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Simulating meat

 
Posts: 484
Location: Englehart, Ontario, Canada
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Would anyone have good recipes for meat alternatives that will simulate meat for bbq's, pulled pork, hamburgers etc....?
 
pollinator
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I don't have any good, hard-n-fast recipes for replacing the meat flavor and texture, but maybe a few things-n-thoughts for getting started and generally found at most grocers. This may not be what you were looking for, but a place to start experimenting maybe.

1) Vital Gluten (typically 75%)--Bob's Red Mill a common supplier in the States.
2) Extra Firm Tofu
3) Mushrooms
4) nuts of your choice
5) Nutritional Yeast flakes
6) garlic or garlic powder
7) cooked bean mash, from either cooked whole beans or bean powder
Lots of your favorite spices.

I've found R. Wilkinson's Baked Seitan recipe ( https://permies.com/t/55575/vegan/kitchen/Baked-Seitan-wheat-meat-gluten ) to be a great facsimile of chicken nuggets....good with dipping sauces. Seitan prepared either that way or in numerous other ways found on the internet can be ground (lightly) in a blender as can the firm tofu and mushrooms. This forms a nice 'burger base' for making patties or for using as 'sloppy joes'. For making patties, use the ground seitan/tofu/mushroom mix combined with something like refried bean paste or a nut-paste/butter along with nutritional yeast, garlic powder and other spices, and a bit more vital-gluten powder to bind things together. Add enough water (or something flavorful with water like tomato juice) to get things mixed into a paste. If the mix is too thin to make a patty, you can also add uncooked rolled oats or oat bran, sometimes ground almond or other nuts, etc. And generously use spices and flavorings like mustard, paprika, liquid smoke, salt/pepper, etc.
The patties are pan-fried in oil....you may wish to try adding oil directly to the burger mix and letting it do the work on the grill. Alternatively, you may just lightly cook the patties in oil in a pan and then transfer them to the grill for finishing.

The only recipe at this point for faux pulled pork that I've seen is to use jack fruit: http://minimalistbaker.com/bbq-jackfruit-sandwiches-with-avocado-slaw/
 
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If you're committed to veganism why doctor and process products to look, taste, and feel like animal flesh? Not judging just asking.
 
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Jd Gonzalez wrote: If you're committed to veganism why doctor and process products to look, taste, and feel like animal flesh? Not judging just asking.



I agree, trying to make something taste like something it is not can be alot of effort.

Why go through this effort when there are so many flavors and textures available to vegans?

You may wish to examine your cooking techniques, for many of the protein source benefit from cooking styles they may not be common in your culture.

Legumes, mushrooms, etc. may be common to climate zones, however how each food culture prepares them can be very different.

I would start with looking at the possible nutrients sources and then look at ways different cultures prepare them.

You will likely find some really great recipes you like.

As for your meat loving guests, as a meat lover myself, don't try to feed them vegeburgers. Make me a good vegan curry on a work over the grill instead!!!
 
Max Kennedy
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Jd Gonzalez wrote: If you're committed to veganism why doctor and process products to look, taste, and feel like animal flesh? Not judging just asking.



Because I like hamburgers, steaks etc and though not ready to give it up entirely at this time am conscious of the environmental impact of even grass fed vs factory farmed and am looking to reduce the burden.
 
pollinator
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Max Kennedy wrote:Because I like hamburgers, steaks etc and though not ready to give it up entirely at this time am conscious of the environmental impact of even grass fed vs factory farmed and am looking to reduce the burden.



My thinking is similar. There are lots of dishes I like that have meat in them. Substituting plant-derived protein helps the environment, and one's health. For what it's worth, there is a long history in the Chinese culture world of creating imitation meat for Buddhists who won't eat flesh but still want kung-pao chicken or whatever. There are lots of restaurants in Taiwan, for instance, which are veggie (and advertise themselves as such) but still serve all the usual Chinese food, just made with substitutes. Some are more convincing than others, of course, but it's pretty inspiring.
 
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I hear jack fruit has a meat like texture and absorbs flavors well. Might be something to look into.
 
pollinator
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I am an unapologetic omnivore, but have backed myself quite a bit away from the almost-carnivore stage since I discovered permaculture.

