Friday, November 25, 2011

Mushroom Meat

Click HERE for an updated version of the Mushroom Meat that we cook on P. Allen Smith's Garden to Table.  

Click HERE for the final version that appears in our book, The Southern Vegetarian: 100 Down-Home Recipes for the Modern Table

I used to rely on heavy-handed meat substitutes to give my meals that old, familiar texture and flavor that we all grew up on as the center of our 1980's meat-and-three dinners. As I shy away from more and more processed foods, I began looking for a way to get that same familiar result from my own kitchen. The solution for me was to take two things I already love, mushrooms and eggplant, and turn them into a multi-purpose "meat." It's so simple and requires little hands-on time. Make this in large batches, freeze what you don't use, and defrost it to add to tacos or burritos, fill ravioli, or cobble together a homemade veggie burger.


Mushroom Meat
Yields about 4 cups

1/4 cup black olives
5 cloves garlic
6 drops liquid smoke
1/4 cup olive oil
16 oz mushrooms (any kind)
4 cups eggplant (peeled, diced)
1 cup onion (diced)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In your food processor, make a paste out of the olives, garlic, liquid smoke, and olive oil. Set mixture aside in a bowl. 


Add mushrooms, stems and all, to your food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Dump processed mushrooms onto a large, rimmed sheet pan. Pulse the eggplant in the food processor in the same manner and dump it onto the sheet pan with the mushrooms. Repeat this process with the onion. 


Drizzle the mound of mushrooms, eggplant and onion with the olive and garlic paste, and using your hands, toss it all together. Spread the mixture evenly over the sheet pan. Sprinkle the mixture with salt and pepper. Pop it into the oven for a total of 30 minutes; turn the mixture over a few times with a spatula. The mixture will release a lot of juice, and then it will start to dry out. Once most of the liquid had evaporated or been absorbed, the mixture is ready. Allow it to cool in the pan. 




For an Italian variation, add fresh herbs from the garden. To make a Mexican version, I add a few poblano peppers to the mix along with a palmful of ancho chili powder. The possibilities are endless. Sub this for any recipe that calls for ground beef.


27 comments:

The Ordinary Vegetarian said...

I can definitely relate with the use of meat substitutes. I too have moved away from that in my cooking. I really appreciate this idea, sounds great! I'll be giving this a try.

Sparks said...

Thoughts on a similar concept without eggplant? I'm of the rare sans-eggplant vegetarian breed.

Lovely blog; thanks for the resource. My sister, Rookie Cookie (rookie-cookie.com), sent me a link to your space and I'm grateful.

cookinginjapan said...

This looks great. I definitely have to try it. I get bored of meat sometimes but like a lot of the dishes it is in.

Do you think it would hold together in ball (as in meatball) form in a soup?

Justin Fox Burks said...

The OV: Thank you. let me know what you think.

Sparky: Just double the "shrooms. Try it my way 1st. you might like it. It doesn't taste like eggplant.

CIJ: I'd maybe throw in a bit of egg and breadcrumbs before tossing it into a soup. probably wouldn't stay together. Work with it though. Its good.

Toni said...

What a great idea. As soon as I find me a cheap eggplant I'll be doing this for sure.

Can I ask what the eggplant adds? Is it more of a texture thing? I ask because I've been using mushrooms to replace that meaty texture for my very Omni husband and am wondering how the eggplant makes it more "meaty" or if it does.

mollycorinne said...

What a great idea. I've been vegetarian for about 2 years, and those ground meat substitutes kinda freak me out. This looks far superior in health & taste. Thanks!

KO said...

I love you for posting this recipe. I bought some frozen eggplant and mushroom balls. They were good but processed. I wondered if i could make them from scratch and BOOM! here you are! Thanks!

vegetarian said...

looks yummy! I think I must try this one!

KO said...

has anyone successfully made balls with this recipe? 1 egg and 1/2 a cup of breadcrumbs?

The Chubby Vegetarian said...

I make meatballs out of this all of the time, but I've never written it down. You are right on target. I usually add about a 1/2 cup of grated hard cheese and a tablespoon of tomato paste as well. Drizzle with olive oil and bake in the oven for about 15 minutes. brush with tomato sauce and bake another 5.

Lisa said...

Hi, thank you for sharing this recipe, I would really like to try it. A quick question, I didn't grow up eating olives so it's an acquired taste, what other substitutions could be used? Capers? How much? My email is askforlisa@yahoo.ca

Tracy said...

Just stumbled across your blog...this mushroom meat just might be life changing. Thanks! :)

Anonymous said...

Any advice for someone who does not have a food processor? I attempted to use a blender and needed to add water to make it work and then my "meat" was quite soft and wet. Still tasted god but the texture was pretty pureed. Thanks for opening up this whole realm of fake meat to me!

The Chubby Vegetarian said...

Chop it by hand. A blender will not work. I do think that a food processor is a great investment. I use mine everyday.

Mark said...

My advise to anonymous who does not have a food processor. Go get a food processor! It will change your life. There is so much you can do only with the processor. Once you have one you will wonder why it took you so long.

Maunie Royce said...

I do not like the taste of olives. What is the reason for them in this recipe? Is there an alternatie I can use?

Maunie Royce said...

Is there a substitute to the olives that I can use? I do not like the taste of them. Thanks

The Chubby Vegetarian said...

http://chubbyvegetariantesting.blogspot.com/2012/02/mushroom-meat.html

Anonymous said...

Any idea how much of this would be used to substitute for a pound of ground meat? So many recipes are built around that amount. I can't wait to make this!

Naomi

The Chubby Vegetarian said...

2 1/2 cups

marmaladecheeks said...

Just used this in my chili recipe instead of ground chuck, and my friends (veggie and non-veggie) all loved it! Thanks for the recipe!

Anonymous said...

Does this recipe freeze well?

The Chubby Vegetarian said...

Yes! Just defrost it and strain off any extra moisture.

Anonymous said...

This looks great!! Can't wait to try it!!! Thank you for posting :)

Lydia Piazza said...

This looks amazing and I cannot wait to try it. I am going to let the kids help with this one. I have two kids that I am currently trying to make more veg than meat... this should help. thank you for posting!!!

Anonymous said...

thaank you so much for sharing!! I sawyou on tv this morning and rushed to get the récipe!!!

Anonymous said...

i saw you on tv the other day but the programme had already started so wasn't sure of what all was in it then the programme was on again this morning and just before your segment came on the tv froze!! I was so frustrated. Then just as you came on the picure came back. Thank you sooo much for sharing this. I'm off out now to buy mushrooms and eggplants LOL.ps this variation on your site is a bit different from the one on tv but I'm so glad I found your blog because i know my husband will eat it much easier with the black olives in it and I love the idera of changing it around to suit different ethnic cookery because we love mixing italian and mexican in our house. Thanks again :O):O):O)