Healthier BeyondMeat Meets GlutenFree Vegan Risotto all Day Long

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risotto with spinach

For the new year Jen and I decided to kick up our vegan diet a notch and go full-on, whole-food plant-based (WFPB). Being vegan was just becoming too easy (also, I had to wean myself from french fries somehow and this seemed like a great time). We’re sticking to this every day of the year with the exception of the first of the month and special events (potlucks) and holidays (Groundhog Day, Arbor Day, etc.).

So far, we’ve successfully made it through Day One with the help of this delicious and very simple risotto. This creamy recipe is 100% WFPB (until you add the optional, but totally worth it, BeyondMeat chicken strips at the very end).

You’ll need:

  • 1 1/2 cups arborio rice (risotto rice)
  • One 38 oz. container of vegan vegetable stock
  • 1/2 sweet onion, finely chopped
  • 1 cup cremini mushrooms, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
  • One 6 oz. package of triple washed organic baby spinach
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast (nooch)
  • One package of BeyondMeat grilled “chicken” strips (defrosted)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

In a large non-stick cooking pan add 1/4 cup of the vegetable stock and bring to a boil (you can also use a tablespoon of EEOV here but that’s not on our diet … damn it). Add the chopped onions, garlic, and mushrooms and sautĂ© until soft (about five minutes, stirring). Stir in the arborio rice and cook for an additional five minutes over medium-high heat, coating the rice (you’ll start to hear popping sounds … since this recipe is poppin’).

Pour in one cup of the vegetable stock and lower the heat to medium. Stir constantly and with purpose. From here on out you’re going to be feeding the rice the vegetable stock and stirring (adding ingredients along the way). It’s an excellent arm workout.

Once the first cup of liquid has been absorbed, add a second cup (see what I mean?). After the third cup, add the chopped basil and the spinach (the spinach is going to look huge in the pan but will cook down as you introduce it to the rice and stock). See what I mean?

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Once the spinach has been completely incorporated, add another cup of vegetable stock. This entire “feed the risotto vegetable stock” process will take approximately 40 minutes (and you will end up using the entire carton of stock). After the final drops of vegetable stock have been added, stir in the nooch until full incorporated (you should have a creamy, cheesy texture at this point). If it seems like it needs more liquid, add a little water or squeeze a half a lemon into it (citrus gives any dish a burst of flavor and freshness).

Test the texture of the rice (perfect, isn’t it?) and finish off by stirring in the whole package of torn BeyondMeat chicken strips into the finished risotto. Heat for an additional five minutes until the BeyondMeat has warmed up. Salt and pepper to taste. If you want … top with some vegan parmesan and a sprig of basil. Your friends are going to be so impressed by you: 1) You made a delicious gluten-free vegan risotto; 2) You topped it with a sprig of basil which is called “garnish” and you’ve never done that before.

They’re all impressed and, after dining on this dish, they’ll all want to #GoVegan.

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LOVE this recipe? Want more like it? Pre-order The Skeptical Vegan NOW! Available at Amazon.com and Barnes and Noble! More than 25 of my favorite meaty dishes … veganized and made simple!

Celebrate a Vegan Cinco de Mayo with Chef’d and BeyondMeat!

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Cinco de Mayo is in just under two weeks but don’t fret, Chef’d and Beyond Meat have you covered for your dinner party needs. In fact, read on to get your own special DISCOUNT CODE and a UNIQUE LINK to save on your order with delivery by May 5th! You don’t even have to go shopping! Can you think of a better way to celebrate independence?

But wait.

As I was writing this blog post, Jen asked me if I knew what Cinco de Mayo is. My normative whiteness had me thinking forever that Cinco de Mayo is Mexico’s Independence Day, a day that most celebrate through block parties, sombreros, mojitos, margaritas, tacos, nachos, Corona, and flamenco guitars, where we think we are showing how “multicultural” we are by celebrating a holiday that isn’t ours to begin with and that very few Americans actually know anything about.

I’ve been schooled. Cinco de Mayo is really the commemoration of the Battle of Puebla.

The celebration of Cinco de Mayo by white European Americans marginalizes Mexicans through cultural appropriation. If we took the time to educate ourselves about Mexican cultural holidays such as Cinco de Mayo and Dieciseis de Septiembre (the real Mexican Independence Day and this Wiki entry starts with “Not to be confused with Cinco de Mayo” and is in September), we would recognize these are holidays of great importance to Mexican and Chicano communities, beyond an excuse for Americans to party, eat tacos, and get drunk on tequila.

