My Go-To Mince
Whenever I need a replacement for ground meat, I turn to my creation, packed with umami and healthful ingredients.
Most of my friends don’t follow a vegan lifestyle.
Most of my cultural memories from my childhood involve creations made with meat.
Most of what I learned working as a professional chef in restaurants or working independently in my own business eventually touches on something made with meat.
But my social, cultural and past professional experiences create conflicts in my new vegan lifestyle. What can I prepare when I invite non-vegans to dinner? Do I need to exclude all of the delicious Moroccan creations I enjoyed in my childhood and teen years? And what about those cool preparations I learned in restaurants – the ones with a particular wow factor that adequately fed my chef ego when I served them to others? I felt I would give up too much of my ‘past me’ to become my ‘new vegan self.’
And further, the vegan movement evolved significantly during the past several years. It’s now simple to purchase almost anything vegan at local supermarkets. There are vegan variations of burgers and sausages, mince and salami, hard and soft cheeses, milk and yogurt, and just about anything you can imagine that is already prepared and packaged – stuff just waiting to be popped into a microwave for a quick meal. It couldn’t be easier to live a vegan life and have a wide range of food at your fingertips.
But I don’t want to rely on food prepared by corporations – food that often overlooks my desire to consume healthy food. I don’t like to make compromises in the ingredients I choose to put into my body, and sadly, many of the vegan products on the market use combinations of ingredients to create a specific texture or flavor profile that may work, but health is not the primary focus.
I enjoy embracing the world of plants and expanding my culinary boundaries. I’ve found infinite variations of exciting foods to explore using a vast array of plant-based ingredients. It’s endlessly fascinating to my curious chef mind to discover new flavors, new textures, new creations from different cultures, and new cooking methods to explore.
And I also want to embrace my culture and continue making the wonderful food I’ve enjoyed. I want to have friends over for dinner and serve something familiar and tasty that we can all enjoy.
This recipe comes very close to the taste and texture of cooked ground meat. I use it as a base to make several vegan conversions of familiar recipes, like my Italian-style ragu sauce, meat(less) balls, fillings for various pies, chili, and my Moroccan-style pastel.
Textured soy protein goes by several names, such as textured vegetable protein(TVP), soybean meat, soy curls or mince. It is usually available in flakes or chunks (both small and large). Use a small chunk variation to make the mince. Other variations of textured vegetable protein can be used as a substitute for soy, such as textured sunflower or textured pea protein.
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