Bad Vegan Food

Not all vegan food is good. And I don’t mean that all vegan food isn’t good for you. Hopefully, you already know that. But there are some vegan products out there that you hope are not the first item a vegan-curious person tastes, because it will give a bad rep to all other vegan food.

For example, in the weeks just before going vegan, I purchased some Beyond Meats Beast Burgers at Whole Foods. I made burgers for my partner and I, and we both felt the burgers tasted “off”. My partner commented that perhaps someone who hasn’t had meat in forever would be the only person that could enjoy it. This was sad for me. I had been reading about Beyond Meat, and was excited to try their “meat”. After tasting it, I felt disappointed that it wasn’t a better substitute for meat. It was okay until halfway into the burger when I could really taste the offness of it. I’d be curious to try it now that I have been meat-free for a while, but I don’t think it will make a difference, because now I realize it’s trying to taste like meat, and that’s the problem.

Today, we tried Field of Roast Frankfurters. I had read many reviews of the product, and could not find a single bad review. However, I have to give it a bad review. I’m glad to see that so many people like it, just like Beast Burgers, but it’s not for me. I threw away the leftovers. It just tasted off.

Do I not like faux meats in general then? Not always. Meatless burgers are my go to staple food that is highly satisfying everytime (but only the right ones). I also enjoy soy chorizo in which I’ve only tried two brands and Helen’s Kitchen is one that I remember. I have enjoyed tempeh and seitan, but not everytime. It depends on various factors. I usually am never offended by tofu, unless it wasn’t prepared properly (must thoroughly dry tofu!).

I used some of these products as a crutch at first, feeling like I needed something meaty in a dish or I wouldn’t be satisfied. However, I’ve gotten a lot better at using vegetables like sweet potatoes, regular potatoes, eggplant, squash, lentils, black beans, quinoa, etc. to make items feel meaty and complete. I also use extra firm tofu for many dishes. I find it completes a dish while still maintaining the elements of healthy and fresh.

For meatier tofu: Pour boiled salted water over sliced tofu, dry with towels completely, toss dried tofu in cornstarch, and then pan fry tofu in olive oil before adding to a dish.

I’ve also found that I enjoy vegan burgers most when I can recognize all of the ingredients, and the first few ingredients are grains or vegetables. My absolute favorite burger patty is Amy’s Kitchen Sonoma. It doesn’t taste meaty per se, but it’s not supposed to. It is deeply satisfying between two buns with some veganaise, chipotle hot sauce, creole mustard, chopped jalapenos, pickles, arugula and salt & vinegar chips.

In conclusion, I am not a fan of meats that are trying to taste like meats in general, and I worry that these products hurt the image of vegan foods overall.

Burning-Mouth Fogging-Glasses Painful Spicy Fajitas

I’m from South Louisiana and I like spicy food. Cliche, I know, but I don’t just like spicy food…I like painfully spicy food. No, I don’t have a death wish and I’m not a masochist, but spicy foods provide me with an adrenaline-pumping shot to my entire being that makes me feel alive and happy. I always know I’m at the right heat level when my glasses fog up. My dining mates find it funny to watch when this occurs, but it’s hard for me to see them laughing at me through my completely fogged up glasses or hear them laughing over the sound of my pounding heart, so I don’t mind.

My favorite food is Mexican, and Mexican food also happens to be one of the most vegan-friendly foods (when you replace or remove the cheese, sour cream, butter, lard, and meat, of course). With Mexican, you can easily add avocados and/or use a cheese or sour cream substitute to give any dish a creamy taste, as I did with this recipe. You also can add some type of umami flavor to replace the flavor that animal meat would add such as mushrooms, soy sauce, vegan steak sauce, and vegan Worcestershire sauce (regular Worcestershire is normally made with anchovies).

I discovered a love for cooking after I stopped following recipes. So, no recipe, and I can’t really tell you how much of each thing I put in it. It’s more fun and liberating that way. You don’t even have to keep reading at this point. Just go in the kitchen, saute vegetables of your choice, and then put it in a tortilla with toppings of your choice. Easy.

My no-recipe recipe:

Please note first, I like my vegetables cooked very, very, extremely well and caramelized for fajitas. This is a personal preference and not recommended, but does explain the very dark color of my fajita “meat”.

How I made it:

Added coconut oil and olive oil to a cast-iron pan. I ended up adding more of both oils as it cooked, but don’t get crazy like me because I added more than necessary on accident.

Sauteed onions and chopped peppers (Used multi-colored bell pepper pieces, jalapeno pepper, habanero pepper, anaheim pepper, and canned chipotle peppers in adobo sauce). I didn’t discard any of the seeds of the peppers except for the anaheim pepper because it’s not a spicy pepper so I didn’t see the point.

Added spices including cumin, garlic powder, paprika, ancho chile powder, salt, and pepper.

After this cooked down and began to caramelize, I pushed it to one side of the pan, and then used the now free side to saute sliced portbella mushrooms in vegan Worcestershire, soy, and steak sauce. You can and probably should just do this in another pan, but I didn’t so I’d have less dishes to wash. Again, personal preference. I also added the same spices to the mushrooms for no apparent reason.

Fajita Meat
Fajita Meat

Heated up a tortilla on my gas stove burner. Heated up canned black beans.

Made guacamole by mixing one avocado with the juice of one lime (I really like lime. Do not add this much lime.) Added generous salt and chopped red onions.

Finally, I placed all the finished products on the tortilla and wrapped one side like a burrito for easy eating. (Added a bit of vegan sour cream and Tabasco’s Chipotle Hot Sauce on top before wrapping.)

Fajita Wrap Before Wrapping and Devouring
Fajita wrap before wrapping and devouring

 

Last thing I see before I lose my sight
Last thing I saw before I lost my sight

 

D….F’N….Licious