Get to Know Plant-Based Beef
Plant-based meats are rising in popularity. You can now find burger patties, ground beef, and sausages on the market that look and taste like meat yet are derived from plants.
Although every plant-based meat contains different ingredients, they’re usually made from extracted plant protein or whey protein, spices, and binding ingredients. While it’s typically higher in sodium than real meat, plant-based meat is similar to real meat in terms of calories, with more fiber and less cholesterol.
Two companies, Impossible Foods and Beyond Beef, sell plant-based beef that have become popular in supermarkets and restaurants. Impossible Foods created a plant-based beef made from soy protein that has the taste and texture of beef. The scientists at Impossible Foods created a plant-based heme through the fermentation of genetically engineered yeast that helps the meat “bleed.” The protein in Beyond comes from peas, rice, and mung beans, while the fat comes from canola oil, coconut oil, and cocoa butter.
Both Impossible Foods and Beyond Beef products have a long list of ingredients, vitamins, and minerals that were added in order to give them a similar nutrient composition to traditional beef.
Plant-based meat is safe to eat, but don’t mistake it for health food. Meatless meat may avoid the cancer risks of red meat, but there’s still a lot of uncertainty in nutrition science.
Where to buy: Beyond Beef is available in the freezer section of most supermarkets. Impossible Foods beef is used largely in restaurants and is a bit harder to find, but it’s slowly making its way into supermarkets as well.
YIELDS 24 MINI PIZZAS
- 1 pkg frozen pizza dough rounds, defrosted
- olive oil, for greasing
- 16 oz (450 g) plant-based meat
- 1⁄2 cup finely minced onion
- 1⁄2 cup tomato paste
- 1⁄3 cup tamarind paste (see note)
- 1⁄4 cup dark brown sugar, optional
- 2 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 11⁄2 tsp allspice
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1⁄4 cup pine nuts
- pomegranate seeds and fresh parsley (optional), for garnish
Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C).
Grease a baking sheet with olive oil. In a bowl, combine the plant-based meat, onion, tomato paste, tamarind paste, brown sugar, lemon juice, allspice, and salt.
Arrange the pizza dough rounds on the baking sheet and top each circle with two tablespoons of the “meat” mixture. Garnish with pine nuts.
Bake for 15–20 minutes, until the pizza dough is crisp and golden. To serve, garnish with pomegranate seeds and fresh parsley, if desired.
Note: I used pure organic tamarind paste, which is very tangy, so I balanced it out with some brown sugar. If you use a sweeter tamarind paste, you can omit the sugar. If you can’t find tamarind paste, you can substitute with pomegranate molasses or prune butter.
(Originally featured in Family Table, Issue 714)
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