Thursday, July 17, 2008

Veggie Products For Carnivores

It’s true that I often give the vegetarians a hard time. I make fun of their tofu products and edamame. I turn my nose up at veggie dogs. I will corner aspiring vegetarians and describe the grilling process of a succulent cut of meat, or remind them of the joys of hot, crisp, salty bacon. Sometimes I even feel bad about it afterwards. But having said this, I think you should know that I frequently consume all sorts of those soy based products -- drawing the line, of course, at veggie bacon. As a lover of breakfast meat, I had to learn to adapt or keel over from clogged arteries before the age of 30. So what I really want to talk about is breakfast sausage. I likes it. A lot. But I don’t need a nutritionist to tell me that I can’t have Jimmy Dean breakfast links three or four times a week. So after working my way through the veggie spectrum of “sausage,” here are my recommendations:

Morning Star Veggie Sausage Patties- get the patties, not the links--very important. Easy to microwave in the morning, but put a damp paper towel over them so they stay moist. I put mine on an English muffin with egg and American cheese and pretend it’s an Egg McMuffin.
This is my favorite.

Boca Breakfast Links - get the links, not the patties. Also easy to microwave and tastes good with syrup.

Gimme Lean Ground Sausage – you can find it in the refrigerated tofu area; it comes in a tube. I love things that come in tubes. Anyway, don’t try to patty this and cook it up, unless you really are a vegetarian. This stuff is good for casseroles and recipes where sausage is not the main attraction. You might even be fooled for a second.

Try it out:
Grits and Sausage Casserole

½ tbsp olive oil
1 cup red bell pepper, chopped
1/2 cup onion, chopped finely
1/2 pound Gimme Lean veggie sausage
1 1/2 cups milk
1 1/2 cups water
3/4 cup quick-cooking grits
3/4 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
3 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
Dash (or two) of ground red pepper
3 egg whites (or about ¼ cup)
Cooking spray

1. Pre-heat oven to 375.
2. Saute red bell pepper and onion in olive oil until almost tender; add veggie sausage and crumble well. Cook until sausage is heated through. Set aside.
3. Combine milk and water in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Stir in grits and cover, then reduce heat, and simmer until mixture is thick. Stir often.
4. Combine grits, sausage mixture, cheese, parsley, salt, garlic, and peppers in a large bowl; set aside.
5. Beat egg whites at high speed using a mixer until stiff peaks form. Gently stir one-fourth of egg whites into grits mixture; fold in remaining egg whites.
6. Add mixture into a casserole dish coated with cooking spray. Bake for 25 minutes or until set.

Make sure you serve this dish hot, because the sausage crumbles start to get a rubbery texture when they sit out for a while. Good for brunch.

No comments:

Post a Comment