Meal Idea: Plant-based Szechuan Beefless Strips with Pan-fried Padrons, Squash Noodles and Fried Brown Rice

This meal is something you can easily make for dinner because it doesn’t involve much prep. Thankfully, there are plenty of plant-based alternative meats available to choose from.

My favorite Asian beef alternative is  Gardein’s Sizzling Szechuan Beefless Strips . The texture of these beefless strips reminds me of a crispy sweet and sour pork like you get at Chinese takeout places.

I cooked the strips per the instructions and sprinkled some flax seed on top for extra protein and Omegas. The sauce Gardein uses to flavor the beefless strips is amazing! I wish they would bottle that stuff up because I would buy a whole bottle of it. It tastes like a sweet, soy stir-fry sauce.

Recently, I bought a Veggetti Spiralizer for like $10, and I’ll be honest because of this gadget I have become addicted to spiralizing vegetables, mostly zucchini or yellow squash. The Vegetti makes some real fun thick and thin veggie noodles.

To make the noodles, I used organic Zephyr squash which is one of my favorite squashes because of its fun yellow and green stripes. Use any of your favorite squash like zucchini or yellow squash. No need to cook the noodles because they actually taste better raw.

I love Padron peppers! Definitely try them if you haven’t. Padrons are a Spanish pepper and only about 3″ long. They have an earthy, sweet, nutty flavor and are mild 99% of the time. Occassionaly though, a couple in the bunch will be hot. It’s like playing roulette. In all the years I’ve eaten this pepper, only twice have I gotten a hot one.

If Padron peppers are not in season or available in your area, try other sweet peppers like Shishito or Jimmy Nardello.

Quickly pan sear a handful of chopped Padron peppers with olive oil, a pinch of garlic powder and pinch of sea salt.

Mix the cooked padrons in with the raw Zoodles and some chopped red onion.

The fried rice is simply pan-fried pre-cooked brown Jasmine rice with organic carrots, corn, edamame, and a little soy sauce for flavor.

Product Review: The Impossible Burger. The Plant-based Burger That Will Get You To Think Twice About Beef

The geek in me is one of those early adopters who likes to be one of the first to try something new and innovative. When I first heard about the Impossible Burger, I seriously could not wait to try it more because I was intrigued by the way the texture of the burger looked from the photos. The patty looked like ground beef to me.

I was quickly sold on the premise, “High on taste. Low on impact.” Here is a burger that has 1/8 the carbon footprint and tastes like beef. From a marketing perspective, brilliant!

I first tried the Impossible Burger at Cockscomb in SF. Their Impossible burger comes with lettuce, dijon, Gruyere cheese, caramelized onions, and bread & butter pickles. I didn’t get the cheese because I’m allergic to dairy. Here is a video I did at Cockscomb where you can see the burger and my final opinion on whether the Impossible Burger lives up to the hype.

Spoiler alert. OMG! Is this thing for real? It’s making me see the world differently already.

 

What’s mind blowing about the Impossible Burger is that this isn’t your dad’s veggie burger. If you closed your eyes and took a bite, you’d think it was a regular beef burger. It’s like Impossible re-imagined ground beef using plants instead of cows. It’s like if Mother Nature said okay if we could go back in time and create beef again, we could do it like this. No sentient beings need to be killed. No factory farms required.

The Impossible Burger is a great example of Clean Proteins, protein sources that are akin to Clean Energy. Clean Proteins are proteins that are produced with low carbon and low eco footprints. It’s all about low impact to help stop climate change, further environmental damage, and more threats to human health caused by industrial animal agriculture while having a delicious time doing it.

One thing that surprised me was how good this burger is without ketchup. Sorry, not sorry, but I’m one of those people who puts ketchup on everything. Can’t help it. I LOVE my ketchup! The way the Cockscomb burger is prepared is actually better without ketchup. Never thought I’d say that about a burger.

My only criticism of the Impossible Burger is that it’s primarily being served at high-end restaurants where the going price is averaging almost $20…a burger. At Cockscomb, it was $19 without fries.

