Posts Tagged ‘nuts’

Quinoa or Millet “Crumbles” (ground beef substitute without soy or gluten)

January 2, 2011

One of the hardest things for me, is that all of the pre-made vegan crumbles (Boca, Morningstar, etc.) are soy and gluten based. I like having some non-bean texture in my tacos, and something other than “just veggies” on a pizza or pasta dish. This recipe is adapted from the recipe “Walnut Wheat Crumbles” in the cookbook “Tasty Vegan Delights.” It works equally well with millet or quinoa, though millet takes longer to cook initially, and I like the flavor of quinoa better, as well as it being a complete protein.

This recipe doubles easily (and if you have room for more pans in your oven, could be multiplied even more, though I can only fit a double recipe in my vita-mix at a time.) It’s a good recipe to start in the morning on a day when you’ll be home most of the time, and won’t need the oven for anything else. I usually start it around lunch time, and stir the crumbles in the oven every hour or so, until I go to bed, then I turn off the oven and leave the pans in overnight. By morning they are done!

Quinoa Crumbles

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup walnut or pecan pieces, or meal (meal is less expensive, and we’ll be pulverizing it anyway, but I usually get walnut pieces)
  • 4 1/2 cups of water (divided into 1 cup, 1 cup, and 2 1/2 cups)
  • 1/4 cup onion powder
  • 3t garlic powder
  • 1t  salt (I use sea salt that still has the minerals in it for better nutrition and flavor)
  • 2 cups quinoa (or millet)

Directions:

  • In your vita-mix combine the nuts and 1 cup of water, and blend on high until smooth.
  • Add another 1 cup of water, and the onion powder, garlic powder, and salt, and blend to combine.
  • Pour the mixture into a pot (a single recipe needs about a 3 quart pan, and if you double it, keep in mind it does foam, and it does expand, so make sure your pot is big enough!
  • Add the last 2 1/2 cups of water, and bring the mixture to a boil.

    Boiling on the stove...don't let the light color fool you, these will be nice dark brown crumbles!

  • Add the quinoa or millet and cook until most of the water is absorbed. (When it starts to look like a porridge or oatmeal consistency.) Quinoa took about 20 minutes for me, and the millet took a lot longer.
  • Remove the mash from the heat, and let it cool for a while (about 1/2 an hour or so) and it will thicken more
  • Divide the mixture into a couple of pans: Cookie sheets with a lip edge work well, but large (9″x13″ or so) casserole dishes work too. If you have only smaller pans, us more of them. You don’t want the mixture to be too deep in each pan.

    Here they are, still quite wet, but looking a bit more brown.

  • Put the pans in the oven at 200*
  • Stir every hour our so, flaking and fluffing the crumbles as they dry. If you have pans on multiple racks you’ll want to rotate them as well (move the ones from the bottom to the top, and vice versa.) Do this for about 6 or 7 hours. They should really be getting darker brown and crunchy.
  • Turn the oven off, leave the door closed, and go to sleep. In the morning, you’ll have perfect crumbles. Divide them into freezer bags, and freeze them.
  • A single batch makes enough for the equivalent of 2# of “browned ground beef.”

    A generous 2 cups of crumbles is just about equal to a pound of "browned ground beef"

Using them:
I prefer them to have a bit of crunch, so I don’t add a lot of liquid back to them. If you use them in a recipe that has liquid already (like chili) there’s no need to reconstitute them at all. I recommend adding them towards the end of the cooking time.
If you want to reconstitute them (say for sloppy joes or tacos):

  • Put 2 cups of crumbles into a small pot.
  • Choose a liquid you’d like to use (water is fine, but for more flavor you might want to use broth or soup. For tacos I use salsa!) You’ll need up to 2 cups of this liquid.
  • Add the liquid a little bit at a time, stirring it in.
  • When the crumbles are the consistency you like, stop adding liquid, and use them in your recipe!

I use them crunchy in “nacho” type dishes, stir them into chili just before serving, or mix them into homemade tomato sauce the last minute or so of cooking.

I made a double recipe, and so packaged it into 4 "pound" packets of about 2 1/4 cups each. Don't forget to label them! They're ready for the freezer now (or to use!)

This recipe could easily have other seasonings put in from the beginning, if you know you’re going to use it for a specific type of dish. I think if I found a “smoke” flavor that was safe for me to eat, adding that would make these work as a “bacon bit” type crunchy topping for baked potatoes or salads. I do that with them as they are anyway. Let me know your favorite ways to use these crumbles, or your favorite variations. Enjoy!

Roasted Broccoli and Cauliflower

October 26, 2010

Roasted to sweet goodness!

A friend of mine brought over a full grocery bag of fresh broccoli and cauliflower the other day, and so I decided to make a recipe I came up with the last time I had an abundance of fresh broccoli! The last time, I figured this out because I’d also had a lot (like 20#!) of cherry tomatoes that were starting to go soft, and I’d roasted them, so I figured why not try roasting broccoli? Now broccoli and cauliflower are closely related, so mixing them seemed to be just fine. The amount I had filled two 9″x13″ baking pans, and could easily be halved. I do plan on trying to make a blended broccoli soup with the leftovers, so I’ll let you know how that goes.

Ingredients:

  • 3# of broccoli and/or cauliflower florets
  • 1 head of garlic coarsely chopped
  • 1/4c olive oil
  • 1t salt
  • 1t pepper
  • 1/4c lemon juice
  • 1c nutritional yeast
  • 1/2c (or more!) of any one or combination: slivered almonds, pine nuts, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds (optional but gives a nice crunch, and I like to include nuts or beans in most recipes to give it more substance)

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 425*
  • Wash and trim the broccoli and cauliflower florets, then dry thoroughly. If they are wet they’ll steam and not end up with the crunchy roasted texture.
  • Toss the broccoli and cauliflower florets with the chopped garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper
  • Spread the broccoli and cauliflower floret mixture in baking dishes in a single layer. You don’t want to stack the florets as they won’t roast well. Use multiple pans if necessary.
  • Roast in a 425* oven for 20 minutes
  • Toss the roasted broccoli and cauliflower with lemon juice, nutritional yeast, and nuts or seeds

I like it as is, or topping a baked potato. I think it would make a good soup as well. It really gives the broccoli and cauliflower a different flavor than the usual boiling or steaming does. Even stir frying doesn’t match this. I hope you enjoy this recipe. Please share you comments!

Chopped and ready to be prepared for roasting!