Saturday, November 3, 2007

Vegan Roast Beef Goulash Recipe, Really?

Before I became vegan I loved my steaks and pot roast. Every Sunday for years I cooked a pot roast in the slow cooker (crock pot) and by using a different variety of accompanying vegetables, I had a different tasting meal each time.

Then I became vegan for health and ethical reasons and, wow, did I miss my pot roast. Then one day I decided to buy the vegan "beef-less tips" I had seen many times but had not tried. I came up with the following recipe and loved it. I call it goulash but it is very similar to cubed pot roast with gravy.

Before getting to the recipe, we must discuss the main ingredient, the beef-less tips. I have only seen one brand of this, so that is what I will address. There may be others available but I have not seen them. The one I found is made by "Gardein". It is labeled "home style beef-less tips" and comes in a 9 ounce package. I found it in my area at several large supermarkets in the "meat-less" frozen food section. I suspect it would also be available at many health food or other stores that carry vegan/vegetarian products.

According to your location, you may not be able to find this product. If this is your situation, you can substitute any vegan meat-less product that fits the following. I would not use hamburger substitutes since it tends to crumble. So look for a meat substitute that will stay firm during cooking. Also, your substitute should be as thick as possible, preferably in bite size or larger chunks. O.K. To the recipe.

2 cups vegetable stock or water (see directions)
1 cup carrots, sliced or cubed
1 cup celery, cubed
1/2 medium onion, diced coarsely
2 large potatoes, cut into 2 inch cubes
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon cumin
1 package (9 ounce) beef-less tips or substitute
1 tablespoon cornstarch
salt and black pepper, to taste

1. If you do not have vegetable stock you can use 2 cups water and 4-6 vegetable bullion cubes.
2. Place vegetable stock in a large soup pot on medium heat.
3. Add carrots, celery, potatoes and onion. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until vegetables are tender (about 10-15 minutes).
4. Add garlic, cocoa powder and cumin. Stir until cocoa powder is dissolved.
5. Add beef-less tips
6. Dissolve cornstarch in ¼ cup cold water and add half to the pot. Stir while watching the thickness of the gravy. Add more cornstarch as needed to get the thickness you want. If too thick, add vegetable stock or water.
7. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Serve hot with cornbread, dinner rolls or garlic bread.

Make sure to put the beef-less tips in near the end of the cooking time. Do not overcook.
The only tricky part of the recipe is in acquiring the amount and thickness of the gravy. If the liquid gets low (boils away) add more vegetable stock. If you have too much gravy, cook a little longer. And, above all, taste as you cook. Don't overdo the salt. Let your taste be your guide.