A few other things feed into it for me, but essentially my situation is this: I don't want to eat cheap factory-farmed meat, especially where it comes to organ meats. I prefer to get my meat at a butcher, and I try to source local and grass-fed, and preferably pastured. Because of this and the associated financial cost, I am eating much less meat, and enjoying what I do eat more.

For myself, I have learned, as suggested above, that it's futile to try to sate my inner carnivore by trying to imitate meat tastes in non-meat foods. It's at best a tease.

So I make meatless dishes. They can usually be either vegetarian or vegan, and the difference boils down to which fat/oil and cream I use (I use coconut cream for thai curries for the taste).

I have taken to making lentil curries of different types. I don't like tofu, so I don't use it in the kitchen, but I don't often find it necessary. I find myself using roasted mashed squash, sweet potatoes, or other starchy roots as a veggie base for stews and soups.

I like many-bean and lentil veggie chili, and I find that when I am having a carnivore craving, very flavourful, highly-spiced, or hot dishes with a diversity of textures often give me other things about the flavour and texture profiles that I enjoy.

Having said all that, I have been thinking about experimenting with bean pastes, lentils, different grains, nut meats, and mushrooms. I was thinking of using an old (sanitised, or new) table-mounted meat-grinder to get the texture right for a ground beef simulation. I can't think of anything steaklike that wouldn't come out like a meatloaf, instead, if you went this method, but I have eaten some amazing grilled portobellos in my time. They weren't steak, by any means, but we are trying to remain within the realm of the possible.

I don't mean to discourage. I think, though, that the most satisfaction can be had by finding non-meat-based cuisine that you love and throwing yourself into that (not literally, self-cannibalism is to be discouraged, and you are trying to go vegan).

In any case, good luck. Changing your diet to cut out factory-farmed products is difficult and praise-worthy, however you decide to do it. I hope you discover tastes that ease the strain of your convictions.

Keep us posted, and please share any discoveries you might come across. I would love to find out about the hypothetical mushroom I can grow on spent coffee grounds and woodchips in my closet, garage, or backyard, whose grilled caps taste like a blue-rare steak.

-CK
 
pollinator
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If you crave meat your body probably craves meat.
 
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I'm a lifelong vegetarian and I've never eaten meat so I can't really advise on which vegetarian/vegan foods accurately simulate meat.

What I will say is that there are many meat substitues out there if you want to give them a try, many of which taste as good as or better than the meat that they are simulating (although YMMV). Brands may be different in the USA but Linda McCartney products are good (their burgers are much better than equivalently priced meat burgers according to my meat eating foodie friends) and Quorn is ubiquitous and increasingly commonplace. With veganism becoming more trendy, product development has increased and improvements are being made; the food that is available now is nothing like veggie food that was available back in the 80s and 90s when my parents first embraced vegetarianism. Seitan is on my 'to make' list as I've heard good things. Tofu is great; easy to prepare and cook but it does require a bit of attention to get the most out of it; marinades are the way to go!

While substituting for meat analogues is all well and good, I think it's important to emphasise that, in embracing a veg*n diet or a low-meat diet, you have the opportunity to explore a whole host of alternative ingredients, textures, tastes and cusines. Buying a couple of veggie cookbooks will stand you in good stead, although the internet is obviously a great source too. The queen of vegetarian cookery in the UK is Rose Elliot and my mother has been using her books for over 30 years. My favourite cookery book at the moment is the Thug Kitchen cookbook. Lots of exciting flavour combinations and the marinaded tofu recipe from Thug Kitchen is the best recipe I've ever found.

I have meat analogues once or twice a week maybe (they're a convenient and cheap source of protein) but typically cook from scratch. I eat a lot of fresh vegetables, a fair number of eggs, loads of beans and pulses (red lentils, chick peas, black beans, kidney beans, you name it), nuts and seeds, tofu every week or two, pasta, rice, barley, quinoa, bulgar wheat... And in eating all this create food using recipes from around the world.

Jd Gonzalez wrote:If you're committed to veganism why doctor and process products to look, taste, and feel like animal flesh? Not judging just asking.



