Last week I went to Wal-Mart to buy a candy thermometer. While wandering around the kitchen ware section, I happened across an aisle filled with canning supplies i.e. glass mason jars and lids. Included in this aisle were 2 lb. plus cans of non-vegan dried eggs, meat, and pancake mix. Also included were dried fruit, vegetables and surprise-surprise, vegetarian meat. The meat included beef, taco meat, chicken, and bacon.
With the exception of the taco meat which smells like tacos, the other soy products smell like imitation bacon bits.
These products may be eaten out of the can as a dried snack. They may also be re-hydrated. The recipes on the side of the can call for 2 parts water to be mixed with 1 part of this vegan meat. Depending upon the product in question, the vegan meats are cooked by simmering them for anywhere between 3-20 minutes. For added flavor, I recommend simmering these products with a vegan beef or mushroom bouillon. Using apple juice also provides a natural sweetness without overwhelming the flavor of this product.
While enjoying this meal, I found myself wondering whether this product could be combined with other ingredients to make meatballs and patties. I mixed ground flax seeds and rice flour with Augason Farms vegetarian beef, vegan beef bouillon, and apple juice. Sweet rice flour has glutinous (sticky) properties which are activated with moisture – preferably steaming. Steaming keeps the product moist while helping to thoroughly cook the product.
I mixed up a batch and steamed it for 30 minutes. Pictured below are some 1 oz. meatballs that I first steamed and then deep fried. I initially tried pan frying the meatballs but found that deep frying them quickly browned all sides of this product.
I tried doing the same thing with a meat patty. I formed the patty using 4 meatballs and flattened it using a hamburger press.
I prefer hamburger presses to free formed hamburgers because they’re evenly compacted to a consistent thickness. This is important for grilling – particularly if you’re looking for nice grilling lines. In contrast, hand pressed burgers often have irregular surfaces that make them difficult to grill. Hamburger presses also make it easier to stack these products. When making hamburgers, I typically make a batch of 20. The patties are separated with parchment paper squares and are wrapped and frozen for future use.
Pictured left is a burger that was first steamed and then grilled.
These Augason Farms vegetarian meats are surprisingly affordable. The beef came in a 2 lb. 5 oz. can for $10.12. The taco meat came in a 2 1/2 lb. can and cost $13.14.
Auguason Farm products may be purchased through Amazon but they’re not available for free shipping if you’re a prime member. Shipping charges run about 40% of the cost and for reasons unknown, these products are only available in smaller can sizes – about 1/2 lb.
You may also buy directly from Auguason Farms … but unless you buy $250 worth of merchandise, you’ll have to pay for shipping. At this time, the most affordable way of acquiring these vegan meats appears to be Wal-Mart.
I have published a 2nd edition of my cookbook, The Unintentional Vegan, Volume 1: Beef through Amazon. This new edition includes recipes for making vegan meatballs and meat patties.
David Chin, Author of:
These e-books are available through Amazon.com. If you don’t have a kindle, don’t worry. You may download a free kindle reader to your PC by clicking on the following link. Amazon prime members may also borrow one e-book per month for free!
For more information about my upcoming books or to read my daily blog on vegan cooking, visit: Unintentionalvegan.com
Note: The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of HappyCow.