Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Vegan Hamburger Helper!

I'm still hard at work developing recipes for my next cookbook project, a collection of veganized versions of trendy foods from the past century. I don't have a publisher yet, because I prefer to wait until recipe development is complete before seeking one out. That way I don't have such deadline pressure. But I've set a personal deadline for myself to get all 150 or so recipes outlined by the end of 2014.

This week, I made a 1970s inspired dinner! Bring out the Flokati rugs and the wood paneling, folks. Let's take a trip back in time. Hamburger Helper was introduced in 1971, and convenience foods were all the rage. There is perhaps no more classic flavor than Beef Pasta — tender egg noodles and seasoned beef in a creamy sauce. Well, I veganized that and made Vegan Beef Pasta!

I can't find an eggless egg noodle, so I subbed whole wheat rotini pasta. I sauteed some Beyond Meat Beefy Beef-Free Crumbles in a little coconut oil. I made a powdered seasoning mix first with a few goodies from my spice cabinet, and then I mixed that with vegan beef broth and almond milk. I poured that over my "beef" and added the sauce and noodles. Voila! Just like Hamburger Helper but way better.

I promised Beyond Meat I'd develop some recipes using their new crumbles, so I'm publishing this Vegan Beef Pasta recipe at the end of this post!

By the way, those new Beyond Meat Beef-Free Crumbles are OUT OF THIS WORLD GOOD. They sent me some to try, and this was my first chance.

The crumbles have a delightful taste on their own, and I swear this is the closet faux beef has ever come real beef. I have a tendency to buy Boca crumbles (yes, their crumbles are vegan) because they're easier to find. But Beyond Meat puts those brands to shame. It's just so well-seasoned. By the way, I'll be tweaking this recipe for my cookbook so that it works with any vegan burger crumble or my homemade TVP beef. The Beyond Meat stuff brings extra awesome seasoning to the dish that I fear most other brands would not. I want to make sure this recipe is well-seasoned for any beef substitute.

They also sent me some of their Fiesty seasoned crumbles, and I'll use those to develop a recipe just for y'all. I'll get to work on that and publish it here soon.

On the side, I made a very 1970s salad — Romaine Salad with Lemon-Butter Dressing.

I found a recipe for a non-vegan lemon-butter dressing in the 1972 cookbook, The Vegetarian Epicure. I was like, "What?! Butter in a dressing?!" I just had to try it. My first try was pretty straightforward — just melted Earth Balance, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. But I think I'm gonna try adding grated garlic next time. It needed a little somethin'. File this under "work in progress."

Anyway, here's that Vegan Beef Pasta recipe!

Vegan Beef Pasta
Yields 4 servings

8 oz. package whole-wheat rotini pasta (cooked according to package directions)
1 Tbsp. coconut oil
2 cups frozen Beyond Meat Beef-Free "Beefy" Crumbles
3 Tbsp. cornstarch
1 Tbsp. onion flakes
1 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. smoked paprika
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1 1/2 cups vegan beef broth (I used one Edward & Sons Not-Beef cube dissolved in the water)
1 1/2 cups unsweetened almond milk

Heat the oil in a large skillet with sides over medium heat. Add the beef crumbles and saute for about 5 to 7 minutes or until thawed and slightly browned.

While the beef is cooking, combine the cornstarch and spices in a small bowl. Whisk the spice mixture into the broth. When the beef is browned, pour the broth in the skillet and stir continuously until most of the liquid is absorbed and the mixture is thick, about three minutes.

Pour in the almond milk and the cooked pasta. Stir to combine and continue to stir until the mixture has thickened, about five to six minutes.


Joni Newman said...

Butter dressing! That sounds incredible, especially with the added garlic. I have fond memories of hamburger helper growing up. It's so fun to have vegan versions of old family favorites!

Kayla Gillman said...

This recipe is brilliant! I was just eyeing the Beyond Meat crumbles yesterday at WFM - and I used to LOVE Hamburger Helper back in my early college days. Thanks so much for sharing!

Dana said...

I haven't tried the crumbles yet! They look great!

Dustin "Tux" Thibodeaux said...

That looks amazing!! Thanks for sharing.

Pam said...

I give up. I will NEVER cook my way through all the recipes I want to make! ;)

Livelovetravelx said...

Love these food posts, they make me hungry!!

Anonymous said...

MorningStar Farms Crumbles are NOT vegan. They used to be vegan but haven't been since 2009. The MorningStar crumbles contain both dairy and eggs.

Unknown said...

So good thanks!

Anonymous said...

Followed this recipe exactly. That sauce doesn't thicken, doesn't matter if you stir it for twelve hours. Add more corn starch unless you want noodle beef crumble soup.

Bianca said...

Hmmmm. Thanks Anonymous. I developed this awhile back and haven't had a chance to tweak it again. I hope I didn't mis-type the recipe. Thanks for the feedback. I will work on it.