It's a valid question I guess. I can think of at least three reasons:

  • A meat analogue and provide an easy way for people to transition away from meat eating by providing familiar tastes, textures and applications, particulalrly if the individual isn't a confident cook or familiar with vegetarian cookery;
  • As my protein obsessed mate found to his surprise, many meat substitues contain more protein than equivalent meat products, and;
  • Maybe somone likes the taste of meat but not the way it is produced the cost to the environment.



  • Angelika Maier wrote:If you crave meat your body probably craves meat.



    Or maybe its associations, memories and experiences that create the craving. For example, I gave up dairy a while ago. While I was at university it became my inevitable habit, at the end of a night on the lash, to nip into a takeaway on the way home to buy either a pizza or some cheesy chips (a regional delicacy) and thus my night would be blissfully complete. Even though I gave dairy up about 7-8 years ago, I still get the same complusion to buy cheesy fast food while out getting pissed. Now I have to settle for salt and vinegar on my chips

     
    pollinator
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    Sam White wrote:I'm a lifelong vegetarian and I've never eaten meat ....

    What I will say is that there are many meat substitues out there if you want to give them a try, many of which taste as good as or better than the meat that they are simulating ....



    I have to ask.  How would you know?  
     
    steward
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    Last night we had lentil soup with a bunch of veggies in it.  The missus used hickory smoked salt instead of our normal sea salt.  It tasted like there were chunks of sausage in the soup due to the hickory taste.  
     
    Sam White
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    Todd Parr wrote:

    Sam White wrote:I'm a lifelong vegetarian and I've never eaten meat ....

    What I will say is that there are many meat substitues out there if you want to give them a try, many of which taste as good as or better than the meat that they are simulating ....



    I have to ask.  How would you know?  



    Good point! You'd have thought I'd have discussed that with people or something but meh.
     
    pollinator
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    An ex-friend of mine would freeze extra-firm tofu, then defrost and squeeze out as much liquid as she could, then it would crumble and she would use it like ground beef. The texture was very similar but it seemed like a lot of work to me.
     
    steward
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    As Mike Jay mentioned with the hickory salt, I think it's all about the seasoning! And for the most part, we don't try to imitate meat, but still have been enjoying vegan and vegetarian fare and feeling satisfied. Though we have had some pretty tasty black bean burgers and lentil-nut loaves or other nut loaves around here.

    Here's a few examples of we've been doing as we've battled gout and gallstones and have always had a focus on whole, nutritious, permaculture (beyond "sustainable" or organic) foods.

    (a) meat analogue type products are out for us
    --mostly because they are processed foods
    --they often contain soy (which we don't want, ever)
    --they often contain wheat or gluten (which makes me ill)
    --they often other grains or legumes that we're trying to avoid

    (b) BIG CHEWY CHUNKS of vegetables are in
    --big cooked chunks of carrots (or similar) in chilies, curries, stews, etc. to have something to CHEW (this tip came from a friend of ours)
    --big slices of portabellos or other veggies to grill, fry, roast, broil, etc. like a burger or hunk of meat - we surprisingly enjoyed 4-5" diameter 1" thick slices of daikon radish as "steaks" the other night
    --diced chunks of radishes (regular, daikon, watermelon) is a wonderfully savory (it's already peppery, though gets a bit milder with cooking) and hearty addition to sautés, soups, sauces - we do this a lot
    --mushrooms in just about anything makes it better in my book!

    (c) savory seasonings make it fun and tasty
    --we had a homemade cherry barbecue sauce on the daikon "steaks" - yum
    --the daikon "steaks" were soaked and cooked in smoked paprika, vegan worchestershire, coconut aminos
    --roasting mushrooms in smoked paprika and a bit of coconut aminos (or soy sauce) is surprisingly meaty and yummy! add maple syrup and ginger for a teriyaki flavor

    (d) nuts and fats and other proteins
    --as Chris Kott mentioned, if we have enough fresh avocado, or other healthy oils in the meal, we are definitely more satiated
    --nuts are beautiful as themselves, and while they can be ground and held together to make patties, nutballs, loaves, etc. with or without legumes, why bother? I'm all for simplicity and the easy road. Toast a handful of cashews to add to your chili, stew or curry. Use some nuts and seeds in place of ground meat in your recipes. Top your salads and sautés with nuts.
    --eggs, milk - we are still eating eggs, and Paul is eating a lot of yogurt. So, depending on your diet needs, preferences, or choices, that protein craving can be met in other ways.

