around. Once the “meatballs” are nicely browned set them aside and use the same Dutch oven for putting your tomato sauce together. I kept my recipe simple and my cost down by using canned crushed tomatoes and using some crushed garlic, dried oregano and dried basil to flavor the sauce. The sauce does not need to cook for long, and once it starts to simmer nicely and gently you can add the “meatballs” back.

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Vegan Meatballs in Tomato Sauce, via Eat the Vegan Rainbow
Don’t forget to lower the heat , bring the post to a very gentle simmer, and put the lid on! Without the lid you will soon end up with tomato sauce all over the stove top and the floor as this sauce does erupt in tiny little tomato sauce geysers.

To keep the recipe ultra healthy and gluten-free, I paired the meatballs with simple Zucchini Spaghetti.

Gluten-free Vegan Spaghetti & Meatballs

What you’ll need:

2 lbs (1 kg) bag of classic frozen vegetable mix

2 cups oats

1 tablespoon tomato paste

1 tablespoon soy sauce, reduced sodium

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon onion powder

1 teaspoon chili powder

1 teaspoon Trader Joe’s Chile Lime Seasoning Bland

1 1/2-2 28 oz (800 g) can crushed tomatoes

2 tablespoons crushed garlic

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1 teaspoon dried basil

Cooking spray

Fresh basil for serving

What you’ll do:

  1. Place the frozen vegetable into a microwave safe dish and microwave on high for 5-10 minutes to thaw the vegetables and slightly heat them through.
  2. Place the vegetables into a large mixing bowl. Use the stick blender to grind the vegetables into a relatively fine paste.
  3. Add oats and blend again.
  4. Add tomato paste, soy sauce, as well as onion, garlic, chili and lime chili powder. Mix well and let stand for 15 minutes or so.
  5. Spray the bottom of a large Dutch oven with cooking spray and bring to medium high heat. Use 1/4 cup or the ice cream scoop to scoop out the “meatball” mix and form the balls. Place them into the hot Dutch oven and let brown for 2-3 minutes. Turn the “meatballs” over and brown on the other side. Take them out of the Dutch oven and set aside. Spray with more cooking spray if needed and add another batch of “meatballs”. Continue until all your “meatballs” have been browned.
  6. Bring the heat up to high, add more cooking spray, and add crushed garlic and dried oregano and basil. Let it bloom, develop & release the aroma for 1-2 minutes. Add crushed tomatoes. Depending how much tomato sauce you’d like to have you may need to adjust the amount of crushed tomatoes you add. Bring the tomato sauce to a simmer and let it simmer for 5-10 minutes.
  7. Turn the heat way down and add back the “meatballs”. You will likely have two layers of meatballs which is fine, but it’s a good idea to keep in mind that they are relatively soft so treat them gently! Make sure they are nicely snuggled and covered by the sauce. Put the lid on and let the “meatballs” and sauce simmer for 15 – 20 minutes.
  8. When you are ready to serve, start with a generous amount of Zucchini Spaghetti, add couple of vegan meatballs, spread some sauce, and top with fresh basil. Enjoy!

Update: Few days ago I used the same “meatball” mix and made a “meatloaf” out of it. It worked really well!!! Here are couple of pictures to show you what it all looks like. One tip: bake the “meatloaf” on 375 F (190 C) for 25-30 minutes first, before putting on the tomato paste, then bake for 15 minutes more. Let the “meatloaf” stand for 15 minutes before cutting – the loaf will be soft when it comes out of the oven but it will firm up!

Copyright © Eat the Vegan Rainbow, 2017

Vegan Stuffed Peppers with Homemade Beef Substitute

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Vegan Stuffed Peppers with Homemade Beef Substitute, via Eat the Vegan Rainbow
My mom is the queen of stuffed bell peppers. Her peppers have been well-known within our extended family, and frequently requested by friends and family when they visit. What I am saying is that stuffed bell peppers should be in my DNA, but it took me years to transform what I learned in my mom’s kitchen to a dish that will be a crowd pleaser.

