Mostlyplantsetarian recipes

Reply Wed 10 Feb, 2010 08:35 am
"Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants."

- Michael Pollan

I'm moving towards making more food that is not vegetarian but does contain mostly plants. That is, meat is used as a flavoring more than as the main event.

Could you share some of your recipes that would fit in that category?

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Reply Wed 10 Feb, 2010 08:37 am
steak from grass fed cattle, i mean it's pretty much all plant with a meat flavour
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Reply Wed 10 Feb, 2010 08:40 am
Meat used as a flavoring is mostly the basis for Asian cooking. Weve gone in that direction without abandoning meats fish, and shellfish.
Meat is still the best way to have a balanced diet in which we get our proteins and B complex vitamins.
Reply Wed 10 Feb, 2010 11:45 am
Asian cooking tends to fit the bill. Also (I'll be back with specifics, but I'm on the slow PC right now), Mexican or Italian -- what might have been seen as, years ago, poor people's cuisine.
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Robert Gentel
Reply Wed 10 Feb, 2010 12:09 pm
Two Latin American dishes come to mind:

Olla de carne (Costa Rican meat stew).


It's basically big chunks of starchy plants (potatoes, corn) in a beef soup.

Recipe here.

Brazilian Feijoada (beans prepared as a beef/pork stew)

This almost perfectly fits what you describe, it's Brazil's national dish, and came from slaves using meat scraps to flavor their food. It's essentially just beans but prepared with meats for taste and cooked a long time. Even if you aren't a big fan of beans, when this is done right it's delicious.


Recipe here.

This one can be a bit tough and it's very different, but Brazilian food is almost on par with Mexican food in terms of breadth and quality of cuisine and they eat pretty healthy too. This is their heavy dish (kinda like a feast dish, most people only eat once a week) and when it gets heavy on the dried meat, pork and garlic flavor it is decadent (though I like Latin American food, so I may be biased here in a way Americans typically aren't). It's basically their quotidian beans and rice dish but done special with meats for flavor so your description immediately reminded me of this.
Reply Wed 10 Feb, 2010 12:13 pm
Not as much a recipe as a general tip - sliver your meat like many Chinese dishes do, and a little bit of it goes a looooong way on the plate. Fools you into thinking you ate much more meat then you actually did.

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Reply Sat 13 Feb, 2010 07:53 pm
@Robert Gentel,
Thank you!

I adore Brazilian food. We had some Brazilian friends in Madison who had us over for dinner now and then and I think those meals were some of the best I've had in my life, including at good restaurants. Oh and we know one Brazilian woman here too but we don't see her socially as often, the one time we went to her house for dinner, yow. I need to hit her up for more recipes.

These three are a great start though, thanks! I especially want to try that middle one (the Feijoada).
Robert Gentel
Reply Sat 13 Feb, 2010 08:18 pm
Won't get any argument from me here, it's one of my favorite cuisines. If you do feijoada you might as well do the rest. They almost invariably eat it with rice which I'm sure you know but here's how they prepare it to make it seasoned and loose. They first wash the rice in a colander with cold water. They they stir fry it raw with oil (about a quarter of an inch in pot at least) onions, garlic and salt before adding hot water (according to the person who taught me adding cold water ruins it somehow at this stage) and proceeding as normal with rice. It makes a loose, flavorful rice that makes other rice taste bland to me.

Then you need the two main sides which are collard greens (very thinly sliced in slivers only a few millimeters wide) fried in bacon grease (sometimes has little bacon bits in it) and farofa. Farofa is toasted manioc flour, and it looks like sand or sawdust. But it's awesome when it's soaking up juices like the feijoada and it is a blank slate for flavor. People put all sorts of savory and sweet ingredients in it ranging from scrambled eggs to banana but I think it's best with just some of the bacon/pork (not sure exactly what they usually use but it's a dry salty pork meat) chunks in it. Here is a good picture and recipe:


But doing it from scratch can be hard, and it's probably just as hard to find the right manioc flour as it is to find the prepared product at the bottom of that page (it is just the flour toasted, with no extra ingredients so you could basically add some flavor like bacon and it's good to go) in the US. But the trouble is worth it, this stuff is seriously awesome!

And if you are at the Brazilian emporium for the farofa you might as well throw in their national soda, Guarana, which is something like Ginger Ale and they like to drink the "Antartica" brand (other brands are like coke copies) with slices of orange in it (they also put slices of orange as garnish on the feijoada) and hell you might as well toss in the pre-made pão de queijo (cheese bread) dough or mix, it's a tapioca flour bread that is just delicious. Here's what they look like:


And the most popular brand is for that is the same as the most popular brand for the pre-toasted farofa:


After that all you need is some caipirinhas and you are all set (other than the Brazilian BBQ, which I'm skipping for the mostlyplants thing) for the typical Saturday feast in Brazil.
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Reply Sat 13 Feb, 2010 08:19 pm
I just listened to an old episode of The Splendid Table the Vietnamese dish called Pho was discussed. It's basically a hot beef broth in which noodles and veggies are added and cook by the heat of the broth. http://steamykitchen.com/271-vietnamese-beef-noodle-soup-pho.html
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Reply Sat 13 Feb, 2010 08:50 pm
Stuffed savoy cabbage is excellent too...made them a few days ago.

Martha Stewart had a great recipe for it savoy cabbage

I substituted the rice for couscous and took ground bison instead of beef.
Reply Sun 14 Feb, 2010 03:32 pm
I've been using bison instead of beef lately too, started out because it was on sale but I like it. Thanks!

Pho! I have a Laotian friend who posts tantalizing pictures of her pho on Facebook, I've never had it but those pictures sure made me want some. Thanks Swimpy.

Robert, both me and sozlet (hanging over my shoulder) thought everything you described looked [pause to look at her, what's the word? she suggests "scrumptious"]. I'm sure I'll have some trial and error before I am able to do any of this the right way but I look forward to trying.
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Reply Thu 18 Feb, 2010 08:46 am
Soz, I love the way djjd got this thread off to a good start...with a laugh.

Tried this recipe recently. No meat but hearty. I didn't use a slow cooker, just a 200-degree oven for four hours after bringing to simmer.


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