    Even though I was advocating mushrooms a lot here, Paul is avoiding mushrooms for now, to keep his purines low so that he's not so susceptible to gout. Which is admittedly a bit limiting because I think mushrooms are SO tasty on their own - no need to make them into meat simulations!

     
    John Weiland
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    Stacy Witscher wrote:An ex-friend of mine would freeze extra-firm tofu, then defrost and squeeze out as much liquid as she could, then it would crumble and she would use it like ground beef. The texture was very similar but it seemed like a lot of work to me.



    Can't recall if using microwave ovens is popular or not for members here, but I use this method in combination with a microwave oven for the thawing step.  It not only makes the thaw fast, but seems to even toughen the texture a bit more so that the crumbles are more 'burger-like'.  One thing I noticed is the quite different textures between what is sold as "Extra-firm tofu" between the different suppliers.  Some are more smooth and fine textured whereas others are more spongy, with higher integrity.
     
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    That's a tough one.  How do these burgers look?  They seem good to me.

    http://www.thelazyveganbaker.com/2016/04/21/choose-your-own-adventure-veggie-burgers/
     
    master steward
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    Using eggplant is a great way to simulate meat.  Learning to cook it might take some experimenting.

    Put diced chunks into lasagna, spaghetti, chili, soups and stews.
     
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    Stacy Witscher wrote:An ex-friend of mine would freeze extra-firm tofu, then defrost and squeeze out as much liquid as she could, then it would crumble and she would use it like ground beef. The texture was very similar but it seemed like a lot of work to me.



    I do this to make fake tuna salad. Add chopped celery, green onions, mayo, 1 tbsp lemon juice, 2 tbsp tamari (and kelp powder if you want a fishy taste – I don't). Everybody likes it! In fact, I almost always freeze tofu first, the way your friend does. It soaks up whatever it's in better this way.
     
    pollinator
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    My omni husband says these sausages made from vital wheat gluten were indistinguishable from meat sausages when sliced up in a pasta casserole:

    http://www.isachandra.com/2012/01/vegan_sausage/

    You can play around with the seasonings as much as you like, swap different types of beans or sub mashed, roasted veg, etc.

    I do the frozen, thawed, and pressed tofu like someone else mentioned, but rather than grinding it, I tear it into rough pieces and fry in oil.  This would often get some kind of stir fry-type sauce on it at this point.  My husband says this replicates a meaty texture very well.  I don't find it to be much work at all.  I wrap the frozen tofu in a towel, put a weight on it, and leave it until it's thawed.  Easy.

    I find red lentils have quite a canned tuna kinda texture.  I remember when I was first cutting meat out of my diet years ago making some sort of cracker spread with lentils, coriander seed... sorry, that's all I remember.  It was quite tuna-salady, though.  

    As other people have mentioned, flavouring is important.  Smoke, miso, mushroom powder (I blitz up dried shiitake stems in a coffee grinder), tomato paste are all good for adding umami.
     
    Angelika Maier
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    Todd Parr wrote:

    Sam White wrote:I'm a lifelong vegetarian and I've never eaten meat ....

    What I will say is that there are many meat substitues out there if you want to give them a try, many of which taste as good as or better than the meat that they are simulating ....



    I have to ask.  How would you know?  



