I have been on a healthier eating journey for four years since having my gall bladder removed that caused me to have digestive issues. One of the first things to go out of my diet was beef and ground beef. I simply could not (and still can’t) digest the fat in it. Giving up ground beef meant no more hamburgers and since Saturday nights are hamburger and french fry nights at my house, that just wasn’t going to fly.
I have made all kinds of substitutions from grinding up chicken breast and making patties, using lentils for tacos, and just plain ole’ skipping the meat all together in dishes that require a ground beef. I’ve even tried the store bought vegan crumbles and they were, well, nasty.
So, in my quest to find an alternative that I could make at home, I accidentally stumbled upon this creation when I made my vegan meatballs. I made some adjustment to the original recipe, did some trial and error cooking sessions, and finally came up with the best vegan ground meat substitute that I have ever had! It’s true!! This recipe is holds it’s shape and ground meat consistency when added to soups stews and sauces. It freezes well. I usually divide the mixture in half and make some of it into meatless hamburger patties and the other half into meatless crumbles. SCORE!!! Now, let’s see the recipe.
Before you start, preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
In a large bowl you will blend up the oat flour, Italian seasoning, salt, pepper, regular or Nut-free Vegan Parmesan cheese, dry onion flakes, garlic powder and paprika.
I use dehydrated mushrooms for this recipe. But I have used cooked mushrooms as well. The dehydrated mushrooms added dry just give this recipe such a great chewy meaty textture. If you are using dehydrated mushrooms just roughly crumble them dry into your dry ingredients.
Add the ground mushrooms, tomato paste, egg, liquid smoke and water to the dry ingredients and stir until the mixture is thoroughly combined.
Using wet hands, break the mixture up in small pieces and place on lined baking pans. Place the baking pans in the oven and bake for about 45 minutes until they are golden brown and crispy. As the crumbles cook, you may need to take them out every so often and break any larger chunks up.
Heat up some water, veggie broth, beef or chicken broth or bullion in a large pot on the stove. Bring the liquid to a boil and add the crumbles. Cook them for about 15 minutes. Then remove them with a slotted spoon and put them back onto the parchment lined baking sheet. Sprinkle them with salt and pepper. Cool them completely. Flash freeze them in the freezer and then place them into two Ziploc bags.
You will be amazed at the resemblance of ground meat that this has.