Vegan Spaghetti Bolognese

This weekend I made vegan spaghetti bolognese. The key to this was making the faux meat. The pasta came from a box and the sauce from a jar. But the vegan ground beef was totally homemade. I'm a fan of premade fake meat products. They are convenient and tasty. But it's never a bad idea to know how to prepare your own. It's also great if you don't want it to contain soy or just need a cheaper alternative. Like real meat, faux meat can get pretty pricey. But this version is as economical as it is scrumptious.

Ingredients
1 can black beans thoroughly rinsed
1/2 cup cooked pearl barley
6 cloves minced garlic
1/3 cup frozen corn nibblets
3 tbls nutritional yeast
3-4 tbls corn meal
3 tlbs ketchup
3 tsps soy sauce
1 tbl peanut butter
1 tbl white vinegar
1 tsp olive and more for cooking
chili powder, onion powder, black pepper, paprika, thyme, garlic powder

Cook the barley in water until tender. When the barley is done add frozen corn to the hot pot. Stir and let stand for about 3 minutes.

In a very large bowl combine minced garlic, hot barley/corn mixture and soy sauce. Blend using a stick blender until liquidy, but still chunky. Add vinegar, ketchup and beans. Blend some more until combined. Stir in yeast, corn meal, spices and peanut butter.

Stir in olive oil and taste. Continue adding spices, corn meal and yeast until the desired texture and flavor has been achieved. The texture should be thick, yet slightly runny. Refrigerate for 1 hour.

Lube a large high sides non-stick frying pan with olive oil (1-2 tsps) and fill with a thin layer of your mixture. The thinness is important. If your layer is too thick it'll never properly brown all around. You'll have to do this in batches. It won't all fit at once. But should only take two pan fulls. You cut all the measurements in half if you only want one pan's worht.

Do not skip the lubrication of the pan. It's important for browning, taste and texture. Relbue the pan for the second batch. Also lube up your spatula too. This will be a sorta sticky mixture at first.

Let cook without stirring it at all on medium high heat for 3-4 minutes or until a nice brown crust has formed on the one side. Turn the chunks over and cook again to get the crust on the other side.

Once that has happened stir and break up the mixture with your spatula and continue cooking until you have many little golden brown chunks.

At this point your faux meat is done and ready to eat. It's great on sandwiches or in any applications that call for ground meat.

But to make the bolognese sauce continue by adding half a jar tomato sauce directly to one panful of your vegan ground beef. Simmer for 5 minutes, stirring often. Do this with both batches. Ladle your sauce mixture over your cooked pasta. Sprinkle with additional thyme.

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