Meatless Meals - Something to try!

April 08, 2015  •  2 Comments

One of the things that I feel is critical to our planet's future is taking some of the strain off of it. There's no denying climate change. Whether or not you believe that humans are the cause of it is another debate. However, whatever your stance, you can't argue that reducing our demands on it cannot be a bad thing.

One of the ways that I think a lot of people can help tremendously is by reducing meat consumption. Even just a relatively minor reduction in consumption would have dramatic and positive effects - if everyone cut back just a bit (at least one day per week). There are many sites / articles / presentations that discuss the positive benefits of reducing our dependency on meat but these are some of my favorites:

And a small amount of searching will yield even more resources to help you better understand the effects of our diet on the planet. And, my additional hope is that if we can reduce our demand and consumption on animal products then we might be able to reduce the cruelty under which a lot of these products are produced. By reducing consumption, I believe we can bring back compassion and make both our planet and ourselves - healthier.

Having said that, this post is about a recipe that I use as a staple for so many things:

  • Add taco seasoning and make tacos with it
  • Add marinara sauce and use it on pasta
  • Add it to lasagna
  • Use it in wraps to make a sandwich
  • Use it in puff pastry and make fun sandwich snacks, appetizers, or breakfast buns  
  • Use it with pita bread and dips like hummus and/or baba ganoush
  • Really, anywhere you use a loose ground beef mixture - try this one!

 

The mixMeatless Meals Made EasyA wonderfully tasty base that you can refrigerate and use in all sorts of recipes over a couple of days.

Meatless Meal Base

  • 1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
  • 1 regular onion, chopped
  • Vegan meat substitutesVegan meat substitutes One package of the Lightlife Gimme Lean Veggie Sausage (check the site for "where to buy" and then select this under Meatless Breakfast)
  • One package of Trader Joe's Beef-less Ground Beef (or, if you can't find Trader Joe's, any other meat-less ground beef substitute)
    • NOTE: I find mixing different types of meatless substitutes gives you a more interesting flavor. And, while the Lightlife sausage is labeled as breakfast sausage, I think it has a nice flavor - especially when combined with a ground beef substitute. 

  • 1 bunch of green onions, chopped
  • Salt, pepper, and additional seasonings to your preference
    • Sometimes I'll add mushrooms...
    • Sometimes I'll add sage / thyme / poultry seasoning...
    • Sometimes I'll add spicy red peppers

Prep:

  1. On low to medium heat, combine olive oil and add the chopped regular onion
  2. Add the Lightlife sausage in chunks and then use a pan-safe spatula to break down the sausage into smaller chunks
  3. Add the beef-less ground beef
  4. Add your seasonings and continue mixing for about 5-10 minutes while the mixture browns
  5. Once it's almost ready, add the chopped green onion
  6. Taste, and consider adding additional seasoning...
  7. Remove the amount you're not using today and refrigerate
  8. Mix in anything else that you're planning to use for today's mixture

And, that's it - you have a great base for so many other meals. And, if your family is still trying to get used to the idea of eating less meat or meat-free substitutes then consider going the taco or marinara direction for the first meal or two.

As a Comfort Food

Here's the end result (and not-very-pretty-looking) puff pastry filled with the meat mixture. I filled the dough with a just-cooked hot mixture and what I learned is that it's very hard to form the shapes without them breaking and making a bit of a mess. Consider making these from the cold / refrigerated mixture instead:

Ugly, but VERY tasty!Ugly, but VERY tasty! I used two packages of Pillsbury Crescent Rolls (Original) and each pastry is actually two pieces together. Play around with the shapes; it all tastes the same! And, while there's some debate about there being trace amounts of animal-derived ingredients in the Crescent Rolls it's very close to being vegan and definitely vegetarian. I prefer making vegan choices but I also want to have something easy to create on a "school night" and crescent rolls filled with this mixture and baked for 15 minutes is definitely super easy (and incredibly YUMMY). Just add ketchup and yum... a great snack, breakfast, dinner, etc... And, yes, it's not the most healthy snack ever (re: puff pastry) but this one is more to fill the comfort food gap; there are so many ways you can mix this meat mixture in a healthy way that this puff pastry option is just a once-in-a-while treat. And, you can add other things to the pastry like soy-based cheeses (for those of you going vegan) or rennet-free cheeses like Tillamook cheeses (if you're vegetarian but not vegan).

Really, a bit of prep on a Sunday to make a double batch and then you have Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday's meat-base for all sorts of very-different and delicious dishes. 

Enjoy!
k


Comments

2.Blue Water Images
Thanks Neal - it really is. I've had a few meat eaters that were actually surprised at how easily edible it was. "I could do that" was a common response actually!
1.Neal(non-registered)
That looks delicious, Kim!
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