Infamous for its bone-chillingly cold winters, its plethora of lakes, and for being the birthplace of the late legend Prince, Minnesota — and, in particular, Minneapolis and St. Paul, the state’s “Twin Cities” — are brimming with art, history, and food. And there’s nothing we here at One Green Planet like to explore more than food — specifically, plant-based food.
We’re bringing you five of the Twin Cities’ most iconic dishes, and showing you how to make them plant-based. Oh, yes. Read on below to find out how:
1. The Jucy Lucy
If you’re impressed with the Food technology company Impossible Foods‘ plant-based Impossible Burger for its realistic, meaty-texture, beet “blood”, and flavor profile, then we dare you to dream even bigger. Imagine a plant-based patty stuffed with gooey, melty vegan cheese.
The Jucy Lucy is traditionally just a cheeseburger with the cheese encased inside of the patty instead of on top of it, and Minnesotans claim to have invented them: specifically, these two bars in South Minneapolis claim credit for it: Matt’s Bar and the 5-8 Club.
For our version, we give you either the Shake Shack Double Stack Copycat: Cashew Cashew Cheese Stuffed Portobello Mushroom Burger, which features two Portobello mushrooms stuffed with melty cashew cheese, coated in panko breadcrumbs and fried until crispy then sprinkled with rosemary salt, or the equally impressive Mozzarella Stuffed Cannellini Burgers. Cannellini beans are great because they are mild in flavor which lets you decide on the flavor profile you want to make with seasonings.
A hot dish is essentially just a casserole, although the reverse is not true (learn about that paradox in the documentary Minnesota Hotdish: A Love Story). Hot dishes almost always feature a starch base (rice, noodles, or potatoes are common, simple staples) and are bound together by some kind of cream-based soup (like cream of mushroom). People tend to add different meats, canned veggies, and texturally interesting toppings, like toasted breadcrumbs or even fried onions. Just make sure your vegan recipe is served in a casserole dish and you’re doing Minnesota proud.
This Butternut Squash, Portobello, and Spinach Casserole With Sausage is hearty, but not heavy. It’s worthy of being the spotlight food on any dinner table. It radiates homey, rustic warmth, and it can be made a full day ahead of time —plus, the leftovers store beautifully.This Polenta Bake With Caramelized Onions and Portobello Bacon is perfect for any occasion, from big gatherings to family dinners, while this Mashed Potato Casserole With Broccoli and a Cauliflower Gravy is the stuff that dreams are made from.
This time of year, when we think of the fall harvest, our minds tend to wander to apples and pumpkins. For Minnesotans, however, their state’s official grain, wild rice — an aquatic grass that is central to the Ojibway Indian diet — is so important that it gets its own annual Wild Rice Festival.
Before we get into recipes, make sure to read up on Everything You Want to Know About Wild Rice and 5 Reasons Wild-Rice Rocks On a Gluten-Free or Grain-Free Diet. Wild rice is the easiest rice to digest and it enhances your digestion because it’s rich in magnesium, which contributes to regularity and a healthy nervous system.
If you want to enjoy wild rice on its own, try this Wild Rice Pilaf With Butternut Squash, Cranberries, and Pecans or this creamy White Bean Wild Rice Hash. This Mixed Herb Lentil and Wild Rice Soup is great if you’re on the hunt for warmth and comfort.
Catch us any time of day, and day of the week, and you can rest assured we have dessert on our minds — which is why we dig Minnesotan’s love for bar-shaped desserts. Minnesotan desserts bars are prepared in a pan, baked in the oven, and have the texture of a firm cake. Bring a hot dish from above and a dessert bar to a potluck in Minneapolis, and you’ll be treated like a beloved local right off the bat.
These Raw 7-Layer Bars epically amazing. Crave-worthy would be an understatement, while these Magic Cookie Bars are crunchy, creamy, sweet, and crispy — really, they’re everything you want in a cookie bar. If you’re a real chocolate lover, go ahead and load up on more chocolate chips. As hard as it may be, let these sit overnight before eating them! The result tastes like magic.
If the hotdish is the unofficial state food of Minnesota, then tater tot’s win as the state’s unofficial comfort food. Tater Tot Hot Dishes, in particular, invoke a sense of nostalgia and delight among Minnesotans; it’s hugely popular. No, really. There’s even a “Tater Tot Hotdish” song.
The beauty of tater tots is that you don’t only need to serve them hot-dish style. You can make your own Tater Tot-Chos With Beer Cheese at home — crispy tater tots are served with spicy, melty vegan cheese sauce, meat-free chili, and smoky vegetable protein bacon bits.
Lead image source: Frontpage/Shutterstock