Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Leaving it to the Pros.

I don't have much experience with the whole meat-less lifestyle. I went a few years attempting to be a quasi-meat eater, only eating chicken and fish, but even then I would cheat every six months or so and go to town on an In-N-Out Burger. I guess I'm fine with my omnivore lifestyle because I'm a fan of the food chain, and like to pretend it's ok that the animals I eat were raised for that purpose (which kind of negates the point of the food chain, but whatever). I'm not insensitive, I'm an animal lover, we know this. I won't eat foie gras, because I have seen in person how those geese/ducks are force fed (plus it tastes like fat). And to my knowledge, I have never even tasted veal. And don't plan to.

That said, I have a lot of respect for vegetarians (at least the kind that let you eat next to them without a grimace on their face while citing evil facts and such). It's a difficult choice to make, and I admire their conviction—and depending on their reasons behind it, it's an understandable decision.

I know I claim to make a lot of 'veggie' meals, but I've never tried a true vegan dish. So when I saw a pic of my one true vegan buddy's breakfast the other day, I figured she could do a much better job in this department than I can. And so, I turn it over to fellow Central Cali-an and blogger Jessica. Like me, she's a big fan of big taste and small effort...Thanks so much for sharing your recipe and writing this all up! It looks absolutely delish...and from your hubby's ravings, sounds like it tasted just as good! It's on my 'to-try asap' list.

She was also kind/smart enough to include a little glossary for us meat-eaters at the end of the recipe. Enjoy!

Vegan Sausage and Spinach Frittata
Olive oil
2 cloves garlic, chopped
¼ yellow onion, chopped
½ package vegan sausage (I used Lightlife Gimme Lean)*
1 block extra firm tofu
1 ½ cups cooked chopped spinach
Vegetable broth
Unsweetened almond milk
Ener-G egg replacer* (or cornstarch could would work)
2 TB Nutritional yeast*
8 spears of asparagus, quickly steamed
Preheat oven to 400.
In a large saut√© pan, sweat onion and garlic in olive oil.  When translucent, crumble sausage into pan and brown.  In a bowl, mash cold tofu with fork until crumbled.  Add tofu and spinach to saut√© pan and add a splash of vegetable broth to deglaze the pan.   Add in pepper and salt, to taste.  Warm throughout and then add in about a cup of your milk substitute of choice.  You want the mixture wet, but not thin.  Sprinkle about a teaspoon or two of egg replacer (or cornstarch) over the top along with nutritional yeast and fresh or dried parsley and chives.  Mix well and pour into baking dish.  Press asparagus spears into the mixture.  You can quickly steam them, or if you’re lazy like me, buy a package of already cooked frozen spears from Trader Joe’s and just use those.
Place dish into oven until bubbling and browned.  Depending on how deep your dish is, you could bake this from 25 to 45 min.  You’ll know when it’s ready when you shake the dish and the frittata doesn’t jiggle.  Let cool for 5 minutes before devouring.
Served with some ketchup, this thing is a brunch dish from heaven.  When your omnivore husband goes back thrice**, it’s a winner. Big thanks to Pam for inviting me to be a guest on her fabulously delicious blog!

If you’re not vegan/vegetarian, some of these items may sound unfamiliar or even frightening. I’ll elaborate a little on each to better acquaint readers

Vegan sausage; Comes in all shapes and textures. The tube of Gimme Lean is nice because you can slice it into patties or crumble it into dishes. I often crumble it into breakfast potatoes and peppers for a brunch potluck dish and the omnivores are none the wiser.

Ener-G egg replacer: This yellow and orange box is easily found in health food stores. It’s a mixture of tapioca and potato starch. An excellent stand-in for eggs in baking, but it is also useful in dishes like these, which are normally entirely egg-based. The tofu replicates the eggs, but the Ener-G gives it a little puff-up and hold. Cornstarch would work just as well here.

Nutritional Yeast: An excellent source of protein, fiber, vitamins and minerals. Lends a cheesy/nutty flavor and creamy texture to dishes. Mix it into soups, stews and casseroles or sprinkle it atop veggies for a B12-filled cheesy boost.

**You’re welcome, Conan.

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