This faux “ground beef” (or “meaty crumbles”) is a delicious alternative to the store-bought processed soy products. The mixture conveys the idea of meat without using any artificial ingredients or soy. You can use this “meat” as a base for lasagna or as the main ingredient in a wonderful tortière (meat pie) that’s impressive served as the main dish at a holiday meal. Alternatively, simply sprinkle some over your spaghetti and marinara sauce (I wouldn’t recommend cooking it in the sauce, as it will simply dissolve right in — though the flavors will still be delicious!). I’ve also used this “meat” as a topper over pizza, added it to wraps, and sprinkled my chili with it. Smoky, meaty, all natural, a good source of protein — and entirely plant-based. What better reason do you need to give up that meat?
How to Make Soy-Free Meat Crumbles [Vegan]
- 1 medium head cauliflower, trimmed and washed, broken into florets (about 1 pound/450 g after trimming)
- 2 cups (250 g) raw walnut halves
- 2 Tbsp (30 ml) extra virgin olive oil, preferably organic
- 2 cloves garlic, minced, or 1tsp (5 ml) garlic powder
- 1/4 tsp (1 ml) dried sage
- 1/2 tsp (2.5 ml) smoked paprika
- 1 tsp (5 ml) liquid smoke
- 1/2-3/4 tsp (2.5-3.5 ml) fine sea salt, to taste
- 2 Tbsp (30 ml) Bragg's liquid aminos, soy sauce, or tamari (omit for an entirely soy-free "meat")
- Preheat oven to 350 F (180C). Line a large rimmed cookie sheet or rectangular pan with parchment, or spray with nonstick spray.
- In a food processor, blend the cauliflower and nuts to a fine meal. Depending on how grainy you like your "meat," it can be more or less fine; I made mine like a coarse cornmeal.
- Transfer the mixture to a large bowl and add remaining ingredients.
- Using your (clean) hands, knead everything together thoroughly, until the grounds are uniformly coated.
- Turn the mixture into the pan and spread out evenly. Bake for 45 minutes and up to 1 hour 15 minutes (it will depend on the size of the pan and how thick the mixture is when you first begin to bake it), stirring after 30 minutes and then every 15 minutes after that, until the meat is dry and brown (if the layer underneath comes up looking wet and white--as cauliflower tends to do--then you need to keep baking). The grounds will begin to separate and intensify in color as they roast.
- Once the meat is cooked, you can cool, package, and freeze it for later use, or use it right away. Will keep, up to 3 days, covered in the refrigerator. May be frozen.