So if you want to be an ally to Mexican and Chicano communities, you can start with this history lesson. And when you celebrate Cinco de Mayo with your friends and family, remember to be culturally sensitive and aware of the possibility of appropriating what isn’t yours.

At that party you can tell your friends what you know about Cinco de Mayo and that the victory was viewed as a symbol that proved to the world that national sovereignty would not be compromised (I know you Bernie and Trump supporters can relate to this).

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Chef’d has made it easy and fun for vegans to commemorate Cinco de Mayo cruelty-free with their Beyond Meat Feisty Beefy Crumbles meals. An easy-to-make and delicious meal delivered right to your door. When I say this bright orange box comes with everything you need, I’m not kidding. Onions, shallots, garlic cloves (peeled? yes!), Romaine lettuce, oregano, cilantro, limes, spices and more!

And, of course, Beyond Meat Feisty crumbles that are heated and folded into the included tortillas and topped with Follow Your Heart cheddar cheese. Everything you need!

And, as a follower of Meaty Vegan, you can redeem a 15% DISCOUNT on any of these meals when you use discount code TACOS. There are three different Cinco de Mayo bundles for you to choose from and the one featured here is the Beyond Meat Feisty Tacos.

Pre-sale STARTS TODAY (4/22) and ends 5/1 at 11 am PST. Boxes will be delivered 5/3 and 5/4 to ensure you’ll have your meal in hand before 5/5. Just as a reminder, they ship EVERYWHERE in the continental US!

Click this link to PRE-ORDER your Cinco de Mayo Chef’d party!

Go vegan (and don’t vote Trump).

MeatyVeganBookCoverLODid you hear? Meaty Vegan is going to be a book! Release scheduled for August 2017! Stay tuned here, follow on Twitter, or email me for more information!

Get Chef’d, Go Beyond, and Go #Vegan

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Through my association with BeyondMeat, I had the opportunity to place an order with the online menu/recipe ordering service Chef’d and … I’ve never been more impressed with a meal delivery service. I mean, who sends TWO leaves of Romaine lettuce across the country? AND two RIPE avocados? I can’t even buy a rip avocados at my local grocer.

Chef’d does.

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… and they do it with style.

I placed an order on a Monday for the two new vegan offerings that featured my favorite Beyond Meat. One was the Beast Burger meal and the other was tacos using the beefy crumbles. After placing the order, I chose the optimum day to receive the package (Thursday), received a confirmation and waited.

Thursday arrived along with this bad boy:

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A GIANT orange (be still my graphic designer heart) box. I rushed home and cracked it open to find two recipe cards for my meals (along with free seed packets from Seeds of Change). Under the shiny insulation were two STUFFED bags full of fresh produce and ingredients to make two complete meals (enough to feed 2-4 very hungry people) and under the bags were the BeyondMeat products (still slightly frozen). Chef’d included everything … and I mean everything you needs to prepare an entire meal.

I had some cooking to do!

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Now, obviously, I’ve got experience making BeyondMeat products but what was so nice about this delivery was that it included everything needed to make a complete meal (including fresh tomatoes … who ships ONE fresh tomato?).

Chef’d does.

Chef’d is perfect for busy professionals, families who don’t have time to meal plan AND shop, and people who may live in a more remote location and can’t get all of what they need locally. Heck … it’s perfect for anyone who wants an amazing meal delivered to their doorstep.

Chef’d does the meal planning, recipe development, shopping, and color-photo instructions for you … you are an instant chef! Trust me … your friends will be impressed.

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Of course, I chose the vegan options (which included this incredibly simple champagne vinegar cucumber red onion dill salad … yes, ALL of those ingredients were included) but there are MANY other options for every diet and lifestyle (including gluten-free). Not shown here is the taco meal I ordered which also turned out incredible!

Finally, many of the recipes are created by famous chefs (many of whom are on the Food Network) and all of the recipes/meals would be PERFECT for your holiday dinners and gatherings!

Go Chef’d and …

Go vegan.

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WIN FREE @BeyondMeat! #FindtheChicken

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Beast

It’s no secret that I love BeyondMeat. It started with their chicken and has since expanded into their beef (specifically The Beast and the Beastly Sliders). I’ve gotten to a point where I am coming up with recipes just to incorporate one of their products.

I’ve been lucky enough to try them all at this point. All flavors of the chicken strips, the chicken tenders and poppers, the meatballs, beefy crumbles, the sliders, and The Beast. NOW is your chance to try some yourself by entering to win THREE FREE coupons for any of their products.*

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Entering is so easy. All you have to do is click this link to ThankTankCreative.com and then click OUR WORK from the top menu and browse through our designs. Scroll through them until you find the chicken with the 2-digit number across its breast, then use the form on the bottom of the ThankTank Creative website to enter (simply fill out the few fields and insert the 2-digit number in the subject or message box and click SEND). By the way, we are vegan so we never spam.