    How can you know? Or how can you distinguish these two? Not easy. I would probably go for a blood test after eating vegan for two years or so. And monitor my teeth weather they are getting bad.
     
    pollinator
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    - get various mushrooms: brush clean the fresh ones, drain the canned and pre-soak dried ones,
    - slice up leeks, bell peppers carrots, onions, celery and other aromatics you have at hand.
    - blitz the shrooms and veggies in your food processor with some croûtons (I use egg as binder but I'm sure there's a vegan equivalent); make sure to season with salt & pepper and your favorite spices.
    - form into balls and set at least an hour in the fridge (overnight is better) so they don't fall apart.
    - you can shallow fry or bake in the oven to your desired level of 'doneness'
    - you can also roll in flour, dip in egg (or egg substitute), roll in breadcrumbs and deep fry until nicely browned.
    - for an oriental vibe: encase mushroom mixture in wanton wrapper and steam for a dimsum variation.
     
    pollinator
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    Max Kennedy wrote:Would anyone have good recipes for meat alternatives that will simulate meat for bbq's, pulled pork, hamburgers etc....?



    I have a lot of recipes and recommendations.  I cook vegetarian for my large family (which includes omni and vegetarian members).

    As someone mentioned, jackfruit is a great sub for pulled pork.  Get canned jackfruit in brine, not syrup.  When you snip off the tips of the triangular pieces, you can use a fork to pull it or shred it and then use savory sauces to make very good BBQ pulled pork and so on.  It's also good in mock crab cakes.  Look for it in Asian grocery stores or online.

    Also as mentioned, tofu has a much better consistency when frozen and then pressed (sliced and then pressed with weights and some sort of cloth or paper to absorb the excess liquid).  Then marinade it, as tofu on its own is very bland but it's a great canvas for whatever flavors you want.  Make sure you buy organic so it's non-GMO and extra firm in liquid (not those shelf stable packs, which are a different type of tofu).

    Interestingly, many foraged foods make great meat substitutes.  When we first tried dryad's saddle mushrooms (also knows as pheasant backs), everything I read said they were too chewy.  Knowing that clam strips are crazy chewy, I decided to slice the mushrooms into small strips, bread and fry them.  It worked perfectly, though I still don't care for the faint cucumber-like smell and taste of pheasant backs even when you marinade them.  The rest of my family enjoys them a lot.  Here's my recipe for how to do that, if you're interested.  These kinds of mushrooms are very easy to find, so it's a great frugal ingredient if you like them.

    Acorns make another great meat substitute.  You need to properly leach the bitter tannins out of them first with either hot water leaching or cold water leaching, but after that you can grind them into flour or meal or use the chopped nuts or dried meal as fantastic meat substitutes.  I have recipes for acorn meatballs and patties of all kinds in my acorn foraging book (affiliate link).  I have put some of the recipes in this thread elsewhere on Permies, like the recipe for these acorn rice patties.



    Portobella mushrooms also make great meat subs.  Whole, they make good burgers (especially marinaded and then grilled or broiled) and are also wonderful stuffed and grilled.  Sliced, they are nice and meaty for pastas and casseroles.

    Garbanzo beans make good subs in mock chicken salad or tuna salad.  They also are good in vegetarian burgers (chop and mix with some bread crumbs, sauteed shredded veggies of all kinds, an egg and lots of spices and seasonings, then fry or bake).

    Eggplant makes a good mock meat but it's best if you roast it so it sweetens (it's bitter otherwise) and releases its extra moisture.  Then season and use in things like stir fries or casseroles the way you would chicken or beef chunks.

    I have quite a few other suggestions but I'm supposed to be working on the print version of my acorn book all day (I find this part so monotonous that I had to duck into Permies for a fun break!) and I really have to get back to work.     Let me know if you'd like any type of recipe in particular and I'd be happy to share any that I have.  Hope that helps!

     
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    If you were replacing meat due to an allergy it may not be necessary. At my house we only eat raw meat including beef, chicken, fish, camel, emu, and kangaroo. Often an allergy is really only an allergy to cooked food, in it's raw state meat is easily digested, extremely nutritious, and an excellent base to add flavours to.
    We buy good quality grass fed free range meat - organic where possible - and usually just add some mushrooms, tomatoes, herbs, a bit of oil, and a dash of apple cider vinegar. I never feel heavy after a meal, rather I feel ready to go! Usually I only eat one measuring cup full of meat per meal.
    We don't remove fat from the meat but our bodies are lean and strong. We started this diet to cure my girlfriends IBS, it worked almost immediately. We have never cooked any food again for more than 5 years and we have never been so healthy.
    This may not be what you were looking for but our meat consumption is reduced, we feel great, we eat good healthy food, we eat well, we get maximum benefit from what we eat, and we are grateful.
     
