Fettucine & Meatballs in a Minute
1. If the idea of using a "faux" meat product even once-in-awhile is appalling to you, just skip this post.
2. If you can't eat soy, gluten, natural flavorings, or a little added oil, stop right now.
If you received this post via email, click here to get to the web version & links.
But, if you're like me, and sometimes on a busy night you'd love to have spaghetti & meatballs in a flash--without much effort--& you don't want to take an hour to make your own "beanballs"--keep on reading.
Or if once in awhile a little bit of Field Roast Mexican style chipotle chorizo, or Italian sausage would add just the right kick to your pizza, chili, roasted 40 clove broccoli, potato, & chickpea creation, split pea soup, or scrambled tofu--you've come to the right place!
Summer's almost here. Time to start firing up that grill! Do you ever just once-in-a-while think about grilling a hand-made burger that's seasoned just the way you want it to be? And I'm not talking Boca Burgers! What about a change from the standard grilled portobello or black bean burger?
I'm talking about a burger that looks, grills & tastes pretty darn close to an old-fashioned grilled burger without the fat? Well, I've got the solution.
And what about those meat-loving-vegan-resistant spouses, kids, or dinner guests? My favorite fauxs, Match & Field Roast, just might move them further along on the plant-strong continuum.
Think of these fauxs as friends or Vegan Training Wheels!
Introducing my once-in-awhile favorite fauxs.
The old stand-by: Field Roast Sausage
The new kid-on-the-block: Match Gourmet Vegan Meat Alternative
For me, these are every-once-in-awhile treats--on days when I'm feeling lazy--have no leftovers in the fridge--no time to cook--or when just a little bit of crumbled Italian, Chipotle, or Apple Sage "sausage" will turn a good recipe into an extraordinary one!
Meet the Meatless Match
I discovered Match, in The Pritikin Edge, written by Dr. Robert A. Vogel & Paul Tager Lehr. The Pritikin Program has been around for fifty years, founded by Nathan Pritikin. It was the first comprehensive lifestyle program to successfully treat obesity, heart disease, and diabetes with a low fat whole foods diet along with exercise.
Its medical director is Dr. Robert Vogel--the University of Maryland researcher who pioneered the use of the brachial artery tourniquet test (FMD) to measure the effects of specific foods on arterial endothelial function. Turns out, a McDonald's meal flunked the test. Olive oil got a big F. Vegetables, fruits, vinegar, high omega-3 fish & canola oil all passed. Click here for the high-fat meal study and here for Vogel's Mediterranean foods study.
Although the Pritikin program does allow 15-20% of daily calories (compared to Esselstyn's 9-12%) to come from the naturally occuring fat found in foods--it doesn't use oil or fat for cooking, except for an occasional spritz of a cooking spray to prevent sticking. But, Pritikin is not exclusively plant-based.
Enter Match! My curiosity was piqued when I read that the Pritikin Program special orders Match's Italian "Sausage" for its "meatless" meatballs, and they highly recommend it. I was curious about this meatless product and checked out their website. Turns out you really have to be resourceful if you want to buy Match. It's made in St. Louis, so it's widely availabe all over Missouri (and St. Louis-ians love Match), but it can be only be found in about 10 other states. Click here for those locations.
For all the rest of us, if you want to try Match, you'll need to order it online, at one of three locations that carry it. Or try & convince your local market to carry it! Click here for the online locations.
What Exactly is Match?
The Marketing Pitch (definitely aimed at meat-lovers wanting a healthier alternative--might be a big turn-off to those already plant-strong):
"MATCH® premium meat alternative looks like meat. It tastes like meat. It prepares like meat. Because it is meat – from a healthier source.
MATCH® is a gourmet-quality vegan match for animal meat. So it provides the taste, texture and nutrition meat lovers want, without the saturated fats, cholesterol, hormones or antibiotics of animal meat.
It not only cuts out saturated fats, cholesterol and hormones; it also cuts down on prep time. So the meals you love are not only better for you; they’re also quicker. Cook with it, taste it, love it....MATCH® will exceed your expectations." (Me: It exceeded mine!)
OK, forget the marketing hype, what exactly is this stuff?
It's plain old no-fat textured vegetable soy protein, wheat gluten, a little canola oil (a deal-breaker for some of you), and natural flavorings. It's not fat-free. It's not salt free. I look at it like a once-in-awhile indulgence.
And if you have family members or dinner guests who aren't quite ready to make the plant-based leap--this just may do the trick! This stuff is nothing like Boca Burgers or Veggie Crumbles. The texture is just right and it's easy to cook! I hear their "crab cakes" are fantastic.