That’s it!

We will randomly draw one lucky winner on September 1st from all who enter and mail you the coupons! *

Go Vegan.

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* No purchase necessary. Limited to U.S. residents only. One winner chosen via random.org.

WE HAVE A WINNER: Natalie from Colorado won three BeyondMeat coupons! Congratulations and thanks to everyone who entered!

The Beast in Me.

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I’ve been a BeyondMeat fan pretty much from the start. The first time I tried the “chicken” I, like many vegans before and since, had to check the ingredients twice to make sure it didn’t contain actual chicken. Taste and texture are so spot-on that its been known to even fool world-class chefs.

BeyondMeat has done it again. This time with beef. The Beast Burger, packed with 23 grams of protein, this is not your ordinary “veggie burger.” In fact, if a veggie burger were walking down the sidewalk and saw The Beast coming from the other direction, it would cross the street. Against the light.

Move over wimpy veggie burgers. The Beast is in town.

I didn’t know what to expect although I had a tiny taste when I was at ExpoWest. The Beast had babies (of course it did) in the form of sliders. I got to sample a BeyondMeat slider and was blown away. Their booth, reminiscent of a certain burgercentric fast food franchise, was slinging the sliders alongside some chicken tenders (which I am anxious to get into my belly after drowning them in Buffalo sauce). The Beast Baby (Beastly Sliders) was very convincing. I was hopeful The Beast was just as good; and it is.

But bigger.

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This is the burger you bring to the BBQ when everyone is expecting you to bring hummus.

This is the burger you bring to the potluck when everyone is expecting you to bring kale salad.

This is the burger you bring to the marina when everyone is expecting you to bring quinoa. But bring quinoa anyway since it’s a superfood.

The very same day that I got to try The Beast for the first time, also happened to be Taco Tuesday so I whipped up some pepper quesadillas with the BeyondMeat chicken. Folded into a gluten-free brown rice tortilla, glued it all together with melted VioLife cheese and Tofutti sour cream, and served with some Mexican rice and hot sauce.

It was a very good day. Beyond very good.

There is no reason whatsoever to eat animals ever again thanks to companies like BeyondMeat (and other trend setters in the meat-replacement market). Delicious, nutritious alternatives make it easier than ever to …

Go vegan. 

Banner_ResizedCOMMENT ON THIS POST if you want me to send you an online coupon toward any BeyondMeat product.

BeyondMeat Helper Classic Vegan Cheeseburger Glutenfree Macaroni

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I’ll admit it. When I was an omnivore, I used to eat Hamburger Helper. Partly because it was easy to make but also partly because it is so damn delicious. Saute the meat, add the pouch, pour in the water, add the noodles, cover and pace around for 25 minutes while it became a meal as delicious as an angel’s wing.

I don’t eat meat anymore. Nor angels.

But, I am a BeyondMeat fan and, in addition to their chicken strips (and nuggets and The Beast), they make a delicious beefy crumble. Perfect addition to chili, vegan shepard’s pie, and now, my masterpiece: The BeyondMeat Helper Classic Vegan Cheeseburger Glutenfree Macaroni.

The name alone is a mouthful.

To get the party started, finely chop one white onion (think about those onions hidden under the bun of your favorite fast food burger). Saute in a little olive oil until very soft (probably 10 minutes on medium heat). Now put your meat in them. One bag of BeyondMeat beefy crumbles and stir clockwise. Add a little water to keep things moist and at the end add a big squirt of organic ketchup. Stir and set aside.

Bring to boil 4 quarts of salted water to cook your pasta (penne, elbows or spirals). We use only Tinkyada gluten-free brown rice pasta in our house. Cook until done, drain and set aside.

In your 4-quart pot, bring to a simmer a cup of soy (or any non-dairy) milk and stir in one shredded block (or shredded bag) of your favorite vegan cheese (I use VioLife). Stir frequently as this will quickly become a sticky sauce. Just as it looks perfect (add more milk if needed) add salt, pepper and a 1/4 cup of nooch. Keep stirring as your assistant pours in the pasta. Keep stirring. Did I say stop?

Once the pasta is fully coated in cheese, stir in the BeyondMeat mixture and serve immediately (as if you wanted to wait). Tastes just like a cheeseburger … doesn’t it?

You’re welcome.

Go vegan.

