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Meat substitute SOLVED

flowerhoneyflowerhoney Registered User regular
edited September 2011 in Help / Advice Forum
So my roommate is vegetarian and I'm not

I really want to cook for her this weekend, I'm planning on making Kroresht Garsh, which is kind of like a persian... stew? with chicken and mushrooms
http://mypersiankitchen.com/khoresht-gharch-persian-mushroom-stew/

But obviously the chicken thing is a problem.

I was thinking of just omitting the meat and having mushrooms alone (which is sad I know but it'll be okay), but I have a feeling I'm going to run into this problem again. Is there a good meat substitute for something like chicken thighs?

Thanks!

flowerhoney on

Posts

  • darqnessdarqness Registered User regular
    My wife is vegetarian, and she uses the Morningstar meat substitutes from Wal Mart. It's pretty close to the real thing, however the texture is different. She used their beef to make chili, and the chicken to make chicken parmesan. Really good stuff.

  • flowerhoneyflowerhoney Registered User regular
    huh, I always thought morningstar just made like ready to go meat-stuffs like veggieburgers and chikn nuggets
    maybe that was just me being ignorant =P

  • EWomEWom Registered User regular
    maybe just throw in a filler, like beans, or dumplings?

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  • VarinnVarinn Vancouver, BCRegistered User regular
    edited September 2011
    Nm.

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  • RialeRiale Registered User
    If you want to replicate the basic texture of a meat in a dish, I would recommend tofu as a good starting point. However, it's very bland by itself, so you will want to marinate it (in the case of pan frying or baking) or stew it in a base for quite a while to absorb some flavor. Speaking as an ex-vegetarian of about 10 years, it's as good as you can get without going into the scary world of textured vegetable proteins and the like.

    Tempeh is also an option, however it has a strong flavor that is not agreeable to everyone, so I wouldn't cook it for someone else unless I knew their tastes ahead of time.

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  • TychoCelchuuuTychoCelchuuu ___________PIGEON _________San Diego, CA Registered User regular
    edited September 2011
    Avoid substitute meats. I know it's very tempting to say "what is the vegetarian replacement for meat X so I can cook a meatless version of my meat dish without doing anything different" but the only way to get that sort of convenience is to basically sell your soul, culinarily speaking. As you noted, with this dish you can just leave the chicken out and add more mushrooms. You're correct when you say that in the future you are likely to run into this problem again, and the solution is to cook vegetarian or vegan dishes, not to find the magic bullet to replace your meat with.

    That said, there are some things that won't try to kill you from the inside that you can substitute for meat in some circumstances. Tempeh, tofu, beans, textured vegetable protein (which is getting very slightly into the "ehhh" territory), mushrooms, lentils, rice, potatos/yams/other starches, bread, any of a million kinds of squash... depending on the dish you make, you can easily replace meat ingredients with vegetarian ingredients. The way to do it is not just to find a single "I can't believe it's not meat!" product to stick in there, though, but to be an actual cook and put in the food that will work. You did it yourself here when you realized you could just leave the chicken out, and I'm sure you can do it in the future. Worst case scenario, you post another H/A thread and we can point you to a solution. Just, please don't spend even more money than you would on chicken to buy a chicken substitute that is going to taste worse, be bad for you, and prevent you from learning anything at all about cooking for a vegetarian.

    TychoCelchuuu on
  • NoisymunkNoisymunk Let's go down to the beach. Rhode IslandRegistered User regular
    Second what Tycho said.

    I think you could probably do this stew with either lentils or garbanzo beans instead of chicken and it would be delicious. Is your roommate okay with eggs? You might have to skip the tempered egg step, too.

  • EggyToastEggyToast Registered User regular
    It ruins the surprise factor, but have you considered asking your roommate what kinds of foods she normally eats?

    My girlfriend is a vegetarian but eats seafood. That makes it pretty easy to figure out meals. But we both know of vegetarians who don't really eat fake meats, either. What's more, fake meats often don't cook the same as meats, so recipes aren't as straightforward as just swapping.

    Plenty of Indians eat very well without any fake meats, for example.

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  • EddEdd Registered User regular
    Let me throw in a vote for eggplant. Not only is the texture satisfyingly firm but chewy (not unlike meat), it actually contains a not-inconsequential amount of protein. It's versatile, inexpensive, and easy to prepare in a number of dishes.

  • LawndartLawndart Registered User regular
    Texture-wise, the best substitute I've found for meat is seitan, which is made from wheat gluten.

    It's dense and chewy and has a lot of protein.

    Normally it's marinated in soy sauce, so has a more notable flavor than tofu, but Westsoy makes a "chicken-style" seitan that's marinated in a less soy-heavy broth.

    You'll probably only be able to find it in health food stores, maybe in Asian groceries if you have a large enough one near you. Most Asian groceries tend to only have canned seitan which is far less appetizing of an option.

  • flowerhoneyflowerhoney Registered User regular
    Thanks everyone!

    Okay, so it seems like best way to do this is just without the meat. I'm seriously not a cook and not a vegetarian either so I didn't know if meat could be replaced all the time or just sometimes! Sounds like some meals just aren't made for substitutes, which is fine

    This was really helpful for the future though! My roommate loves eggplant (my roommate loves everything) and it doesn't seem too scary to make

    Also, yes, lol of course I've asked my roommate what she normally eats, plus I eat with her everyday. This meal isn't a surprise, she just cooks a lot more than I do since I'm kind of terrible and I want to treat her!

    I think this is solved! <3

  • MichaelLCMichaelLC In what furnace was thy brain? ChicagoRegistered User regular
    edited September 2011
    For another recipe, this is actually pretty good. - From someone who would eat a vegetarian rather than like one. I made it a second time with pesto instead of the basil ,and it was also good.

    Grilled Eggplant Sandwich

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