If you’re a vegan living under a rock for the past year, you may not heave heard of Beyond Meat. It’s a faux meat product that looks, feels, tastes and acts like cooked chicken – but it’s 100% vegan, non-GMO and gluten-free, and the inventor is a native of Maryland.
We first tried Beyond Meat over a year ago at the Roots Market stand during DC Veg Fest 2012. A lot of other vegans in the crowd weren’t sure about it – after all, it really DOES look and feel like real chicken. Even TV Chef, Alton Brown has endorsed the product.
Unlike any other meat substitute we’ve encountered, Beyond Meat has a convincing taste and texture. Your friends and family who think vegan food is “weird” are going to love this. In fact, you can likely fool them. We know several folks who have tricked meat eaters with Beyond Meat. The company has a conscience, too. Their packages encourage recycling and clearly states commitments to human health, reversing climate change, conserving nature and respecting animals. Gotta love that.
In pretty much any recipe that uses chicken, Beyond Meat will make the switch. I mean, obviously not a whole-bird roast – you have to be practical! 🙂 But if you have an old family cookbook like I do, you can easily use Beyond Meat in many of your mom and grandmom’s favorite chicken recipes. It hold ups well during prep, doesn’t get mealy or fall apart with cooking and takes on flavor smoothly.
We have tried Plain, South West and BBQ flavors. It’s available at Roots Market, MOM’s and Whole Foods so far. Oh, and this product makes a mean chicken-less salad. Pack some in a wrpa for lunch – your co-workers will envy you!
For this post, we made a casserole. It’s ideal for feeding a crowd, and would work well a potluck over the holidays, especially one catering to both vegans and omnivores.
South West Casserole
1 Tbl. olive oil
4-5 cups broccoli (one large head), chopped
1 large onion, sliced into half moons
1 pack of South West style Beyond Meat, cubed
2 tsp. chili powder
2 tsp. garlic powder
2 cups fresh tomatoes, chopped roughly and seeded
1 cup fresh bell peppers, chopped and seeded
1/4 cup all purpose flour (gluten-free blend will work)
1/3 container (about 1/2 cup) of plain vegan cream cheese, room temperature (we used Tofutti)
2 large tortillas, sliced into one-inch strips (we used Trader Joe’s red pepper type; gluten-free will work)
1/2 bag (about one cup) vegan cheddar-style shreds (we used Daiya)
sliced green onions, to serve (optional)
siracha or other hot sauce, to serve (optional)
Preheat oven to 375. Use olive oil to grease a casserole dish and set aside.
In a large pot, steam broccoli and onions until just soft, about 3-5 minutes. Strain water, and shock in an ice bath to preserve the green of the broccoli. Set aside.
Toss the chopped Beyond Meat with chili powder and garlic powder; add in tomatoes and peppers.
Stir together vegan cream cheese and flour to make a thick paste.
Begin to layer the casserole: first, add broccoli and onions. Dot with cream cheese/flour combo. Next, pour on Beyond Meat layer with the tomatoes and peppers. Weave the tortilla strips on top, over-and-under to make a basket-like pattern. Or you can just lay them across if you aren’t feeling artsy. Load on the 1/2 bag of vegan cheddar shreds.
Bake for 20 minutes at 375, uncovered. The casserole will be bubbly and the cheddar shreds will melt. Allow to sit on the counter-top to cool about 15 minutes before serving. Top with green onions and siracha, as desired and enjoy! OH – and be sure to notice that Beyond Meat! It will add a chewy, hearty texture and give your casserole unique substance, sure to please the fussiest eater!