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BONUS for MEATY VEGAN FOLLOWERS! For a LIMITED TIME, you can use this code 25Off2015 at checkout in the BeyondMeat swag shop to get 25% off your order!

@BeyondMeat: Or, Beauty and The Beast

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I’ve been a fan of BeyondMeat pretty much since the beginning. In fact, certain people at BeyondMeat headquarters in California refer to me as “Superfan #1.” No idea if I am actually the first of their Superfans (formerly Brand Ambassadors) but I like to think I am. It gives me something to tell my mom so she can tell the girls at Mahjong and pretend she’s proud of me. 

This past weekend I flew to Anaheim to attend ExpoWest, the world’s largest natural products tradeshow. This is the one. 

In addition to meeting virtually every vegan ever, I got to visit all the companies I know and love since becoming vegan; including BeyondMeat. 

Last year their booth mimicked Taco Bell, this year they took on McDonalds. Topple the Golden Arch on its side and it makes a pretty sexy letter “B.” Last year they were releasing their beefy crumbles, this year it’s The Beast (burger) and breaded “chicken” fingers. Fast food fare. 

As I approached the booth and soaked in all the aromas that one would expect, I suddenly made eye contact with one of the BeyondMeat marketing team members, the beautiful Emily. 

We smiled. I was swept away by either her big brown eyes or by the fact I knew she was going to feed me. Either way, I heard angels. 

We chatted for a bit and I asked about Justin, another team member who I’ve known since coming on board. Justin is a dude. Probably the quintessential Californian but I can’t really say since this was only my second time setting foot in the state. 

We found him. Did some sort of handshake thing. Took this photo (above) and grabbed Josh, who will forever be known as “the man who put The Beast in me.”

Resting peacefully in a logo takeout tray was a wrapped mini burger (slider) alongside three breaded chicken strips (with a squirt of ketchup). I had been waiting months for this bite and it was about to happen. 

I heard angels. Again. I should have that checked out. 

The first bite of the beast was better than anything I could have imagined. If you’re still transitioning or you’re a vegan who craves a good burger. This is it. Firm and juicy. Slathered in ketchup. Resting in a soft slider roll. I could have eaten 50 of these little beasts (as an aside, the original Beast is BIG … haven’t had a chance to try it yet). Everything I miss about White Castle was in my hand and no one had to be killed to make it. 

Then I grabbed a chicken finger and dipped it into the ketchup. Crunchy. Juicy. A little bit of spice in the breading. Absolutely incredible. I ate all three and didn’t want it to end. Again, with the angels. 

I have to say in all honesty, I do wish the chicken fingers were gluten-free, I feel like this is a bit of a step back for the company since all their other offerings are GF. 

However … this little meal was a major highlight of the weekend and one I will cherish forever. Just like this photo of me and Justin that I am having blown up to poster size to hang over my desk. 

Go vegan. 

* In all fairness to my mom, she doesn’t play mahjong and she’s always been proud of me. Love you, Peg!

One Step Beyond: Glutenfree Vegan Beef Stroganoff

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I got in trouble tonight.

Jen told me I was eating too much “processed foods” (whatever that means) and not enough whole foods and vegetables. All of my vegan pizzas and vegan Buffalo wings and vegan soy chorizo tacos are nearly as bad for me as meat (according to Jen … I said that last line in a whiny voice).

So, tonight, I decided to go down in a blaze of glory: Gluten-free, vegan Beef Stroganoff. Boom. Epic.

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I always liked beef stroganoff. What’s not to like? Beef on noodles swimming in gravy with sour cream stirred in. Sounds like heaven to me. So when Beyond Meat introduced their Beyond Beef product, I was game to try and recreate this hearty Russian fare.

Really, the ingredients are pretty basic but to be able to make this gluten-free and vegan took some doing (especially since it is traditionally served over egg noodles).

I started with thin sliced onions, a variety of mushrooms, some parsley, vegetable stock, pepper, and gluten-free rice flour to create the gravy.

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After the gravy was bubbling, I added the Beyond Beef and stirred. It immediately took on the personality of a traditional beef stroganoff but SO much better for me (yeah, right).

Once the beef was hot, I stirred in my favorite Tofutti sour cream and poured the delectable concoction over my gluten free tagliatelle noodles (these look and taste very much like egg noodles).

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Jen and I stared longingly at each over across the stroganoff and she reiterated the importance of adding more greens to my diet. To which I responded by eating the parsley garnish.

Go vegan.

Do you own, or know someone who owns, a vegan company? Point them to ThankTank Creative!

