Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Creative Cooking Crew Jan 13: Vegan Challenge


Spaghetti & "Meatballs"

Smoked Tempeh & Grain Meat Meatballs with Zucchini Spaghetti & Grain Meat Ragu



I am excited for this maiden voyage of the...


A group of talented cooks who will gather every month to create inspired dishes around central theme or ingredient.

Thanks to my cohost Joan Nova from Foodalogue.  If you have not visited her site, I recommend you do so.  She covers various topics ranging from food, to photography and travel.

Does vegetarian food have to be boring?  Raw veg on a plate?  A salad? 

I don't think so.  This isn't 1985.

Vegetarian can be sexy, fun, & beautiful.  For far too long "chefs" have been taking the lazy way out cooking vegetarian.  Luckily, these days there is a legion of talented cooks creating inspired and flavorful veggie dishes.

That's exactly what I tasked myself to do.  I recently hosted a dinner party where I served 5 courses.
  • 3 vegetarian
  • 2 vegan
Here is one of the vegan dishes for this month's event.

I decided to play with the spaghetti & meatball concept.

The star of the dish are the "meatballs," made with a combination of...
and smoked on a hickory plank over cherry wood.

I do not like to use any fillers in my meatballs, so to make these I just...
  • Ground the grain meat sausage & tempeh
  • Season with sea salt & fresh marjoram
  • Form the "meatball"
  • Allow to sit covered for 24 hours in the fridge
To cook:
  • Cook in smoker on a hickory plank over cherry wood at about 300 F for 10 minutes.
The "meatballs" take on a nice browned color.  Plus, the smoking imparts amazing aroma.

For the tomato ragu, I would normally use some kind of ground meat, probably lamb, but in this dish I used more Field Roast grain meat.
To cook...
  1. Saute all diced veggies in olive oil.
  2. Add the toasted fennel seeds
  3. Add the grain meat
  4. Deglaze with red wine
  5. Add the tomatoes
  6. Simmer for 3 hours
  7. Add water as necessary
My last whimsical play on this dish was using thinly sliced zucchini to replace the "pasta"

This turned out to be a light, enjoyable dish.

No one missed the animal protien.

That's it for now...until we exchange a few words again...Peace!

31 comments:

  1. Very creative and I like that you used the vegan wine....

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  2. such a great dish Lazaro! i love that the "meat"balls are smoked, and using zucchini for the noodles was such an inspired touch - i wish i was having this for dinner tonight!

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    1. Thank you Jenn. If you guys are ever in Miami let me know.

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  3. Love it! And I'm intrigued because I don't think I've ever had tempeh, grain sausage and vegan wine. I think I need to expand my horizons.

    Well done, amigo.

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    1. Gracias Joan. The Field Roast grain meats are good products.

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  4. Wow. Talk about taking a food theme, and bringing it to a new level. I could surely enjoy a good vegetarian and/or vegan meal when it is prepared with this much care. Awesome.

    Velva

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    1. Velva you are way too kind. Thank you.

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  5. Seriously Laz, anything you touch seems to turn to gold. This is beyond gorgeous, in flavor, concept, and execution. And I love that you smoked the "meatballs".

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    1. Thanks Faith. Too kind. The smoking process did add a lot to the dish.

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  6. Aside from being absolutely beautiful, I have no doubt this would please anyone! Every component is delightful and the flavors/textures pull together magically!

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    1. Thanks Alisha. High praise coming from The Veggie Queen.

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  7. Stud and I went vego a few months back and this is right up our street! You're right, it doesnt have to be salad or all tofu. Its actually a lot more fun - almost like learning to cook again, trying new things. Im locing it. I def need to make this! Looks SO good :D

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    1. Thanks a lot, Nic. It's fun to go veg every once in a while.

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  8. This vegan dish looks fantastic, Laz! You are 100% right - vegetarian/vegan cooking doesn't have to be boring and uninspired. On behalf of dietitians everywhere, thank you!! :)

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    1. Jessie agreed. Vegan and vegetarian has come a long way. Have to keep making it sexy and pushing it forward.

      You're welcome Dietitians...=)

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  9. I wish I could have been at this dinner party -

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    1. Christo, the party would have been much better then.

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  10. You're good you, you know? You're gooood. Serving vegan - and coming from an ex-vegetarian I'm no stranger - would kind of freak me out these days. Still so much to learn. This looks fabulous, Laz, and more importantly, tasty!

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    1. You are too kind, you...=)

      Thanks so much Jilly.

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  11. Ooh, your vegan take on this dish is very creative and sexy, Laz! If you've followed my vegan journey on Instagram, you know I eat tons of tempeh, and yeah...I only eat good-looking vegan food :). Will be posting my dish today!

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    1. I am not on instagram, Maya but have been following along on facebook. I am sure your dish will be great!

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    2. Good think I linked my IG posts to FB and Twitter, at least I can share them with a wider audience! Btw, Laz...who will be doing the round up for this, and when? I want to include it in my post

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    3. Round-up will be posted by Joan on her blog, Jan 30.

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  12. Not only have you made meatballs sexy, you've made vegan meatballs sexy. Only you!!! Aren't Field Roast products great? What a smart thing you did. : )

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  13. This is one meatball I would not miss the meat in. Really nice dish, Lazaro. So many great components.

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  14. I love it and there are probably lot so vegan dishes we meat eaters would love if they were like this.

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  15. Very nice, love the smoking element! I would like to taste this dish!

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  16. I love anything smoked. I admit I have never tried a vegan or vegetarian sausage so I think it's brave of you. On top of that the dish is beautiful... as yours always are. Beautiful and brilliantly constructed taste profile... excellent.

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  17. Admin Pleas Detete my this post thank you

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