Soy Porq Strips featuring Butler Soy Curls™

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Vegan Cuban Porq featuring Butler Soy Curls™

Soy porq strips are made with Butler Soy Curls™. When seasoned and prepared properly, this unique product yields an amazing roast pork-like texture and flavor (left unseasoned they have an inherent natural sweetness; proper seasoning helps mask this sweetness). Butler Soy Curls™ have a texture similar to textured soy/vegetable protein chunks but they are fundamentally different because they are made with non-GMO whole soybeans, as opposed to textured soy/vegetable protein, which is the extruded by-product of soybean oil production. As such, they are processed differently.

For gluten-free diets, replace the white shoyu with 2 tablespoons wheat-free tamari in the seasoning broth and add salt to taste.

If you cannot obtain the soy curls, textured vegetable/soy protein nuggets can be used (but you will have seasoned porq bites rather than porq strips). This recipe yields about 1 and ½ lbs.

Primary Ingredient
• 1 pkg (8 oz) Butler Soy Curls™ (or 8 oz textured vegetable/soy protein nuggets)

Seasoning Broth
• 3 cups water
• ¼ cup white shoyu (white soy sauce)*
• 4 tsp onion powder
• 2 tsp garlic powder
• 2 tsp nutritional yeast flakes
• 2 tsp mushroom powder (porcini or portabella)
• a few grinds of fresh ground black pepper
• 1 bay leaf

*If you cannot obtain white shoyu, substitute with 2 tablespoons tamari, soy sauce or Bragg Liquid Aminos™* and add salt to taste.

Additional Ingredients for Sautéing
• 2 T olive oil
• sea salt or kosher salt as desired
• additional coarse ground pepper as desired
• additional herbs and spices of your choice

Preparation
In a large saucepan, whisk together the seasoning broth ingredients, add the bay leaf and bring to a boil. Cover the saucepan, reduce the heat to a simmer and cook 10 minutes. Remove the saucepan from the heat and add the dry soy curls. Fold well in the broth and cover the saucepan. Allow to cool for 30 minutes to allow proper absorption of the seasoning and the color. Fold occasionally to ensure that all pieces are rehydrated and seasoned.

Drain the excess liquid (about ½ cup) and reserve if desired for enhancing vegetable broths or for seasoning other foods.

Add the olive oil to a large skillet and place over medium heat. Add the seasoned porq strips and any additional herbs and spices as desired (a splash of white wine is always a nice touch too). Sauté, turning frequently until most of the liquid has evaporated and the strips are nicely browned (the strips hold a great deal of flavored broth even after draining the excess, so browning may take a bit longer than other meat analogues). Taste and add salt and pepper as desired.

If you wish to toss the strips with sautéed onions or other vegetables, prepare them in a separate skillet and combine with the strips before serving.

Note: To shred the porq strips, tear the larger individual strips in half lengthwise with your fingers. While this takes a few extra minutes, it yields a better shredded texture than pulsing them in a food processor (which chops rather than shreds).

Cuban Porq Variation
Ingredients for finishing the prepared porq strips:
• ¼ cup fresh orange juice
• 2 T fresh lime juice
• 2 T cooking oil
• 1 large onion, halved and thinly sliced
• 9 cloves garlic, minced (3 T)
• 1 T fresh minced oregano or 1 tsp dried oregano
• 1 tsp fresh orange zest, loosely packed
• 1 tsp fresh lime zest loosely packed
• sea salt or kosher salt and coarse ground black pepper to taste

Finishing Technique
Combine the citrus juices in a small bowl; set aside.
Add the oil to a large non-stick skillet or wok and place over medium heat; sauté the onion until tender and translucent. Add the garlic, oregano, orange zest and lime zest and sauté 30 seconds.

Add the porq strips and sauté, tossing frequently, until lightly browned. Drizzle in the citrus juices and toss well to distribute. Continue to sauté until almost all the liquid has evaporated and the strips are beginning to brown in spots (this will take several minutes); season with salt and pepper to taste. Transfer to a serving platter. Garnish with lime wedges.


