28 November 2012

Maggie's Soyburger Helper

Sometimes you just want to fit in. While that's a pretty broad statement (and well-supported by psychological literature, says day-job Maggie), right now I'm referencing food. It can get tiring eating things that other people find unpalatable, unusual, or just plain unknown. Perhaps the search for a feeling of "food normalcy" is what has driven the incredible surge of vegan faux-whatever products - hot dogs, deli slices, cheese, ice cream, even egg yolk - that are available on the market today.

At some point a few years ago, I was having a strong desire to be "food normal" (not enough to stop being vegan!). That night, I decided I wanted to eat something that was "normal" as far as the S.A.D. (Standard American Diet, love the acronym) was concerned, so I decided to try to make a vegan "hamburger" helper. I don't recall why I chose this food in particular, especially considering that I never really ate this as a kid (like some other meals), but I was on a mission. The first time I attempted soyburger helper, it was barely edible. However, I decided not to give up, and have since developed a recipe that is delicious and that makes me feel more "food normal." Plus, it's fast and easy, but Shana wants me to warn you that it kind of looks like dog food. Sounds like hamburger helper to me!



Maggie's Soyburger Helper
Ingredients
12 oz. package of soy burger crumbles
1 very small onion, minced
2-3 cloves garlic, pressed
1 c. whole wheat macaroni noodles, uncooked
4 c. water
1 packet onion soup mix
2 heaping tsp. "vege base" powder (see Helpful Hints)
2 tsp. plain soymilk powder
6 T. nutritional yeast

Directions
1. Saute onions in a small amount of oil in a large pot (I actually use my wok). 
2. Add garlic and crumbles, saute for another minute or two. 
3. Add all other ingredients, stirring well to combine.
4. Cook until liquid as mostly absorbed.

Helpful Hints
  • I LOVE the vege base powder in this recipe. I really only use it here and in one other recipe, but it's so helpful to have on hand. If you don't want to buy it, you can also use a vegetable broth bullion cube, or sub in 1 cup of vegetable broth for one cup of the water. 
  • On a related note, if you don't have soymilk powder, you can pour in a little bit of plain (unsweetened!) soymilk. Reduce the water by about as much soymilk as you put in. 
  • Feel free to use another shape of pasta!
  • We prefer Lightlife's Smart Ground, but you can use any type of faux burger that you like. 
  • Be careful about the onion soup mixes. Some of them have beef in them. Lipton's Onion Soup Mix is vegan. 

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