The first major breakthrough in my pursuit to a perfect stuffed bell pepper recipe came when I realized that cutting the peppers in half lengthwise makes my life so much easier than cutting just the top off. Cutting peppers lengthwise makes cleaning out the seeds and the spines a breeze, plus helps distribute the stuffing and helps the stuffing stay put. It also helps peppers cook faster. Another thing that I found through many round of experimentation is that it helps if you pre-cooks peppers just a bit before stuffing them. I tried parboiling and it helps but it changes the flavor of peppers in a direction that I don’t really like. So, I recommend par-roasting, which means letting your peppers roast for 10-15 minutes, until they just start to soften and get browned on the surface. This is a great way to jump start cooking your papers and add some flavor.

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Pre-roasted Bell Peppers, via Eat the Vegan Rainbow
The second breakthrough came when I discovered that the stuffing does not need to include a starch component. You can have lovely stuffed bell peppers without filling them with rice, or potatoes, or quinoa, or barley, or any of that stuff. I am not saying these are bad things to use, but most recipe use them as space fillers more than anything else. But for me in this recipe, a mix of yellow onion, red onion, white mushrooms, and baby bella (crimini) mushrooms. One tip here is to chop all these to pretty small pieces so that they match the size of ground meat chunks you would usually find in a stuffed bell pepper recipe. Another tip: for a recipe like this you can use both the mushroom tops and stems, and minimize the waste!

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Vegan Stuffed Peppers with Homemade Ground Beef Substitute, via Eat the Vegan Rainbow
This brings me to my most recent breakthrough: vegan substitute for ground meat. I followed this recipe I found on Glow Kitchen, with only one modifications – I did not add olive oil and used cooking spray on my baking sheet instead. The recipe produces amazing ground beef substitute and uses tofu and a handful of pantry staples. The prep time is a bit on a longer side, as it takes about 1 hour in the oven with frequent stirring, but it is worth it!!! I think you will love this so much that I recommend doubling the recipe right off the bat.

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Vegan Ground Beef Substitute, recipe via Glow Kitchen, execution via Eat the Vegan Rainbow
Finally, I did use some vegan cheese to top the stuffed peppers, but you can definitely skip that step or top them with fresh Italian (flat leaf) parsley. Or both!

Vegan Stuffed Peppers with Homemade Beef Substitute

What you’ll need:

4 bell peppers (red, orange, yellow, green – any color will do)

8 oz. (225 g) white mushrooms, finely diced

8 oz. (225g) baby bella (crimini) mushrooms, finely diced

1/2 large yellow onion, finely diced

1/2 red red onion, finely diced

1 batch of Vegan Substitute for Ground “Beef”

15 oz. (425 g) crushed tomatoes, can

1 teaspoon smoked paprika

1/4 cup vegan cheese, shredded

Cooking spray

What you’ll do:

  1. Prepare the ground beef substitute according to instructions here. You can make this a day ahead, which is what I did. Also, you can use any store bought ground beef substitute you like.
  2. Preheat oven to 425 F (220 C).
  3. Wash and dry the peppers, then cut lengthwise and clean out the seeds and spines. Put them into a roasting pan and spray gently with cooking spray. Par-roast for 15 minutes or so. Take them out of the oven and remove any liquid that peppers released during roasting. Set aside.
  4. Lower the oven temperature to 350 F (175 C).
  5. Sauté onions and mushrooms on medium heat with a bit of cooking spray for 5-8 minutes. Stir in beef substitute and sauté for another 5 minutes. Turn the heat off and mix in smoked paprika. Your stuffing is ready for the next step!
  6. Pour the can of crushed tomatoes into your baking dish. Place par-roasted peppers in, and fill them with the stuffing. Cover the baking dish with foil and put in the oven for 15-20 minutes. Remove the foil and bake uncovered for 10 minutes.
  7. Sprinkle the cheese on top and let it melt which will take another 5 minutes. And that is it. You are ready to enjoy!

Copyright © Eat the Vegan Rainbow, 2017

Vegan Mexican Lasagna with Soy Chorizo

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Vegan Mexican Lasagna with Soy Chorizo, via Eat the Vegan Rainbow
Few years ago when I was first trying to minimize the amount of gluten in my diet, I discovered that corn tortillas work very well as a substitute for lasagna noodles. Corn tortillas as lasagna noodles have quite a few advantages over the regular kind. First of all, they are ready to go and don’t need any preparation. Having said that, I did initially experiment with toasting them just slightly before use, and this did enhance their flavor but at the end the taste benefit was not sufficient to going through the toasting process.