    John Weiland
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    Alicia Bayer wrote:..... but I'm supposed to be working on the print version of my acorn book all day (I find this part so monotonous that I had to duck into Permies for a fun break!) and I really have to get back to work.    



    Right....now, this is your publisher....get back to it!     (just kidding)  But just to say that I'm looking forward to the print version....burr oak is in abundance up here and is one of the few tree nuts that do well.  I was going to get the Kindle version as a gift to a family member but they just didn't have a Kindle nor wanted to really read it digitally.   The print version is much anticipated.....so thank you in advance!  

    On a different note, does adding some of those different sea-weed flakes to jack-fruit give anyone a white-fish effect?
     
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    Alicia Bayer
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    John Weiland wrote:  But just to say that I'm looking forward to the print version....burr oak is in abundance up here and is one of the few tree nuts that do well.  I was going to get the Kindle version as a gift to a family member but they just didn't have a Kindle nor wanted to really read it digitally.   The print version is much anticipated.....so thank you in advance!  

    On a different note, does adding some of those different sea-weed flakes to jack-fruit give anyone a white-fish effect?



    Aw, thanks!  And it IS finally up, after a really exhausting bunch of troubles from the publisher.  The print version is here:  Acorn Foraging: Everything You Need to Know to Harvest One of Autumn’s Best Wild Edible Foods, with Recipes, Photographs and Step-By-Step Instructions (aff link)  It's not linked to the Kindle version yet, so if you want to read reviews or look inside (the content is the same but in a different format in the paperback) you can see that information at the Kindle page here.



    It's over 200 pages and there's still so much I wanted to add!    

    As for jackfruit and seaweed flakes, that might work if you made a sort of a brine with them and soaked it.  I've used jackfruit for things like crab cakes when it was mixed in with bread crumbs and seaweed flakes, but I don't think it would give much of a fish knock-off on its own with just the pulled jackfruit and the flakes.  They're dried seaweed and when used plain, they pretty much come off that way.    Jackfruit does have that nice flaky quality like fish though, so it could be a cool experiment.  I could see making a sort of a "fish stick" by using chopped jackfruit, some sort of cooked rice or bread crumbs that had been finely chopped, seaweed flakes, seasoning and a binder, and then breading and baking/frying it.

    I'm thinking of making acorn meatballs for our church pot luck tomorrow and should get to that if I'm going to be doing it.  They are great sports about all of my wild food adventures and always scarf them up.  Elderberry lemonade was such a hit that I did it twice (it's the most beautiful magenta color and really tastes amazing) and I've also brought acorn muffins and acorn spice cake with cream cheese frosting.  I like showing folks how good these crazy foods can taste!  But I'm off to work because I'm going to need a lot of meatballs!  
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    John Weiland
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    Re: Acorn book.  Much thanks for the notice, Alicia......I'll be ordering a couple of copies soon!  And the experiment is underway with the jackfruit/tofu mix combined with seaweed flakes.  We will see how it turns out.  Thanks again!
     
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    Another meat sub I haven't seen listed here yet: Tempeh.  I've always had it as a sub for bacon (some brands already sliced and seasoned, others are just whole cakes).  It's soy, but much different than tofu.  It's got a firmer, dryer chew than any way I've ever had tofu prepared.  It's not cheap, but the price is comparable to meat (~$6/lb at the grocery store I go to, sold in 1/2 lb packages).  It's also one of those things you could probably make yourself, if you have like a black belt in fermentation; you can buy the cultures online.

    And expanding upon what others have said about chewy texture and chunks of vegetables: I find dehydrated vegetables like carrots, mushrooms, and green beans--no matter how long they've been soaking or cooking--tend to have a firmer/ chewier texture.  I'm very tempted to chop or grind up some cheap white mushrooms next time they're on sale and dehydrate them to see if I can get closer to a ground beef texture (grinding after dehydrating slices just yields an uneven mix of mostly powder and some chunks).  In that vein, I make a variation of veggie burgers with chick peas and re-hydrated dried apricots; they have a decent chew, though it's not a consistent texture like ground beef or a portobella cap.  