You use it & season it just like would ground beef, chicken, or crab--because it comes in one pound bulk packages. Just thaw it overnight & use it anyway you like--in burgers, chilis, tacos, meatloaves, casseroles or on the grill. For guidelines for cooking with Match, click here. For videos on cooking with Match, click here.
Match chicken is great on the grill and used in fajitas or on top of salads. My daughter-in-law's friends in the Loo (St. Louis) are big fans!
Don't want to cook an entire pound? Just refreeze it--or it stays fresh in the fridge for 5 days, and it can be frozen for a year. It's not meat!
There's a 27 page Chef's guide that provides cooking suggestions, recipes, applications, and answers to all your questions. You'll find that here, under Match's Chef's Guide. Be sure to check this out if Match sounds interesting to you.
My story: I had heard rave reviews about this product, and since we were going to be driving to Match's hometown, St. Louis, at the end of May, I decided to mail-order Match's ground beef, Italian sausage, & chicken three weeks ago so I could taste-test them. I was really curious about this stuff!
I figured, if we liked how it tasted, we could stock up on some Match while in St. Louis.
The verdict: Next week I'm going to bring home some "ground beef" and "Italian sausage". Local friends: If you want to try a package, let me know before next Wednesday!
The Grilled Burgers
Match exceeded my expectations! I made four burgers and threw them on the grill, and topped them with grilled onions & ketchup. I let my husband take the first bite. "This is really good! Texture & taste are just right. It tastes like a grilled burger." It was so filling, I could only finish half of mine.
When you feel the need for a summer time grilled burger fix--Match will do the trick!
Burger, Grilled Onions, Spicy Roasted Yukon Golds, & Isa's Cool Slaw
Grilled Match Burger
On the Grill - Ready in Minutes
The Italian Sausage Meatballs
Making Italian meatballs couldn't have been easier. I thawed the package overnight. Rolled about 15 "meatballs", and baked them on parchment paper in a 350 degree oven for 30 minutes, turning them after 15 minutes. They already come nicely seasoned with red pepper flakes, Italian herbs, and real fennel seed--but I like more kick in my sausage--next time I'll just mix in some extra.
Just drop them into a pot of no-fat jarred spaghetti sauce, and you have spaghetti & meatballs ready in minutes. I took the leftovers to work, stuffed in a bun & topped with spaghetti sauce. OMG! So good.
Now I can once again make my favorite Italian Wedding Soup Rapido! When I tried adding Isa's Veganomicon homemade "beanballs" (made with beans & wheat gluten) to my soup they just fell apart--Match "meatballs" will not!
Field Roast for Small Batch Craft-Made Grain Meat Sausages
I've been using Field Roast for years to kick up some of my recipes a notch: like pizza, lentil soup, lasagna, rice salad with grilled peppers, onions & sausage--and more.
The Deal-Breaker For Some of You: Field Roast contains some expeller-pressed safflower oil. My low-fat solution: I just use 1 sausage for an entire recipe that serves 4-6. And just a little of these well-seasoned-just-right-texture gems makes a big difference.
Field Roast Sausages click here for the company's web site
Long ago, Field Roast founder Chef David Lee was looking for a meat substitute to use in a teriyaki wrap. He experimented with a concentrated wheat protein food called seitan (wheat gluten), whose origins date back to seventh-century China and borrowed from European cuisine, mixing the seitan with wine, mustard, garlic, herbs, vegetables, and legumes. The result formed the base for what would become an entire line of Field Roast meatless meats—now available nationwide—ranging from a variety of amazingly authentic-tasting sausages to various roasts (also available as deli slices) to veggie burgers.
Field Roast has become one of the main players in meeting America's growing hunger for healthy, humane, and delicious vegetarian foods—even many nonvegetarians agree that Chef Lee's delicious meatless sausages have the "real" thing beat by a mile!
Italian sausage with eggplant, fennel, fresh garlic & red pepper: vital wheat gluten (seitan), filtered water, expeller pressed safflower oil, red wine, eggplant, onions, naturally flavored yeast extract, garlic, barley malt, dried red bell pepper, fennel seed, granulated garlic, spices, and sea salt.
Mexican Chipotle sausage-very hot & spicy with smoked chipotle and chili de arbol peppers: use as chorizo in vegan or vegetarian omelettes or frittatas, or to spice up veggie chili or black bean soup--vital wheat gluten (seitan), filtered water, expeller pressed safflower oil, onions, garlic, apple cider vinegar, naturally flavored yeast extract, chipotle peppers, onion powder, granulated garlic, brown sugar, spices, sea salt, barley malt, black pepper, chili de arbol peppers, cumin seed, paprika oleoresin and oregano. Check this out.
