Pasta. A staple for the omnivore, a necessity for the vegetarian. This wheat, and water combination is a gateway food for many aspiring to live plant-based. I know that I personally survived on pasta, and veggie burgers during my college years, and the years after graduation.
Chicken Parmesan having been one of my favorite pre-vegetarian meals, one of my earliest vegetarian recreations was chick’n Parmesan made with Lightlife’s chick’n cutlets. These breaded cutlets were discontinued somewhere along the way. I later worked with Quorn’s cutlets. Though delicious, the egg whites are a non-starter for a full on plant-based version.
Enter Gardein. This Canadian purveyor of plant protein makes a mock meat to satisfy just about any carnivorous craving. From mock wings, to mock meatloaf, Gardein has you covered. Though not breaded, their excellent chick’n scallopini cutlets make for a great base for a vegan chicken Parm.
One of the joys of pasta is the simplicity with which it is cooked. Adding the mock Parm should be no exception. I like to make mine in a toaster. Using either aluminum oil, or a toaster pan, simply cover the cutlets with a few spoon fulls of maranara sauce, and cover with a mock mozz. In my experience, Daiya’s shreds work best.
The trick to getting the cheese right is to bake the cutlets for about 10 minutes at around 400 degrees, and then
turn your toaster oven over to broil. While Daiya’s shreds won’t quite brown like a dairy based mozzarella, it does cause it to melt just right.
I also like to turn my tomato sauce into a bolognese. For that, I usually prefer Tofurky’s incredible chorizo. Though I’ll often use Beyond Meat’s Feisty Crumbles, because I almost always have some in the freezer. Simply brown a little in a sauce pan, and mix with your favorite vegan sauce.
For the pasta, I’m a big fan of DeLallo’s exceptional whole wheat, organic line of pastas. These guys get it right, and it’s made in Italy. However, recently, I tried a box of Ancient Harvest’s POW green lentil penne, packed with 25g of protein. While I’m not ready to give up on the whole wheat taste of DeLallo, I will say I’ll mix this bean pasta into my rotation.
Finally, top the pasta with some sauce, and add the cutlet. To top it all off, be sure to add a bit of Follow Your Heart’s Parmesan.
No one recreates real cheese flavor like Follow Your Heart, and these shreds are easily one of the best non-dairy cheese products available.