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Course Main Dish
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Lemon Tempeh

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DSC00777This dish is the vegan variation of Chinese lemon chicken. The tempeh can also be subbed with pressed extra-firm tofu or vegan chikun. The sauce is lemony, sweet, savory and has just a hint of heat.

Ingredients for the Tempeh
• 1 package (8 oz) tempeh (or 8 oz pressed and cubed block tofu or vegan chikun)
• 2 T tamari, soy sauce or Bragg Liquid Aminos™
• 2 T Shaoxing wine or sweet mirin (or water)
• 2 T unmodified potato starch, cornstarch or arrowroot powder
• 2 T all-purpose flour or rice flour
• toasted sesame seeds for garnish (optional)

For the Sauce
• 1 T peanut oil or other cooking oil, plus more for frying
• 2 cloves garlic, minced
• 2 tsp grated ginger
• 1 cup vegan chikun broth or vegetable broth
• ¼ cup fresh lemon juice
• 2 T organic sugar, or to taste
• 1 tsp fresh lemon zest
• 1 tsp sambal oelek, Sriracha™ or other hot red pepper sauce
• 4 tsp unmodified potato starch, cornstarch or arrowroot powder, dissolved in just enough water to create a slurry
• sea salt or kosher salt, to taste

Preparation
Slice the tempeh in half crosswise and simmer in enough water to cover for 10 minutes. This will help soften the tempeh and remove bitterness. Drain on paper towels until cooled. Slice the tempeh into bite-size cubes. Place the cubes into a food storage bag and add the tamari and wine/mirin. Seal and marinate in the refrigerator for a minimum of a few hours and best overnight.

Drain the excess marinade from the bag and add 2 tablespoons starch and the flour. Seal and gently toss to coat evenly. Place on a plate to dry while the sauce is prepared.

Add the 1 tablespoon oil to a medium saucepan and place over medium-low heat. Add the garlic and ginger and sauté for 30 seconds. Add the remaining sauce ingredients except for the starch slurry. Bring to a boil, whisk in the starch slurry and stir until thickened. Taste the sauce and add additional sugar or salt as desired. Reduce the heat to low to keep warm while frying the tempeh.

In a wok or deep skillet, heat 1-inch of oil over medium-high heat. When the oil begins to shimmer, carefully add the cubed tempeh and fry until golden brown. Transfer to a plate lined with paper towels to drain.

Add the fried tempeh to the lemon sauce and toss gently to coat. Serve immediately and sprinkle with the toasted sesame seeds.


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Greek Moussaka, Vegan-Style

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DSC00743A hearty casserole, vegan Greek moussaka features layers of potato, eggplant, savory beaf crumbles cooked with onion, crushed tomatoes, parsley and red wine, and an enriched and creamy cashew-based Béchamel that’s baked until golden brown. My plant-based variation is an adaptation of a generational family recipe from the Greek village of Ardactos on the island of Crete. I tried to stay as true to the flavors of the dish as possible. This recipe requires several components, which can be prepare separately and then assembled prior to baking the dish; however, I’ve written the recipe so the dish can prepared seamlessly from start to finish.

Ingredients for the Eggplant Layer
• 2 medium eggplants (aubergine), about 3 lbs, peeled or unpeeled
• olive oil as needed
• coarse sea salt or kosher salt
• coarse ground black pepper

Ingredients for the Potato Layer
• 3 medium russet potatoes
• sea salt or kosher salt

Ingredients for the Meatless Meat Layer
• 2 T olive oil
• 1 large onion, peeled and diced
• ¾ cup water
• ½ cup dry red wine (such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, etc.)
• 2 T tamari, soy sauce or Bragg Liquid Aminos™
• 1 T porcini mushroom powder
• 1 T Worcestershire sauce (pg. ) or commercial vegan equivalent
• 1 cup dry TVP/TSP granules (textured vegetable protein/textured soy protein)
• 1 cup crushed tomatoes (from canned)
• 1 T tomato paste
• ¼ cup finely chopped parsley
• sea salt or kosher salt and coarse ground black pepper, to taste

