Though there are quite a number of excellent plant-based meat alternatives on the market, with more appearing all the time, vegan “beefy” crumbles are so very easy to make from scratch. Case in point, Italian-flavored vegan beef-less ground made with bulgur and/or quinoa. As a bonus, this recipe is also quite budget-friendly.
If you prefer to use quinoa, red quinoa is a nice choice, though the more common tan variety works well too. I enjoy using a 50-50 combination of bulgur and quinoa, which results in a terrific melding of texture and protein. For an extra protein boost, there’s also an optional addition of hemp seeds.
To give the crumbles plenty of Italian flavor, I simply use a good-quality marinara sauce rather than having to add a million ingredients! Tomato-basil, garden vegetable, or mushroom are all great choices, but feel free to use your favorite vegan variety.
These crumbles are perfect for:
- topping pasta
- topping pizza
- hero or other sandwich filling
For sandwiches, line the bottom of a hero roll (or any kind of roll you prefer) with baby spinach or other tender greens. Dollop on some of these beef-less crumbles (hot from the pan), and melt some vegan mozzarella over them in the oven or toaster oven. Cover with top of the hero roll or enjoy open face.
To turn this into a vegan Bolognese sauce, add about a half cup of nondairy milk before tossing with pasta. Or, just use as is for topping your favorite kind of pasta.
- 1 cup uncooked bulgur or quinoa, or a combination
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 3 to 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 to 2 celery stalks, strings peeled, and finely diced
- 3 cups marinara (pasta) sauce, your favorite vegan variety
- 1/4 cup hemp seeds, optional
- 2 teaspoons sweet paprika
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning blend (or dried basil)
- Dried hot red pepper flakes to taste (or hot sauce), optional
- Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- Combine the grain with 2 cups water in a small saucepan. Bring to a slow boil, then lower the heat, cover, and cook for 15 minutes. This can be done ahead of time.
- Heat the oil in a roomy skillet. Add the onion and sauté over medium heat until translucent. Add the garlic and celery and continue to sauté until all are golden.
- Add the cooked grain, 2 cups pf the marinara sauce, optional hemp seeds, paprika, and Italian seasoning. Stir together. Cook over medium heat, stirring often, for 15 minutes.
- Stir in the remaining cup of marinara sauce. Season with salt, pepper, and optional hot seasoning. Cook for a minute or two longer and use as suggested in the headnote above the recipe box.
Amount Per Serving:Calories: 160Total Fat: 2gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 49mgCarbohydrates: 9gFiber: 2gSugar: 1gProtein: 2g