 

Vegan Soup for the Soul

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Vegan Chicken Noodle Soup

It has been cold in Upstate New York. Very cold. At one point driving home from Philadelphia late last week, the temperature gauge on the car read -16°F. Literally, it was 16 degrees below zero and that’s not the wind chill. Today it was 1° and we were all taking off our layers and walking around in shorts.

So, what does a vegan do to stay warm when it’s that cold outside? Makes chicken* noodle soup, that’s what. Loaded with brocolli, onions, carrots, elbow macaroni, tofu, garlic, and chicken*. Moist, delicious chicken.*

A big, hot bowl of chicken noodle soup on a cold winter day does the trick. Bet you didn’t know that vegans can eat chicken.*


* The “chicken” in this recipe is from Beyond Meat and it is the perfect substitute for every dish that calls for chicken. Moist, tender, grilled strips of protein that fooled New York Times food writer Mark Bittman on a couple of occasions. Also, I actually know some vegans who won’t eat it because it’s too close to real meat. I happen to LOVE this product and use it in everything. Not only is it good for chickens, it’s really good for humans. Get this:

  • 100% vegan – No meat, dairy, or eggs used.
  • 20g of protein – More than chicken and an excellent, clean source.
  • Gluten free – Most faux meat products use vital wheat gluten.
  • Kosher –  L’chaim!
  • Non-GMO –  We don’t want no GMO in our meals.
  • Cholesterol free – What? Seriously? Like everything else wasn’t enough?
  • ABX & hormone free – Whatever this means … it’s not in there!

Beyond Meat is just one more reason to …

Go vegan.

Beyond Meat. Beyond Amazing. Be Vegan.

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@Beyond Meat. Beyond Amazing. Be #Vegan.

Where I live, the closest Whole Foods is four hours away. Which meant any chance of getting my hands on some Beyond Meat was a big commitment. I wrote the company numerous times about the possibility of being carried at our co-op in Ithaca (“The #5 Vegan Friendly City in the U.S.” ~ VegNews Magazine) and I tweeted at them numerous times and Facebook messaged them countless times and then … boom. A friend posted a photo on Facebook last week of Beyond Meat in the freezer section at Greenstar. I have to admit. I cried a little.

Did I have anything to do with Beyond Meat coming to Ithaca? Probably not but I am still taking credit for it.

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The first time I tried Beyond Meat a friend of mine smuggled it over the border from New Jersey. He told me it looked and tasted exactly like chicken. He said that Mark Bittman was fooled. This was going to change the way vegans, vegetarians, and even omnivores thought about “fake” meat. One bite of the chicken-free grilled flavor and I knew he was right. This changes everything.

If you’ve never tasted Beyond Meat and you have an opportunity to try it. Try it. It’s very, very convincing. In fact, some vegans won’t eat it because it freaks them out. I’m not one of them.  I am the Meaty Vegan. This stuff was made for me.

Now that it is available locally and I don’t have to buy it in some shady deal behind a dumpster in a dark alley, I am going to post many, many recipes for Beyond Meat (one of which will be a hot Buffalo “chicken” wing recipe that will satisfy any lover of wings and the other is a chicken-free vegan gluten-free penne ala vodka sauce that you’ll lick the bowl over). But, for know, let’s go the healthy route.

Here is my Vegan Beyond Meat Chicken-free Salad Wrap recipe. Enjoy!

  • 1/2 package Beyond Meat Chicken-free Grilled Flavor
  • 1/2 cup of Follow Your Heart Vegenaise
  • 3 stalks organic celery, thinly chopped
  • 1/2 red onion, finely chopped
  • 6 organic basil leaves, finely chopped
  • 1 medium organic carrot, julienned
  • 3-4 Rudi’s gluten-free, vegan spinach wraps

Place all chopped ingredients into large bowl and mix thoroughly. Tear* (don’t cut!) your Beyond meat into 1/2 inch pieces and stir into mixture. Fold in Vegenaise until fully incorporated. Salt and pepper to taste. Warm the Rudi’s wraps in a non-stick hot frying pan until soft (45 seconds). Roll 1/2 cup of the mixture into a wrap, open mouth, insert wrap into mouth, chew and enjoy. This recipe will make 3-4 nicely stuffed wraps.

Go vegan.


* Cutting Beyond Meat creates SUCH a clean, straight edge, it changes the perception of the meatiness, so I suggest always tearing it. Tearing it into pieces keeps the texture and taste consistent with “real” meat. There are other flavors available as well that each add a flavor flair to your favorite fare! Buy Beyond Meat and tell them the Meaty Vegan sent you!