Ingredients for the enriched Béchamel
• 2 and ⅔ cup plain unsweetened non-dairy milk
• ⅓ cup olive oil
• ½ cup (about 2.5 oz/71 g) whole raw cashews (pre-soaking unnecessary)
• 4 tsp nutritional yeast flakes
• 1 T mellow white miso paste
• 1 T fresh lemon juice
• 1 tsp sea salt or kosher salt
• 1 tsp onion powder
• 1 tsp garlic powder
• ¼ tsp ground nutmeg

Preparation
Slice the eggplant crosswise about ¼-inch thick. Place a colander into the sink and add layer of eggplant slices. Sprinkle generously with the coarse salt and repeat with layers of eggplant and salt (don’t worry about using too much salt as it will be rinsed away later). Let the eggplant drain about 30 minutes and up to 1 hour to remove bitterness. Rinse well and pat dry on several layers of paper towels.

Position an oven rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350°F/180°C. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and place layer of eggplant on the parchment. Brush with olive oil and season with a bit of salt and pepper. Repeat the layers as needed. Bake uncovered in the oven for 40 minutes. Remove to cool.

While the eggplant is baking, peel and slice the potatoes about ¼-inch thick. Immediately place into a large cooking pot with plenty of cold water to cover. Add 2 teaspoons salt and bring to a full boil. Drain in the colander and set aside to cool.

Next, add 2 tablespoons olive oil to a large skillet and place over medium heat. Sauté the onions until tender and lightly golden. Add the water, red wine, tamari, mushroom powder and Worcestershire. Bring to a boil and add the TVP/TSP granules, crushed tomatoes and tomato paste. Stir well, reduce the heat to medium low, cover the skillet and cook about 20 minutes. Stir occasionally.

To prepare the Béchamel, add all ingredients to a blender and process on high speed for 2 full minutes. Transfer to a medium saucepan and cook over medium-low heat until the mixture comes to a simmer. Do not boil. Reduce the heat to low to keep warm.

Assembling the Moussaka

Preheat the oven to 350°F/180°C (if not already heated).

Lightly oil a 9”x13” shallow baking dish. Arrange the potatoes in an even layer on the bottom of the baking dish, overlapping as you layer. Spread about ⅔ cup Béchamel sauce over the potatoes.

Next, layer the eggplant slices as you did the potatoes and spread about ⅔ cup Béchamel sauce over the eggplant.

Spread the meatless meat mixture over the eggplant and top with the remaining Béchamel sauce. Season with a little coarse ground black pepper and bake for 50 to 60 minutes or until golden brown on top.

Let rest at room temperature for at least 30 minutes before slicing and serving.
DSC00742


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Beer-Braised Shredded Beaf

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DSC00606Shredded beaf amazingly resembles slow-cooked shredded beef in texture and is superb for hot sandwiches when finished by skillet braising in a mixture of beer and savory seasonings.

Ingredients
• 1 recipe Stewing Beaf (from the Seitan and Beyond Cookbook)
• 2 T tamari, soy sauce or Bragg Liquid Aminos™
• 1 T Dijon or spicy mustard
• 1 tsp vegan Worcestershire sauce
• ¼ tsp coarse ground black pepper, or more to taste
• ¼ tsp dried thyme leaves
• 2 T cooking oil
• 1 medium onion, halved and thinly sliced
• 4 cloves garlic, minced
• 1 bottle or can (12 oz) beer of your choice

Preparation
Prepare and then chill the Stewing Beaf according to the cookbook directions.

Remove the foil and recycle. Using your hands, bend the roast in half to split it lengthwise; this will reveal the “grain”. Tear the roast in half following where it has been split. Bend and tear those pieces in half lengthwise. Now, with your fingers, pull the beaf into long strings or shreds, following the grain as much as possible. Tear those pieces into smaller bite-size shreds.

