Plant based meats have come a long way over the past few years, from the mushy crumbles of yore to something that truly approximates the texture and flavor of beef.
I recently picked up a copy of Cooking With Plant Based Meat from America’s Test Kitchen, and decided to give this dish a try for a weeknight meal. It turned out to be as delicious as the book promised, like a comforting “hug from an Italian grandmother.”
After finely chopping a carrot, a stalk of celery and an onion in the food processor, all three went into a cast iron Dutch Oven to sauté with olive oil and salt and pepper until soft and well browned. Then I added some chopped garlic and 3 tablespoons of tomato paste, and stirred that around until caramelized, then deglazed with half a cup of red wine. A 12 ounce package of the Impossible Burger went in next and cooked with the veggie mixture for a few minutes before adding two cups of veggie stock. I let that simmer for 15 minutes while cooking the noodles.
Finally, I added the noodles to the post of sauce, and let it all cook together for a few minutes before serving.
I truly believe that if you served this to even a discriminating carnivore, they would not know that it’s plant based. The textures and flavors were a perfect mimic.
I used egg white noodles, and Parmesan shreds, so the dish wasn’t strictly vegan, but one could easily use any wide eggless pasta noodle of some sort and vegan cheese (or just leave the cheese out).
It should be noted that although Impossible Burger is probably not less healthy than beef, if you are abstaining from meat for health reasons it isn’t really an improvement. If, like our family, the reason for eating a plant based diet is more a matter of ethics and spirituality, then using this product from time to time should be fine. It *does* contain some GMO material if that is a concern.
My wife has a recipe for a Bolognese Sauce made entirely from fresh vegetables that is also delicious. I’ll do my best to prevail on her for a copy to post in comments here.
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