But, I get why Impossible is starting with the high-end to make it an aspirational want. It’s a great approach to make plant-based eating cool and desirable. Umami Burger partnered with Jaden Smith for a special Impossible slider trio to help raise donations for Hurricane Relief Efforts.

Fortunately, the Impossible Burger is starting to come down in price because they have opened a new manufacturing facility here in the Bay Area which can crank out 1 million pounds of plant-based meat per month at full capacity, which can supply about 1,000 restaurants.

At Gott’s Roadside, they are selling an Impossible Cheeseburger for $12.99 without fries. Their burger is served with American cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, pickles & secret sauce on a toasted egg bun. Sadly though, at least to me because I like bread, to make it vegan you have to nix the cheese and order the burger with a lettuce wrap so it ends up looking like the In N’ Out “Protein Style” burger. All of Gott’s buns including their gluten-free bun is made with egg.

Here is the Impossible Burger at Gott’s without cheese. I already knew about the Gott’s egg buns beforehand so I brang a vegan hamburger bun and swapped it after taking the photos so I could eat it. The first photo in the post cover image is the same Gott’s Impossible Burger.

Again, SO GOOD! The patty is a little slimmer than the one at Cockscomb but it’s just as good and meaty. You can see in this closer up photo that the texture of the Impossible Burger looks like ground beef. Gott’s also features Sir Kensington’s Spicy Brown mustard which is amazing!

Here is the FAQs about the Impossible Burger which includes the nutritional information and a locator so you can find out if the Impossible Burger is being offered at a restaurant near you. Impossible does not have any retails sales yet so you cannot buy it at a grocery currently. When that happens, I’ll be one of the first people at the grocery store because I want to make some Impossible spaghetti sauce and sloppy joes.

Have you tried the Impossible Burger? What did you think of it?

 

Product Review: Gardein Sweet and Sour Porkless Bites

One of the many reasons I love Gardein is that they make it possible to have plant-based Asian food right at home. Sweet and Sour pork used to be one of my favorite Chinese food dishes, and now I can enjoy that flavor once again.

I have to admit I was a little skeptical of these Sweet and Sour Porkless Bites at first because just from the picture on the bag they look puffy like the Gardein Home Style Beefless Tips which is not in my top faves.

As soon as I took a bite of the cooked Porkless Bites from my plate, all that skepticism disappeared. These Porkless Bites are a good way to transition from eating real pork. For a plant-based version of sweet and sour pork, these bites are pretty darn delish and they have 13g of protein per serving which is awesome!

 

 

The Porkless Bites are best when you pan fry them in some oil so you get that nice crispy outside similar to the crispy outside you get when ordering real pork sweet and sour at a Chinese restaurant. I love that crispiness!

I use avocado oil for pan frying.

And speaking of Chinese restaurants, I added some carrots, onions, and red pepper to my Sweet and Sour Porkless Bites to make it restaurant style. So good! The sauce comes in a separate packet so if you do not like the sauce that comes with the bites or you want to try another sauce like an orange sauce or Peking sauce, you can totally do that.

The recipe for the whole meal pictured here is in our app.

Product Review: IKEA Vegetable Balls

Here in the U.S, one of the most popular dishes in the IKEA cafeteria is their meatballs with gravy and mashed potatoes. So, it was exciting when IKEA started selling frozen Vegetable Balls that are not only vegan, but also soy-free and gluten-free.

These vegballs are GOOD! They are pretty meaty and I was impressed how the ball stays together without using any eggs.  You will recognize all the ingredients used to make these vegballs. There is nothing artificial in them.

I made my own plant-based meal version of the cafe meatballs, gravy and mashed potatoes with some asparagus at home using the Vegetable Balls, and it was fantastic.

 

 

I made the gravy using a packet of Simply Organic Vegetarian Brown Gravy which is 100% plant-based, and added some chopped cremini mushrooms to my gravy. Pacific Foods also makes an Organic Vegan Mushroom Gravy.

The IKEA Vegetable Balls are also great with spaghetti and as an appetizer. The IKEA website also has some beautiful examples of dishes to make with the vegballs. I’ve never seen vegetable balls looks so gourmet.

 

Send this to a friend