In a small dish, combine the tamari, mustard, Worcestershire, black pepper and thyme; set aside.

Add the oil to a large non-stick skillet or wok and place over medium heat; sauté the onion until tender and translucent. Add the garlic and sauté 30 seconds.

Add the shredded beaf and sauté, tossing frequently, until lightly browned. Add the tamari seasoning mixture and the beer and stir well to combine. Simmer uncovered, stirring frequently, until almost all the liquid has evaporated but the beaf is still moist. Serve hot as a filling for sandwiches.


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Coq au Vin, Vegan-Style

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DSC00440Coq au Vin consists of tender chikun simmered in a luscious red wine sauce with mushrooms and pearl onions and garnished with parsley. Serve over cooked eggless noodles. This recipe yields about 4 servings.

Ingredients
• 1 recipe Chikun Drumsticks or Tenders (from the Seitan and Beyond Cookbook)
• 6 T Bacun Grease (from this blog)
• 8 0z cremini or white mushrooms, quartered
• 1 and ½ cup pearl onions, thawed from frozen
• ¼ cup all-purpose flour
• 2 cups dry red wine (e.g. Cabernet Sauvignon; Merlot)
• 2 cup chikun simmering broth (reserved from preparing the chikun)
• 6 sprigs fresh thyme or 1 tsp dried thyme leaves
• 1 bay leaf
• ½ tsp fine sea salt or kosher salt, or more to taste
• coarse ground black pepper to taste
• chopped fresh parsley for garnish

Preparation
Prepare and refrigerate the drumsticks or tenders according to the directions in the recipe. Reserve 2 cups of the simmering broth for the sauce.

Add the bacun grease to a deep non-stick skillet and place over medium heat to melt. Brown the chikun in the hot grease and transfer to a plate.

In the same skillet, sauté the pearl onions and mushrooms until the onions are translucent and golden and the mushrooms have rendered their liquid. Sprinkle in the flour and mix well. Continue to cook for about 2 minutes to eliminate the raw flour taste.

Incorporate the wine in increments while stirring. Stir in the broth and add the chikun, thyme, bay leaf and salt; season with black pepper. Bring the mixture to a simmer and cook uncovered for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, to reduce and thicken the sauce. Season the stew with additional salt to taste and remove the thyme stems and bay leaf before serving. Garnish with chopped parsley after plating.


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Crispy Coconut Curry Chikun

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DSC00265-002Ingredients
• 1 recipe Chikun tenders or nuggets (from the Seitan and Beyond Cookbook)
• 1 cup non-dairy milk
• ⅔ cup rice flour or all-purpose flour
• 1 tsp fine sea salt or kosher salt
• 2 cups shredded coconut, sweetened or unsweetened (your choice)
• 1 and ½ cup panko crumbs
• 1 and ½ tsp curry powder
• ½ tsp coarse ground black pepper
• finely chopped That basil or cilantro for garnish (optional)
• cooking oil for deep frying

Dipping Sauce Ingredients
• ½ cup pineapple mango jam or orange marmalade
• 1 T Asian chili garlic sauce or sambal oelek, or more to taste

Preparation
Stir together the sauce ingredients and set aside; or chill until ready to serve.

In a bowl, whisk together the flour, milk and salt to create a smooth batter. Set aside.

Add the shredded coconut, panko crumbs, curry powder and black pepper to a food processor and process into a very coarse flour. Be sure to leave plenty of texture. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.

Dredge the tenders or nuggets in the batter and then in the coconut crumb mixture until thoroughly coated. Set aside on a plate to dry for about 20 minutes.

Heat a sufficient amount of oil for deep-frying in a deep skillet, wok or deep fryer over medium-high heat.

When the oil begins to shimmer, fry the battered chikun until golden brown. Remove with a spider or slotted spoon to avoid dislodging the crumb coating. Transfer to a plate lined with paper towels to drain briefly.

Garnish with the optional Thai basil or cilantro and serve hot with the dipping sauce.


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