Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Mean Gene's Pepper Steak

Back in my meat eating days (I know, I know, it's hard for me to even talk about it) there were a few meals that were on constant rotation in my house. Tomatoey chicken with peas and potatoes, chicken with mushrooms and rice, burger nights, and, of course, pepper steak. This was my dad's dish - Mean Gene the Dancing Machine himself - and even though I was never a big red meat eater even back then, it always provided that warm comforting feeling that I didn't want to miss. I have fond memories of leftovers smothered with cheese and ketchup on sub rolls.

So when a craving for this hit me the other day I knew I had to try and veganize it.

What you will need:

1 package Gardein beefless tips or other meat substitute of your choice
1 package baby bella mushrooms
2 peppers (*you can use whatever colors you want, but I used an orange and a red*)
1 cup diced onion
1/2 tsp minced garlic
1 tbsp olive oil
14.5 oz can of diced tomatoes
1/2 tbsp tamari
1/2 cup water
2 tbsp Bisto (*For those of you who don't know, Bisto is a gravy granule mix from England that is fantastic. You could use the equivalent amount of your favorite gravy, but I used to live in England so I'm partial to Bisto.*)
1 package instant brown rice (*You can use slow cooked rice or whatever type you want here, but I was all about making a quick dish so the instant rice was my best friend.*)

How to get it done:

Start by preparing your veggies.

Core, de-seed, and slice your peppers into thin strips.

Slice your mushrooms.

Chop up 1 cup of your onion.

I happen to have a little fancy mini chopper that I always put to work when it comes to onions since I hate them so much and am seriously sensitive to their tear-inducing power. With that said, I recognize that sometimes I have to use onions and in these cases I have a routine to decrease the amount of pain. I chop off the part of the onion I'll need, throw it into the mini chopper, throw the onions wherever they need to be, then quickly put the chopper in the sink and fill it with water and soap. It's probably hysterical to watch this happen since I freak out and run around trying to get it done before I'm forced to wrap a scarf and sunglasses around my eyes so I don't die from the onions. But regardless, it works.

Mince your garlic.

Prepare your rice and set aside in a covered pan to keep warm.

Heat your olive oil in a large saucepan over medium high heat.

Throw in the onions and garlic and saute until the onions take on a slightly translucent look.

Throw in the mushrooms and peppers and saute for another 5 minutes.

Add in the can of diced tomatoes, the Bisto, soy sauce, and water. Allow to cook for about 5 minutes so that the flavors can mix together.

Add in your Gardein beefless tips or whatever other protein you are using and allow to cook for another 5 minutes or until the beef is completely heated through.

Serve over cooked rice and season to taste with salt and pepper. Voila! Super quick and easy pepper steak!

This was pretty tasty for a thrown together meal, but next time I would probably saute the Gardein first to get it a little bit firmer and crispy on the sides and them mix it in at the very last minute since it was a little bit soft for my taste. Seth, however, had no complaints. I think this would be pretty delicious on a sub roll with some melted Daiya on top and some ketchup (you'll learn that I add ketchup to most things). It wasn't exactly like I remembered, but I think with some tweaking it could be pretty freaking fantastic.

Next up on Dance Vegan Dance:

A small Wonton Wednesday and the beginning of my 13 Days of Halloween!

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