The veggie-meat adventure.

2014-01-09 20.59.44I tried my hand at making some of that gluten-free veggie meat, or “v-meat” that I mentioned the other day at the end of this post.

Here’s what I can tell you from my experience with it.  First of all, I’m totally going to do it again, it was a lot of fun and an interesting opportunity to learn new stuff about cooking.
The veggie meat recipe I made incorporates ideas from these v-meat recipes, as well as inspiration from this youtube video on making veggie burgers.  I wanted to make something that included a lot of fresh veggies, but would also hold its shape.   I wanted it to be versatile enough to use in a number of dishes because I like to make things easier on myself.  The recipes I studied went a long way in helping me reach my goal of creating a gluten free meat substitute.  I think all in all It was a successful mission, it must be pretty good, my meat-eating husband seems pretty satisfied with it, and I like it too.

Below is (more or less, I’m writing from memory here) the recipe I ended up making.

3 carrots.
1 medium onion.
3 large sticks of celery.
2 Portobello mushroom caps
1/4 head of cabbage.
2 tbsp. Garlic.
1 cup cooked rice.
1 cup soaked and cooked red beans
1 cup soaked and cooked pinto beans.
2-4 tbsp oil or butter.

Wet Ingredients:
1/2 – 3/4 cup vegetable juice.
2-3 drops of liquid smoke
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp black pepper
1 tbsp salt
(You can add different, or more or less of each ingredient to taste, I went for a pretty mild mix but you could add other spices to amp up the flavor. )

Dry Ingredients:
1 cup all-purpose gluten-free baking flour
1-1/2 cups almond flour
3/4 cup nutritional yeast
2tsp xanthian gum.

First I diced all my veggies and prepped my food.  While you’re cooking the beans and rice is a good chance to get all your chopping done.   Also now is a good time to preheat your oven.  I set mine 375.   Once the beans and rice are finished cooking, I start to saute the veggies.

I melted about 2 tbsp butter onto a large skillet, because I’m not perfect. 😛 We were out of coconut oil and I had heard it was dangerous to cook with olive oil, but maybe I’m just making excuses…

On a side note,  while writing this post, I decided see if there was any truth to the rumored danger of cooking with olive oil.  According to this page, while its based on some truth, the rumor appears to be largely exaggerated.  As long as you cooking with olive oil in moderation, and not heating it past its smoke point, you’re fine.   The same applies for all oils.  If you want to learn more about the smoke points for different oils check this out.  No more excuses for Becky.

2014-01-07 16.34.15Once the butter was melted I added the onion, celery, and carrots.   I let those all cook together on low-medium heat, until the carrots started to get tender and the onion translucent.  At this point I added the garlic, Portobello mushrooms, and the cabbage.  Depending on how cooked (mushy) your beans are, either add them right away with the onions, or later on when you put in the mushrooms. Save the rice for later.

I let the veggies cook until the mushrooms started to release their moisture (and flavor).  While this is happening it is a good time to mix up your wet ingredients and also mix up your dry ingredients.

Once the veggies were ready, I added the cooked rice and my wet ingredients to the skillet.  I let it simmer for a while longer, until most of the liquid was absorbed back into the mixture.

Wet Ingredients:
1/2 – 3/4 cup vegetable broth
2-3 drops of liquid smoke
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp black pepper
1 tbsp salt
(You can add different, or more or less of each ingredient to taste, I went for a pretty mild mix but you could add other spices to amp up the flavor.  And the awesomeness…)

Dry Ingredients:
1 cup all-purpose gluten-free baking flour
1-1/2 cups almond flour
3/4 cup nutritional yeast
2tsp xanthian gum.

After my rice, veggies and beans were done cooking removed them from the heat and started to mash them up with a hand-held potato masher which promptly broke.  :/

To avoid wrecking your potato masher, cook your beans longer than I did. While they were mostly tender they were still kind of firm and too much for my delicate mashers sensibilities:P

2014-01-10 01.38.42You could also use a food processor to give your mixture a finer texture.  I don’t have a food processor so I ended up using my blender…it sort of worked.   However, I had to keep adding tomato juice to the mix so it wouldn’t over-heat and fry out my blender.

This resulted in the mix ending up slightly soupy.  It turned out to be ok, because the dry mixture I made helped to firm it up again.   Anyway, after laboriously blending all my veggies in a blender that is probably older than me, I moved on to the next step.

I got another bowl for combining my veggie mix and dry mix together.   You can alternate how much of the flour mixture you use, depending on what kind of consistency you want it to have.   I started out with about a 50/50 mix, I found I had to add probably another 1/2 cup of the flour mix to get it to hold its shape.   I ended up going with a consistency that was sort similar to heavy dough with a lot of texture. I could form it into a roll and it would hold its shape pretty well on its own.  I let it rest for about 10 or 15 minutes before moving on to the last step.

I spooned my veggie dough onto tin foil, enough to roll it up into a cylinder that was approx 1 and 1/2 to 2 inches wide.   In the v-meat recipe I followed at this point the author suggests using a steamer to help give the loaf some extra stability and texture.  I didn’t have one so I baked it in the oven for about 40 minutes at 375.

When I took it out, the loaf had kind of crust around the outside and the inside was solid enough to slice through easily and keep its shape.   I also experimented making flat sheets of the dough wrapped in tin foil, but that didn’t work out quite as well, the loafs held their shape much better.   On the bright side, the flat sheets did work alright for making veggie-ground, so it didn’t go to waste.

The taste was really mild, I’ve found that it picks up the flavor in dishes nicely but doesn’t do so well on its own, in this way it’s similar to tofu or seitan.  As a substitute for veggie ground, seitan and tofu, it will work pretty well.   If you were looking to make something like veggie burgers or sausage patties, where the patty holds the majority of the flavor, I would recommend making a pre-seasoned more intense loaf of veggie meat to suit your needs.

All in all I had a great time making this, and I look forward to doing it again!  Be sure to check out the v-meat recipe as well as this sweet veggie burger recipe.


2 thoughts on “The veggie-meat adventure.

    1. Awesome! Make sure to check out the original recipes too, the lady spent a ton of time perfecting it! My recipe was based more on….improvisation. lol.

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