I’m kind of a bad vegetarian/vegan/(insert label here). I get these deep longings for charred animal flesh—namely sliders, but sometimes I want something more high end. Every now and again I get a yearning for a medium rare steak while pacing the floor of my kitchen shooting dark looks at the dinged up dinky little refrigerator that has probably been in my apartment for the last twenty years. I crave hamburgers more than any other thing I’ve moved away from in my diet. (Well, that and bacon, but you know, the struggle is real with pig candy.) I particularly miss pub food in general. To knock out this burger craving I’ve started taking Portobello mushroom caps and treating them the same way I would a preformed patty. I start out by caramelizing some onions. Then I season the mushroom caps with black pepper and smoked paprika and proceed to cook them for about 8 minutes in a cast iron skillet with olive or coconut oil, depending on my mood. That particular day if I’ve fallen off the wagon and I’m calling myself vegetarian rather than vegan I will melt some cheese onto it (slice off a hunk of your favorite and drop it on top of the mushroom then pop a lid onto it for a few minutes) and put it on a gluten free bun with some mayo and hot sauce. I decorate it with the onions I caramelized. If I’m fully committed to going the vegan route I will whip up some cashew cheese and use that instead.
I’ve talked about eating this way before, and as usual, I will say that what I’m doing is mainly for health reasons and not because I detest meat in any way. I’ve had a lot of fun and more than a few disappointments in my navigation of vegan/vegetarian cooking, especially since I’ve also started cutting most of the processed sugar out of my diet as well. It took me about eight months to finally get a yummy banana bread without sugar with my recipe modifications, so I don’t always expect it to be an easy path, but it should be a delicious one.
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