    Also curious how spaghetti squash dehydrates and if that would yield a pulled-pork texture (another experiment I'll have to keep in mind for this year).  I've never tried figleaf gourd/ sharkfin melon, but it's a sub for shark fin in soup, so it might be worth looking into for mock pulled-pork.

    Like others have mentioned, adding an umami element to vegetables heightens the meat-like experience, too.  In addition to mushroom, tomato, and kelp powders and miso/ soy sauce, I'd like to add garlic and dehydrated winter squash powders to the list.  Marmite or Vegemite in a glaze will do the trick, too (a little goes a long way!).  Oils are really important for stand-alone vegetables (i.e. not in a stew/curry/chili arrangement), they add the fat layer of flavor that meat has.  I was skeptical of cauliflower steaks, but they're surprisingly satisfying when pan roasted, either in the oven or on the grill (mine always fall apart when I try to grill them without a pan).

    Okara (the soybean dregs from making soy milk) can also be used like ground beef crumbles in stuff like spaghetti sauces and chili, though it's smaller and finer in texture than ground beef and gets a little lost.  It also makes a good ingredient in veggie burgers, since it's firmer than just mashed beans, especially if it's been toasted.  I haven't used it extensively because I gave up on making my own soymilk and tofu and it just wasn't something I would go out of my way to track down and buy.

    Just recently I tried to make my own garaetteok (Korean rice cake, but not like American rice cakes that are puffy and crunchy, it's chewy like mochi).  I haven't ever had the real thing so I don't know how my results stack up, but I like the chewy texture I ended up with.  I sliced it into coins and covered it in a garlic-soy-plum glaze, which was pretty good.  Not a meat flavor, but it satisfied the chew craving.  I followed Maangchi's recipe/ tutorial on YouTube.  A word of caution, though: it's like super-condensed rice.  So if rice has a binding effect on your system, go easy on it and make sure to load up on fiber.

    Also, for people considering seitan: even if you don't have problems with wheat gluten in breads or other products, seitan is pure gluten and it might be too much to handle.  I never had problems with gluten as a kid, but as a teenager I went fully vegetarian for a while and I learned the hard way that I have a gluten sensitivity after repeated bouts of highly-unpleasant-to-downright-excruciating symptoms from eating seitan.  Kind of a case of "the dose makes the poison," probably.  I wish I could eat it because it's super versatile and relatively fun and easy to make from just plain flour.  I'm curious as to how ancient wheat strains would stack up against modern wheat, but I'm not brave enough to try it.

    And if you've never read Diet for a Small Planet by Frances Moore Lappe, I would highly recommend it.  It doesn't give a lot of 1:1 meat subs, but it holds a wealth of information and the recipes mostly rely on easy-to-find and inexpensive ingredients.
     
    Alicia Bayer
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    Very helpful information.  Thanks!  I'm adding a bunch of that to my mental to-try list.

    Also, I meant to report back that I did try the jackfruit fish experiment too and it was a big success.  I meant to take a bunch of pictures of the leftovers and what they looked like inside, but my teenage son ate every last one of them overnight and for breakfast.  LOL  Here's the instructions I typed up for friends who asked on Facebook (I'll type up the full recipe and post it when I get a chance).

