Meatless Monday: Vegan Feijoada

I often hear that vegan food is boring. And I think it’s safe to say that if you haven’t ever had it, just having a general understanding of it, sure, it can definitely sound boring. No real cheese? No animal by-products at all? But what about all the flavor?! Believe it or not, there can be serious flavor with just plant based products!

This recipe comes from Vegetarian Times, which every once in awhile will e-mail or publish a vegan dish. As you know, I’m not a full-fledged vegetarian, so I’m certainly not a vegan. However, I’m always up for new dishes and exciting flavors, so I figured I’d give it a shot; it has black beans, chipotles, and onions in it which are some of my favorite flavors. I added a habanero for extra heat, of course. It also calls for tempeh, which I’d often read about, but never actually tried. Tempeh is made by natural culturing and a controlled fermentation process that binds soybeans into cake form, originating in Indonesia (source). It suggested a smoky variation, so I grabed a package of LightLife’s “Fakin’ Bacon” Smoky Tempeh. I don’t think it tastes anything like bacon, but it’s a great flavor on it’s own, not in comparison. I also made sure to grab the 100% vegetarian vegetable broth to stay true to the recipe. Isn’t it amazing that things like vegetable broth aren’t always completely vegetarian? You really need to pay attention to the labels!

When I first read the recipe, I misread the cooking time, skipping down to the re-heat instructions. Originally I thought it was only going to take about 15 minutes to cook once all the other ingredients were ready, but then I realized I actually needed 45 minutes – whoops! So by the time all was said and done, my fiancé and I were ravenous, and managed to forget to take a picture. So, I’m borrowing the picture from Vegetarian Times (source). While mine wasn’t in such a cool pot, it looked pretty much the same.

I decided to make the whole recipe which serves 8, figuring we could bring it for lunch a few days during the week. Since it’s chock full of beans (four cans!) it’s defintely really filling so the entire meal will really stretch your dollar. That’s another thing – everyone assumes eating vegetarian or vegan is expensive. At times, yes, it defintely is. However, this recipe probably cost about $20 – $25 to make, and it’s going to last us for at least three meals, for two people!

Vegan Feijoada
– Serves 8 –

4 1/2 tsp. olive oil, divided
1 6-oz. pkg. smoky tempeh strips, such as Lightlife Fakin’ Bacon
1 medium red onion, chopped (about 1 1/4 cups)
1 rib celery, chopped (about 1/3 cup)
1 tsp. dried thyme
4 15-oz. cans black beans, rinsed and drained
2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
4 cloves garlic, minced (about 4 tsp.)
1 chipotle chile in adobo sauce, minced
1/4 cup minced fresh parsley

1. Heat 2 tsp. oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Add tempeh strips, and sauté 2 minutes on each side.
2. Heat remaining 2 1/2 tsp. oil in saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion, celery and thyme, and sauté 6 minutes, or until onion is golden. Stir in black beans, tempeh, broth, garlic and chipotle chile. Bring to a simmer, and reduce heat to low. Cover, and cook 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat, and stir in parsley. Season with salt and pepper.
3. To reheat, place feijoada in skillet over medium-low heat. Cover, and heat, stirring occasionally, 15 to 20 minutes, or until heated through.

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