Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Crazy Good Vegetarian Taco Meat (Nut-Free, Gluten-Free)

Crazy Good Vegetarian Taco Meat
Meaty, savory, chewy & perfectly salty - that's what this taco meat is! This is a new favorite recipe of ours!

A couple of my daughters took a road trip to go visit my parents. Lucky them, they got to eat grandma's food! My mom created this terrific vegetarian meat substitute on the 25th of this month. Mom will flavor this meat various ways. This recipe is for a taco meat flavor, and it is SO GOOD.

My daughter Lexi has been a vegetarian for a few years. Lexi has recently introduced a little meat to her diet, but is still generally vegetarian. As long as she remains healthy, we support her in her choice. Grandma and Lexi created this recipe together, so it is now officially named "LexiBurger".

This meat is high protein from the tofu and egg, and high fiber due to the perfectly chewy brown rice. You do not need to tell your family that they are eating tofu, because you cant tell it's in there! Freezing extra-firm tofu is a trick our family has used for years. When you thaw it and press the excess water out, it has an awesome meaty texture when you crumble it. Just buy some extra-firm tofu and throw it in your freezer just for this purpose.

The egg helps to bind everything together perfectly, just so you know.

Are you wondering what the "Umami" is mentioned below??? It's another flavor profile that they know about in Japan. It gives amazing full-bodied, rich, complex flavors to savory foods. MSG enhances umami, for example. Umami flavors are found in slow-roasted stews, and sauces made with fond which have been reduced to concentrate the flavors, mushrooms, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, etc. It's a mysterious flavor that you can't quite put your finger on, but you really notice when it's there because the food tastes so amazing, you just want to stuff your face! Look "umami" up online for a more detailed description.

Put this delicious taco "meat" in tacos, burritos, with or without re-fried beans and cheese, on top of nachos, or on top of a taco salad. Lexi brought some of this meat to my house and we made nachos for a tasty filling treat. YUM. I have pictures of our nachos in this post.

 Look at this meat, it tastes even better than it looks!

Crazy good vegetarian taco meat nachos.

Vegetarian Lexi Burger:

1 package organic extra-firm tofu
1 1/4 to 1 1/3 c. chewy cooked organic short grain brown rice
1/4 to 1/3 c. soaked chopped dried onion
2 T. rice oil
1 T soy sauce (Tamari for gluten-free)
1 to 2 T. hot taco sauce, to taste
2 t. sunbutter (sunflower seed butter), up to 3 t., for richness
1 small beaten organic egg
2 t. organic paprika (or ground chili)
2 t. onion powder
1/2 t. garlic salt
1/2 t. mushroom powder (to add full-bodied complex "Umami" flavor)
1/4 to 1/2 t. cumin powder
Chipotle powder, to taste
1/2 c. or more deodorized coconut oil, for browning the mixture.
Fresh ground pepper, to taste
Seasonall seasoned salt, to taste
Garlic salt, to taste
1/2 c. more cooked rice, if needed


Do ahead of time:

1.  Slice and freeze the box of tofu for at least 24 hours. THAW. Press firm to remove excess water and crumble finely.

2.  Cook the short grain brown rice only until it's nice and chewy, then chill at least overnight for best results (over-cooking makes the rice mushy).

The day of making the Vegetarian Taco Meat:

Mix the crumbled tofu with the 1 1/4 to 1 1/3 c. cooked brown rice and soaked dried onion flakes in a medium mixing bowl.

Add the rice oil, soy sauce, hot sauce, and sunbutter, and toss well to combine.

Add the beaten egg and toss well to coat completely.

Toss with the paprika, onion powder, garlic salt, mushroom powder, cumin, and chipotle.

Heat 1/2 c. coconut oil in a large skillet, when starting to sizzle, dump in the tofu mixture and stir-fry it like you would fried rice. You want to brown it a little, but do not over-brown or it can get a little dry. Add more oil if needed.

Season to taste with pepper, Seasonall, garlic salt, etc.

If the vegetarian meat mixture turns out too rich and oily, just work in another 1/2 cup or so of cooked rice.

For the nachos, we melted cheddar and jack cheese over gluten-free tortilla chips. Topped the nachos with the warm "meat mixture, drizzled on salsa and topped with a dollop of sour cream. I was too lazy to go get a can of olives, but we would of loved some along with fresh guacamole!


Leila & Nancy.