Smile Politely

Veggie secrets from my red appliance-filled kitchen

Not every herbivore will admit it, but from time to time many of us miss a favorite dish from our meat-eating days. I’ve found that I can still enjoy quite a few of my faves by approaching them from a veggie perspective.

One of my all time favorites to make on a lazy morning, or for breakfast dinners, is vegetarian biscuits and gravy. For the biscuits, grab a box of Bisquick, and follow the recipe for drop biscuits.

For the gravy, I recommend Morningstar Farms ground beef style crumbles. They make a sausage style crumble, but I used that in my gravy once and found it to be an overpowering “fake meat” taste.

Take a frying pan and a hefty dollop of vegetable oil — the gravy needs a fat base for flavor and consistency. Warm the oil on medium-high heat (check the heat-readiness by dropping a drop of water in the pan and seeing if it sizzles and pops). When the heat is ready, prepare the meatless crumbles according to directions. When the crumbles are halfway through the cooking process, pour equal parts milk and flour into the pan, and stir quickly to get a smooth gravy texture. You will have to keep adding more of each as the crumbles finish cooking and the mixture gets warmer. Add copious amounts of pepper as you stir. Pour over your biscuits and enjoy!

Recently I had been missing my mom’s version of egg drop soup — a chicken noodle and veggie soup mix, that after adding boiling water, my mom would crack an egg into, and stir vigorously, adding a simple yet delicious element to an otherwise fairly boring soup.

Being a lacto-ovo vegetarian, I had been looking for a similar noodle soup to drop an egg into, one without a chicken base. In the ethnic food aisle of County Market, I noticed a cup of soup by a brand I didn’t recognize labeled “Chicken Style.” It wasn’t labeled as vegetarian, but the ingredients on the back listed that the “natural chicken flavoring” was made out of soy and other veggies. I went home and enjoyed a bowl of soup that took me back to my tow-headed youth!

Another food that my sister and I enjoyed when we were children was tamales out of a can. Well, I still haven’t found what I’m looking for when it comes to canned tamales, but I have found the best vegetarian tamales in town. They are sold in the deli department of the Common Ground Food Coop, and they are made locally. They are sold in packages of two and four, and you can choose either bean and cheese or just bean (vegan). I have had both varieties and they are delicious. Pick up some locally produced salsa at the Farmer’s Market (you can’t miss it — they practically force-feed you a sample as you by; I prefer their Hot salsa), dip a tamale in it, and enjoy!

Last but not least, I was always a big fan of the Reuben sandwich. Being a vegetarian for almost ten years, I don’t even remember what corned beef tastes like! Instead, I enjoy my Reubens with a big, hearty tomato slice in place of the meat. With yummy rye bread, gooey Swiss cheese, sweet thousand island dressing, and tangy sauerkraut all battling for the attention of my taste buds, who needs beef anyway?

These are just a few of the ways I keep the memories alive while keeping the animals out of my belly. I look forward to sharing more kitchen, restaurant, and grocery store discoveries with my vegetarian friends and allies!

Related Articles