‘Splaining The Plant Base | Lewiston Sun Journal


The sign said “The Impossible Burger”, and Burger King, putting the original whopper next to a look-a-like whopper pretending to be a “real” whopper actually made of plants, and even giving it a name…”The impossible burger”~. They have been advertising the heck out of it, grown construction type of men being offered a burger made of plants, coercing them into thinking it really taste like beef. Does it? Does it not?…………

So what is it? Plant-based meat is meat made from plants. It’s especially designed and created to look like, and cook like conventional meat, formed in patties, nuggets, crumbles and sausage, these meat-vegetable alternatives are shaking up the food industry having brought in $800 million in revenues in the last year alone. What in the world is going on?

This is great and all, but you just might be wondering what are they made of? I know I was,

So when they tried to push the impossible burger on me, I was like “No, no thank you”. It’s chickenless-chicken and beefless-beef, so what does that really mean? The impossible burger credits “Hemes”, this is an essential molecule found in all living plant and animal. Impossible makes plant-made heme through fermentation of genetically engineered yeast. If your wondering if it is safe, generally, it is, and it’s sustainable. Other ingredients found include wheat-based protein, coconut oil and potato protein, some version incorporate pea protein and beet juice, (they say it creates a “bleeding” effect)

Still, I don’t think I’m ready for genetically fermented food, that sounds too 2050 for me.

If you want to go meatless, but don’t want to miss out on beefy savor (even juicy pink centers and bits of fat), there’s never been a better time to shop your supermarket. I scanned the meatless section of beef while every one is fighting over turkeys, dressings, pie crust and whatever. The nice butcher guy came out and I bombarded him. He did make recommendations as we deciphered the nutrition labels.

1. Sweet Earth Awesome Grounds-form this ground pea “meat” into patties yourself, plus a bonus, you can add in spices.

2. Impossible Burger-Soy and potato proteins form a grind that sizzles, smells and tastes like

beef. Cook it med-rare for best results.

3. Morning Star Farms Incogmeato Burger-Despite its name, this blend has nothing to hide.

The soy-based patty has the meaty texture you want from a burger with bits of plant-based

gristle and beefy flavor.

4. Beyond Burger Plant-based Patties-This choice has the most meat-like texture and look, thanks to flecks of coconut oil that mimics the marbling in beef and provide that oily sheen.

The umami-forward flavor has just a hint of beaniness poking through from the pea and mung-bean proteins.

So if you are going to try one of these meatless wonders, the butcher recommends this selection. I’m still wondering what a chickenless-chicken looks like.

There is an upside:

in addition to tasting and looking like beef, most labels stated they are nutritionally similar too. Calorie-wise they range about 200 to 250 calories per 4-ounce servings, compared to 200 in lean ground beef, and some are fortified with key nutrients in beef that vegetarians can have trouble getting, like iron, zinc and vitamin B-12. Plus unlike beef, you’ll likely get a hit of fiber-many blends each have the same amount as ½ cup of oatmeal.

Now the downside:

The sodium content: read the labels, I found some with less than 400mg. That’ s still five times the amount in ground beef. But don’t fret; just consider them preseason and skip the salt. In terms of saturated fat, be aware that many of these blends get their richness from coconut oil, giving them just as much, if not more saturated fat as beef (4 grams per ounce of raw).

The recipes

Plant-Based Smashed Burger with Caramelized Onion Relish

Prep time: 40 min.

Smashing burgers into thin patties not only makes them quick-cooking, it also creates irresistible crispy edges.

3 Tbs. canola oil, divided

2 large white onions, diced

¼ cup cider vinegar

2 tbs. light brown sugar

1 tsp. fresh thyme

½ tsp. ground pepper, divided

¼ tsp. table salt, divided

12-16 ounces plant-based ground “meat”, (see suggestions below)

2 tsp chili powder

8 slices seeded whole-grain sandwich bread, toasted

2 cups baby arugula

4 slices of a large tomato


1. Heat 2 tbsp. of oil in a large cast iron skillet, medium heat. Add onions

and cook, stirring occasionally, until caramelized. (15-20 min).

2. Add vinegar, brown sugar, thyme, 1/4 tsp pepper and 1/8 tsp salt.

Cook, stirring, until most of the liquid has evaporated and onions

are slightly “syrupy”, (about 2-3 minutes), transfer mixture to

a medium bowl. Wipe out pan.

3. Combine ground “meat”, chili powder remaining pepper and salt

in a large bowl. Form into 4 patties and smash to ¼ inch thick.

4. Heat remaining 1 tbsp oil over medium heat in skillet, Add the patties and cook until brown on both sides, (3-4 minutes).

5. Stack each burger on toast with the onion relish, arugula and tomato slice. Enjoy.


Skillet Beef & Veggie Potpie With Buttermilk Biscuits.

Prep time: about 45 minutes Preheat: 400*F Yields 6

Using an oven-safe skillet, like cast iron allows you to take this potpie from

stove-top to oven, without dirtying extra pans.


1 tbs. Olive oil

1 pound of plant-based “meat” (or, like me, use ground chuck.)

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 tbsp Dijon mustard

1 tsp salt, divided

1 14-ounce bag frozen pearl onions

1 13-ounce bag frozen peas

1 cup diced carrots

3 tbsp white, whole-wheat flour plus 1 cup, separated

3 cups low sodium beef broth

½ cup chopped fresh parsley, plus more for garnish

½ tsp. baking powder

4 tbsp. cold, unsalted butter (½ inch thick), cut into quarter squares

½ cup buttermilk


1. Heat oil in large oven proof skillet on medium heat. Add beef and cook, breaking it up with a wooden spoon, until browned and cooked through, 6-8 minutes, add garlic, mustard and ¾ tsp salt; cook stirring for 1-2 minutes.

2. Stir in onions, peas and carrots, cook until a small boil, stirring frequently, 5-6 minutes.

3. Mix 3 tbs. of flour with 1/2 cup of broth, stir well to dissolve and add to skillet, stirring, add remaining broth to skillet, cooking until mixture is slightly thickened, about 11-13 minutes. Stir in parsley.

4. Meanwhile combine remaining flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl, rub the butter into the flour mix to create a coarse mix.

5. Stir in buttermilk, mix until just blended, place heaping tablespoons on top of beef mixture, you should have 12 biscuits. Transfer skillet to oven, bake for 16-18 min. or at least biscuits are a golden brown and cooked through. Garnish with remaining parsley. Serve from the skillet.

Happy Fooding! Happy Impossibiling! Happy Holidays Fans….I’ll be cooking with

you next year! E-mail your ideas, recipes and thoughts…[email protected]

Exerts from Green Matters and Nutrition for Longevity. And the last words~”We Elves

try to stick to the four main food groups: candy, candy canes, candy corn, and syrup.” Elf~


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