To me the second advantage is the flavor. The regular lasagna noodles are more of a bystanders without adding any specific flavor to the dish, while corn tortillas are in the midst of flavors. As I started using them in lasagnas, I also transitioned away from using Italian ingredients and flavors and to using types of things that you would find in burritos or fajitas.

This Vegan Mexican Lasagna with Soy Chorizo recipe uses the same strategy. I combine two types of peppers and two kinds of onions, which when nicely browned add a hint of fajitas to this lasagna. On this occasion I gave them a pretty fine dice, but you can definitely cut them lengthwise if you are into getting even closer to that fajita style.

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Vegan Mexican Lasagna with Soy Chorizo Ingredients, via Eat the Vegan Rainbow
This recipe uses Trader Joe’s Soy Chorizo and because of the intense flavors that this soy chorizo brings to table you will not need to add much, if any, additional spices. Additionally, this soy chorizo is fairly oily so I start with the soy chorizo, let it brown just slightly and release the oil, and then I add peppers and onions and let them cook until veggies are gently caramelized.

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Trader Joe’s Soy Chorizo, via Eat the Vegan Rainbow
Once the stuffing mix is done, it is time to assemble the lasagna and, about 25-30 minutes later, enjoy this dish rich in flavor!

Vegan Mexican Lasagna with Soy Chorizo

(2-4 servings)

What you’ll need:

1/2 Trader Joe’s Soy Chorizo

1 red pepper, diced

1 orange pepper, diced

1/2 red onion, diced

1/2 yellow onion, diced

Cooking spray

8 corn tortillas

1/4 cup shredded cheese, vegan

8 x 8 in (20 x 20 cm) baking dish

What you’ll do:

  1. Preheat oven to 375F (190C).
  2. Put Soy Chorizo into a non-stick pan and turn the heat on to medium high. Please note that Trader Joe’s Soy Chorizo comes in a inedible casing that you will have to remove and discard. Use your mixing spoon to break it apart. Let it brown and release its oil for 3-5 minutes.
  3. Add diced peppers and onions to the pan, and let them gently brown and caramelize for 5-10 minutes. The exact time depends on whether you prefer your peppers and onions a bit more on the crunchy side or a bit more on a soft side.
  4. Spray the bottom and the sides of your 8 x 8 in (20 x 20 cm) baking dish with the cooking spray. Place 4 tortillas on the bottom. Add your filling and spread over tortillas evenly. Top with 4 tortillas. Spray the top lightly with cooking spray. Sprinkle the cheese, and cover the dish with foil.
  5. Put the Mexican lasagna into the oven and bake for 20 minutes covered, and the last 5 minutes uncovered so your cheese topping gets nice and melted.
  6. Enjoy!

Note: Just before serving Vegan Mexican Lasagna with Soy Chorizo you can sprinkle the top with fresh cilantro and a squeeze of lime. And while we are packing on some good Mexican flavors, why not add some fresh simple salsa, guacamole, or pickled jalapeños on the side?

Copyright © Eat the Vegan Rainbow, 2017

Vegan Chicken Tikka Masala

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Vegan Chicken Tikka Masala with Saffron Brown Basmati Rice, via Eat the Vegan Rainbow
Chicken Tikka Masala has been on the menu of all Indian restaurants that I ever went to. But the origins of this dish are far from clear, some claiming that the dish was created in Glasgow, while others claim it originates from Punjab. Regardless of its origin and history, every Chicken Tikka Masala recipe I ever tasted had five things in common: juicy and tender chicken,a yogurt marinade, fragrant tomato simmer sauce, cream, and lots and lots of ghee (clarified butter).  These five things make Chicken Tikka Masala incredibly tasty, as well as elaborate to make, as well as very heavy on saturated fat and calories.