Smoked Apple Sage sausage with Yukon gold potatoes, apples and rubbed sage: filtered water, vital wheat gluten (seitan), expeller pressed safflower oil, non-sulphered dried apples, yukon gold potatoes, naturally flavored yeast extract, onion powder, barley malt, garlic, natural hickory smoke flavor with torula yeast, sea salt, spices and rubbed sage.
My past posts about Field Roast:
Thanks To My New Vegan Artisan Favorite - Field Roast Italian Sausages - Rice Salad With Grilled Italian Sausage, Peppers, And Onions Is Back On My Menu
Company's Coming for Dinner! How about Triple Rice Salad with Dried Fruits, Nuts and Grilled Vegan Apple Sage Sausage (Field Roast, of course)
Where to Buy? Find them at Whole Foods, health food stores, and now even my grocery store carries them! Word must be getting out!
Garlicky Roasted Broccoli, Yukon Golds, Chickpeas & Field Roast Chorizo
This recipe couldn't be easier, tastier, healthier, or satisfying.
Three weeks ago my husband made Appetite for Reduction's Forty-Clove Chickpeas & Broccoli. We thought it looked more like a side-dish than a meal, so we decided to crumble up a link of Field Roast Mexican Chipotle Sausage into it. Ordinary suddenly turned into Wow! But, both of us decided this dish needed more heft--and roasted potatoes would do the trick. Next time.
One more thing! Last year I was inspired to remake Mark Bittman's NYT recipe for Pan-Fried Chickpeas with Chorizo & Spinach using no oil & vegan Field Roast Chorizo! Fabulous! You might want to try this one, too!
Bittman's Pan-Fried Chickpeas & Chorizo
My NYT comment to Mark about my "remake":
"This looks delicious!! I’ve recently tried 2 other recipes that call for browned chickpeas & they take garbanzos to a whole new level.
Thanks for the towel drying technique–didn’t know about that.
Mark, you won’t approve of this–-but, if anyone wants to try a vegetarian version of your recipe, check out Field Roast Sausages–they are AMAZING.
They’re not icky fakey meat, but artisan-made in small batches & there even is a a very spicy Chorizo flavor–alas, it’s called Mexican Chipotle–not your favored Spanish version–but it’s made to sub for chorizo."
Garlicky Roasted Broccoli, Yukon Golds, Chickpeas & Field Roast Chorizo
For the recipe on one page, click here
Prep time: 15 minutes
Total time: 1 hour
1 pound broccoli, cut into large spears, stems chopped in 1/2-inch pieces
15 cloves of garlic, peeled & smashed, but kept whole.
2 (15-ounce) cans of chickpeas, drained & rinsed
About 1 1/4 pounds of Yukon Gold potatoes (4 cups), cut into small chunks
1/2 tsp. salt, optional
Freshly ground black pepper
2 tsp. lemon zest (a must!)
1 1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1-2 Field Roast Mexican Chipotle sausages, thawed in the microwave if frozen (casing removed), & crumbled. No need to pan "fry".
1 cup vegetable broth
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
1. Pre-roast the potatoes for about 20 minutes (seasoned with your choice of roasting spices & an optional light spritz with canola cooking spray) while you prepare the rest of the ingredients. Flip the potatoes half-way through. Remove from oven and set aside to add back into the whole dish during the last 15 minutes of baking.
2. Place the broccoli, garlic, and chickpeas into a large shallow roasting pan. I used the bottom of my broiler pan. Spray the beans & broccoli with a little expeller pressed canola cooking spray (or not). Sprinkle with the salt, black pepper, lemon zest, and oregano. Toss to coat evenly. Pop it in the oven.
3. Bake for 15 minutes, and then flip everything. Bake for 15 more minutes. Now, remove the pan from the oven & add 1 cup of vegetable broth, and add back in the pre-roasted potatoes, and 1 crumbled link of Field Roast Mexican Chipotle sausage. Use a spatula to scrape up any crisp bits of flavor from the bottom of the pan. Return to the oven for another 15 minutes (45 minutes total roasting time), or until the garlic cloves are nice and tender and the brocoli is browned in some places.
Nutrition Info based on 1/6 of a serving:
Garlicky Chickpea, Broccoli & "Chorizo"
Serving Size: 1 serving
|Amount Per Serving|
Have you ever used Field Roast or MATCH?
Does it totally go "against your grain" to occasionally use the fauxs?
I'd love to know!
I know faux meats are usually dismissed as "processed junk food"--and that's "mostly" my point of view--but when I mentioned MATCH & Field Roast to my plant-based friends, they were all ears.
Another plus: They might be a good substitute for their non-plant-based spouses & kids.
Honestly, sometimes a good faux can have a time & a place. They can be wonderful time-savers, and flavor boosters.