    I used Better than Bouillon, garlic, onion, salt and pepper, soy sauce and dulse (seaweed) flakes for seasoning. The dulse has the sea flavor that helps with making it fishy. You also have to rinse the jackfruit very well to try to get the brine flavor out. It has a similar flavor to artichoke hearts canned in brine, for comparison. Nothing bad, but not fish. :) I also finely chopped the hard tips of the jackfruit along with some celery and onion and sauteed that, and used pressed, pureed extra firm organic tofu and some arrowroot flour and vegan mayo as a binder. If you don't do tofu you could probably puree chickpeas, but tofu makes a very good binder in homemade vegetarian meat substitutes as long as you know to press it. I breaded them with a mixture of homemade GF breadcrumbs, sorghum flour, Old Bay seasoning, salt and pepper. Baked them, flipped, then when they were fully baked sauteed them in a pan with a bit of oil for a crispy crust. Lots of work but I made a huge batch and thought I'd have extras to freeze (everybody scarfed them up and then Jack ate them ALL in the night and for breakfast before I could). I'll write up the full recipe when I get some spare time. I only got ONE after all that work because people gobbled them up, so I will definitely be making them again.
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    Alicia Bayer
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    Also, I think I mentioned I made up acorn meatballs for a church pot luck last month.  We ended up missing church so I invited over our oldest daughter and her fiance and with the rest of our big family we had a Sunday feast.  I made the meatballs 4 ways (BBQ, spicy datil pepper sauce, ketchup and one more that I've forgotten).  I combined two of the meatball recipes from my acorn foraging book.  I think I've posted at least one of the recipes in another thread here.  I can look them up if anybody would like me to.  Anyway, I got a picture of the raw acorn meatball "batter" and thought I'd post it since it shows how eerily they look like real meatballs.  LOL  The taste is also very similar if you do the right seasonings, though they are not as greasy since acorns have very little fat (and if you do boiling water leaching then you lose the little fat they have).  
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    Some tips from Ernie's experience cooking vegetarian, for work crews that can really use the calories and comfort of a "Fanny Farmer" classic country cooking:

    "Chicken" Soup Base (Vegan):
    - Take a light oil, heat in a frying pan, add brewers' yeast and brown slightly (like making a roux).  Add poultry seasoning, water or vegetable stock.  Salt and pepper to taste.
    This makes a great base for "chicken" soups, and things that might call for chicken stock (soups, stews, rice pilafs, etc).  With the yeast you are getting a bit of the B vitamin thing too.

    Fava "Beef" stew:
    - Whole, fresh fava beans have a nice chewy mouth feel, and while they're not meat, they are a nice addition to recipes that call for beef when substituting a vegetarian version.

    Savory sandwich spread:
    - Take your favorite nut butter (almond, hazlenut, peanut), add a small proportion of miso paste, season to taste.  Sometimes he would do spicy/curry version, sometimes use lime, garlic, & cilantro like Pad Thai sauce, sometimes just a little bit of paprika, cumin, or green herbs.  Good sandwich filling, dip, or spread, if you prefer savory to PBJ.

    Wheres-the-Sausage Pasta Sauce:
    - Italian sausage has a characteristic blend of spices.  If you add these, along with some diced or ground-up mushroom and onion, to almost any red pasta sauce (marinara, etc), you can usually convince yourself it includes sausage.  Useful for making a heartier lasagna, too.
    Fennel
    Oregano
    Garlic
    Sage
    Pepper (crushed red pepper if available, or black pepper, or both)
    pinch of rosemary, thyme, or other spices to taste.

    You can do the same thing for "Sausage and Biscuits," where you make a white gravy and add these spices to give it that sausage hit.  Cut back on the oregano, increase the sage, and maybe a touch of maple/smoke, for that classic breakfast sausage.
     
    Alicia Bayer
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    I wanted to pop in here and update with another great wild food that we found that makes a wonderful meat substitute.  Chicken of the Woods mushrooms are eerily like chicken in looks and texture.  I've been wanting to try some forever but we hadn't found any on our foraging expeditions until this year when it's been perfect weather.  My hubby and kids have brought home over 20 pounds of them.  They retail for about $18 a pound so that makes me quite happy.  :)

    I wrote up a blog post with instructions on how to prep it and linked to lots of recipes that sounded good here:  What to do with Chicken of the Woods Mushrooms?

    Since I wrote that up we've found and cooked with more and it really is a versatile, great vegetarian "meat."  We've frozen bags and bags of it, and also have lots in the fridge to cook with soon.

    I've heard of lots of people finding it lately so keep an eye out if you're interested.
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    Chris Kott
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    Makes sense. While truly unique in their own right, fungi are closer to the animal than the plant kingdom. I believe the last time I heard that said was by Paul Stamets on the Joe Rogan podcast.

    -CK
     
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