Well, I think the dish is overdue for a makeover, and there are many that agree with this view. While researching, I found many recipes that explore using tofu, meatless chicken strips, cauliflower, chickpeas, or other things as a chicken substitute, and I bet these all taste great. But, what I wanted to do here is take my new favorite ingredient, jackfruit, which I recently transformed into a fabulous Jackfruit Tacos, and see if it works in an Indian dish.

I also wanted to make a lengthy prep into something more manageable, so my recipe uses a slow cooker to do all the work of bringing jackfruit, spices and the tomato simmer sauce together. This also helps with the fat content, which I cut way, way down while maintaining the intensity of the flavors. The resulting recipe is straightforward but there are couple of tricks and tips to it.

First tip is to use a slow cooker liner. I am not sure if there are other brands out there, but I found that Reynolds Slow Cooker Liners work really well. The food gets cooked perfectly and the clean up is a breeze!

Second tip is to quick pre-cook your aromatics. In this case I use onions and garlic, and apply a method that I found in one of the America’s Test Kitchen cookbooks where you mix your aromatics with a bit of oil and microwave them for 5-6 minutes before adding them to the slow cooker. I’ve been using this method for more than a year now and apply it to get the aromatics (onions, garlic, carrots, celery,…) going, because I found that the slow cooker just can’t get them to develop the slightly caramelized flavor that a stow top cooking will do for you. However, microwaving with a bit of oil takes care of that and works perfectly!

Third tip is to rinse, drain and dry your jackfruit, assuming that you are starting from the canned version, and chopped it into small pieces. Do make sure that jackfruit is well rinsed and drained. Otherwise you will end up with Vegan Chicken Tikka Masala that may be too salty and too soupy.

So, once you have your jackfruit and your aromatics ready, it’s time to get cooking!

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Vegan Chicken Tikka Masala in a slow cooker, via Eat the Vegan Rainbow

Vegan Chicken Tikka Masala

What you’ll need:

2 cans (10 oz, 280 g) young jackfruit in brine

1 can (28 oz, 800 g) crushed tomatoes, no salt added

1 yellow onion, diced

2 tablespoons garlic, crushed

2 tablespoons tomato paste

2 teaspoons ginger, freshly grated

2 teaspoons garam masala

2 teaspoons ground cumin

1/2 cup cashews, raw

1/4 cup almond milk

cooking spray

fresh cilantro

What you’ll do:

  1. Place diced onions, garlic (I use the one from the jar, as I shared in my Oh My! It’s Vegan Shepherd’s Pie! post) and tomato paste in a microwave safe bowl. Spray the aromatics with cooking spray, mix well and microwave on high for 5-6 minutes. Be careful when you handle the bowl, it will be hot so I recommend using oven mittens.
  2. Line your slow cooker with the liner, and add the can of crushed tomatoes, jackfruit that has been rinsed, dried and chopped to small pieces, as well as all the spices and the microwaved aromatics. Mix well. Cover and turn your slow cooker on “HIGH” for 4 hours.
  3. While the slow cooker is going, start soaking the cashews in water. Let them sit for 4 hours in the refrigerator and once your slow cooker is done take the cashews out, dump the water out and place the cashews and almond milk in a blender. What you are doing here is making vegan Cashew Cream, and this amount of cashews should give you more than enough to make this Vegan Chicken Tikka Masala into a creamy perfection. However, do take it easy when adding Cashew Cream and what I usually do is add the cream one tablespoon at the time, mix Vegan Chicken Tikka Masala well, and check for flavor. I keep adding the Cashew Cream until I am happy with the flavor, color and consistency. Don’t worry if you discover that you made a bit too much Cashew Cream, you can always use it to top your backed potatoes, or turn it into Vegan Herb Mayo.
  4. When  ready to serve, plate your Vegan Chicken Tikka Masala, or should I call it Jackfruit Tikka Masala?, with some Saffron Brown Basmati Rice and top it with fresh cilantro.

Note: Cilantro does tend to go flat in few days from purchase so one way to keep it fresh for longer is to rinse it out soon after you get back from the grocery store, put them in a glass jar like you would a bunch of flowers, and keep them on your kitchen counter top – which is a trick I picked up watching Rachel Ray. Also when it comes to cilantro, basil and parsley, I prefer to use my kitchen scissors to cut them up!

Copyright © Eat the Vegan Rainbow, 2017