It seems the popularity of plant-based meats knows no bounds. Even omnivores are jumping onboard, and one report published earlier this year indicated that the market for meat substitutes is expected to reach a whopping $6.43 billion by 2023.
But while there are tons of great places to source ready-made plant-based meats, for those who want the homemade touch, there’s "Field Roast: 101 Artisan Vegan Meat Recipes to Cook, Share, and Savor."
This new cookbook from Chef Tommy McDonald shares the fundamental techniques for making plant-based meats at home, techniques gleaned from McDonald's years of experience as the executive chef of Seattle-based Field Roast, a grain-based meat alternative company and a pioneer in the plant-based industry.
The recipes marry time-tested Asian techniques of using wheat as a protein food (as for seitan or mien ching) with the flavor and form of traditional European roasts, charcuteries, and more. Heartier and meatier than tofu and substantially less processed than many store-bought options, the bases in this book take advantage of core ingredients like vital wheat gluten and chickpea flour to create a range of boldly flavored sausage bases, grain meat grinds, and hearty roasts perfect for a holiday main (or for simply slicing and serving on sandwiches).
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From these bases, the cookbook offers nearly limitless possibilities: anything from plant-based Wellington to chicken-fried sausage and waffles to paella is within the reach of the plant-based home cook. The book even offers options for vegan stocks and sauces, like a creamy plant-based béchamel made with cashews and nutritional yeast that pairs perfectly with pasta for an unctuous vegan mac and cheese.
But despite seeking its inspiration, at least for the most part, from recipes that are more traditionally made with an animal-derived base, the goal of the book is not to replicate the flavor and texture of these roasts and sausages. Rather, the book seeks to redefine the meaning of meat – or, if you ask McDonald himself, to return to its core meaning.
“In much the way that we’ve broadened our understanding of the word milk to include soy and nut milks, at Field Roast we’re excited about doing the same for meat," he writes.
"Because when you remove animal protein from your meals, you’re not left with an absence or a gap, you’re left with the opportunity to broaden your understanding of what meat is and what center-of-the-plate food can be.”
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