Hello there! Do I have a treat for you today!
It’s no secret that I love me some meat analogues. In fact, I have always loved these going way back, many years before I had even contemplated going vegan. At present, I work pretty hard to ensure that my diet is comprised of 80-90% whole foods, but every so often I still like to indulge in some meaty goodness (cruelty-free of course!).
I’ve blogged about Beyond Meat’s chicken-style strips before (check out this Grilled Chicken and Avocado Sandwich or this Spicy Chicken Quesadilla), but it was not until last week that I finally got my hands on some of their beef-free crumbles (using a Buy 1 Get 1 Free coupon that you can snag for yourself at the bottom of this post).
The bottom line: I LOVE IT. I think this is the best ground beef analogue I’ve had. And yes, it’s processed food, but it also happens to not be complete garbage. The ingredients are 100% gluten-free and soy-free, and do not include GMO’s.
The first thing I did with my Beef-free Crumbles was to recreate a comfort food that throws it WAY back: Hamburger Helper. Or, to take my darling H’s suggestion, we can refer to it as “Herbivore Helper.”
For the cheesy sauce, I used a recipe that one of my favorite bloggers, Jackie at Vegan Yack Attack, posted last week as part of her Vegan Cuts Pizza Party. I could have made my own cheese sauce, but hers is so damn good that there would be no sense to that! If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, right?
Okay, the recipe!
Vegan Hamburger Helper, aka Herbivore Helper, featuring Beyond Meat Beef-free Crumbles
Serves 2 very hungry people, or 4 normals…I am not normal
Vegan, dairy-free, soy-free, gluten-free option
4 oz. pappardelle pasta (or other pasta of choice…use GF pasta for gluten-free)
1 cup Beyond Meat beef-free crumbles
1 recipe of Jackie’s Cheese Sauce (or other cheese sauce of choice)–you will only need about half of it for this recipe, but make the whole thing and then go nuts putting the leftovers on everything!
1/4 tsp. dried basil
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
Salt and pepper to taste (optional)
Additional nutritional yeast (optional)
[Remember to put the cashews for the cheese sauce out to soak for at least 30 minutes before starting the rest of the ingredients!]
Boil water for pasta. While the water is coming to a boil, warm the beef-free crumbles in a skillet with a little bit of oil (per package directions).
When the water comes to a boil, add the pasta, while it’s cooking, make the cheese sauce in your blender (it’ll yield about 3/4 cup).
When pasta is done cooking, drain it, then add it to a large bowl and toss with 1/2 of the cheese sauce (use more or less to taste), beef-free crumbles, basil, and garlic powder. Add salt, pepper, and additional nutritional yeast to taste.
Scarf it down!
The second I was done snapping these photos, I completely devoured a heaping bowl of this stuff (like seriously, 3-4 times the size of the pictured serving). This is good, solid comfort food, folks. Even H, who normally is very picky and skeptical about any “fake” meats, tried a bite, and then asked for another, and another. I’d say it’s a winner!
If you would like your own Buy 1 Get 1 Free coupon, redeemable for any Beyond Meat product, you can get one by clicking this link. The coupon is good through June 1st. Stock up this week for Memorial Day 🙂
Disclaimer: I am a 2014 Beyond Meat ambassador. I am not compensated in any way for this, other than by getting awesome coupons that I can then share with you! All opinions are my own and as always, completely honest.