OK, I know what you’re thinking. For some of us using “healthy” and “meatless” in the same sentence means “tasteless” and “boring.” But with so many options lately, that’s just not the case. Going vegan or vegetarian is having its moment right now — consider celebrities like Bey
or J. Lo
doing a 22-day vegan challenge. But after learning about some of the health benefits, here’s hoping it goes beyond a trend to consider different meal options that do include more plant-based protein.
Gardein Beefless ground
Recently, I sampled some dressed up hors d’oeuvres from Gardein
at an event that made me re-think some of the usual grocery store offerings you get in the meatless section. These were not only beautiful in presentation but they tasted delicious
. There was a whole table offering gluten-free beefless tacos
with roasted corn, black beans, & roasted poblano peppers, gluten-free Rosemary pecan crusted chick’n skewers
with cipollini onion aioli; Turk’y cutlet
with stuffing, cranberry sauce, & mashed potato on mini spoons; and (surprisingly my favorite), Fishless
filet & chips with french fries & lemon wedge.
Fishless filet & chips with french fries & lemon wedge
Turk'y cutlets with stuffing, cranberry sauce, & mashed potato
The recipes were perfect finger foods, and if you’re throwing a party (likely for the holidays, yes?) these are perfect additions for your vegetarian guests. Plus, since it’s plant-based, these have less fat and zero cholesterol compared to their meat counterparts. Here are the recipes in case you want to try to re-create them at home!
Recipe 1: FISHLESS FILET with french fries and lemon wedge (makes 10 servings)
Gardein Fishless filets
French fries, lemons, flat leaf parsley
Prep – product takes 20 minutes to cook, so every 10 minutes you will be placing a new tray in oven to ensure consistent samples.
1-Preheat oven to 475 degreed F. Using scissors, cut open bag. Place filets on two parchment lined oven trays (parchment paper is essential to ensure fishless filet does not stick)
2- Put 1 or 2 trays on middle rack, set timer and cook for 10 minutes.
3 – After 10 minutes, flip the fishless filets, rotate tray and move to the bottom rack. Add a new tray or trays to middle rack, set timer and cook for 10-11 minutes until golden brown and cripsy.
4- Fill each fish cone with 2 tsp tartar sauce, drizzling from the middle of the cone to the bottom (not all sauce should be in the bottom). Note: Do not pre-sauce more than 15 min in advance, or this will ruin the paper cone.
5-Take out the 1st tray (cooked for 20 min), moved 2nd tray (1/2 cooked) to bottom rack, flip filets and add new tray to middle rack, set timer and cook for 10-11 minutes.
6- Cut each filet into 2 pieces
7- Put each piece into a cone holder, garnish with lemon slice and flat leaf parsley sprig.
Gardein products are available at over 22,000 retailers/grocers nationwide, for more products and recipes at www.gardein.com.
Recipe 2: ROSEMARY-PECAN CRUSTED CHCK’N SKEWERS w cipollini onion aioli (makes 20 skewers)
Gardein Chick’n Scallopini
1 cup red wine (or substitute)
2 tbsp Dijon mustard
1 tbsp chopped garlic
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp chopped rosemary
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 cup pecans
1/2 cup flour
2 tbsp rosemary, finely chopped
1/2 cup panko
sea salt to taste
Equipment needed: 4″ bamboo knot cocktail skewers
1- In a blender, combine all marinade ingredients and blend until smooth. Cut Gardein Chick’N Scallopini into 3″ strips. Pour the marinade into a bowl, add the gardein to the marinade and let sit overnight.
2- Grind pecans in a food processor. Transfer the pecans to a bowl, add the flour, rosemary and panko.
3- Bread gardein with pecan mixture until fully coated.
4- In a large frying pan, heat up your favorite oil and pan fry gardein on both sides until golden brown.
5- To assemble: Once gardein is fried, insert skewers. Drizzle skewers with cipollini onion aioli, garnish with rosemary.
Yesterday’s “Only in Cali” moment:
“Hey, what cuisine are you in the mood for tonight?”
“How about vegan?”
I can confidently say I’ve never had this conversation take place in all my years in New York (although, this suggestion did come from a former New Yorker so maybe it speaks more to his changing tastes). LA definitely has the upper hand when it comes to places with organic, fresh, or vegan fare. And you know what they say – when in Cali, do like The CaliFORnians.
Inside Mohawk Bend
And so we found ourselves at the very hipster Mohawk Bend in Echo Park, which stands right at the intersection of Sunset and Mohawk. I’m pretty sure hipster places probably don’t like to be called hipster, but the gallery of facial hair here would only further my point. Anyway.