Vegan Hamburger Helper!

Some days, even though you can’t eat gluten or eggs or whatever it may be, you want comfort food. Comfort food, to me, is food your mom cooked when you were a kid. And while most of the stuff I was raised on…i.e. soda, white bread, are things I would not want to ever eat again in my life, I’ve always remembered loving when my mom made hamburger helper. I even remember being at the store with my mom and she would let me pick the flavors of hamburger helper that I wanted. Nowadays, I’ve actually seen some packages in stores like Whole Foods that look very similar to hamburger helper, but vegan and gluten free. But I’m not into the whole boxed stuff….yes, it comes in handy. However, my version takes ingredients I always have on hand, and can be made (and yes, I timed it), in less than 30 minutes (it actually took 24 minutes and that includes when my neighbor stopped by, saw my apron that I had on, said “Oh your cooking” and preceded to talk for a good 4-5 minutes). And I bet its way healthier. And tastier.

I’ve recently become infatuated with nutritional yeast powder, or “nooch” as many people in the vegan world call it. Don’t know what it is? Look it up. Its not hard. I could tell you that its super healthy and a nutritional powerhouse, but i’ve been told not to give out “medical advice” so pretend I didn’t say anything and research it yourself. 🙂  I’ve liked it for quite a while, but recently, its full on love..its so yummy! One night, I wanted something quick and easy and close to mac&cheese (but without the fake vegan cheese products with stuff I can’t pronounce), but with “nooch”…and with the magic of google, I found what has now become the base of my vegan hamburger helper. Angela over at one my favorite blogs, http://www.ohsheglows.com, has a fantastic “nooch” sauce she calls her “Quick & Dirty 5 ingredient vegan cheeze sauce” and it is seriously so good..and it makes me think dirty food thoughts…which is how I came up with this recipe. You can find her sauce recipe here: http://ohsheglows.com/2011/08/18/quick-dirty-5-ingredient-vegan-cheeze-sauce-recipe-challenge/

I know…you are probably so ready for this recipe…its comfort food that you can feel good about eating 🙂

Vegan Hamburger Helper

**The recipe below makes a lot…it could probably feed 6 people or feed me for 6 meals (and yes, I can and will eat this 6 meals in a row). If you have time and you should, read through both the ingredients and directions before starting…just an idea folks but I’ve learned the hard way..it just helps to have an idea of what’s going to happen before you actually start. Just a thought.

Ingredients:

1 12oz bag of Tinkyada penne pasta (hands down best pasta brand that’s gluten free and vegan; great texture, great pasta shape selection, and to my friends that eat gluten, they actually like this pasta when I make it). For this recipe, I really like the penne shape…not too big or too small. Side note: my all-time favorite pasta shape is shells and Tinkyada makes shells! I mention the brand, not because I was asked by the company, but because I know from experience how hard it can be to find gluten free products. I’ve tried a number of pastas and this is the best one, in my opinion. It’s totally ok if you like a different brand, use what you want or have on hand.

1 cup frozen kale

1 cup frozen peas

1/2 cup frozen corn

1TB coconut oil or other oil of your choosing

**Quick and dirty nutritional yeast sauce from Oh She Glows; I double it for this recipe (link above in case you just scrolled through without reading)

1 bag of Beyond Meat-beefy crumbles

Ok..I have to stop for one sec tell you about Beyond Meat crumbles..not because they asked me to (they didn’t, btw), but because I love this product. Finally, a “meaty” crumble that’s gluten free, vegan, and not full of weird shit. Sometimes I’m totally up for googling recipes and making everything from scratch, even meaty type crumbles, but this dish is all about convenience and ease. So keep a bag in the freezer… or 5..and use it! I also make an awesome shepherds pie with it and will have to post the recipe soon. You can check out Beyond Meat at http://beyondmeat.com/ and I posted pictures of it below. You may think I posted a picture of real hamburger, but I promise, its the beefy crumbles from Beyond Meat.

Directions:

1. Boil water for the pasta.

2. While waiting for the water to boil, don’t just stand around watching it. Get to work.

3. Make the sauce per Oh She Glow’s instructions on her site.

4. By this time, your water should be boiling; put your pasta and cook per the package instructions.

5. Once your sauce is done, put it off to the side, but keep it on the stove as it will say warmer that way.

6. Heat a saute pan (I use my biggest one) with your oil and I would have the pan on medium. After about a minute, dump the bag of crumples into the pan and heat and stir occasionally for about 3-4 minutes. You want it be partially heated at this point (remember, its not meat and doesn’t actually need to cook or anything, but it is frozen so I would suggest heating it up, but hey, if you like that sort of thing, have at it; I won’t stop you). After about 3-4 minutes, add in your kale, peas, and corn. I use frozen because this is supposed to be a meal using ingredients you have on hand and I usually have these in my freezer at all times.

7. Don’t forget your pasta. Is it done? Now would be a great time to drain it. I would just let it hang out in the colander while you finish up the “meaty” part.

8. Back to your “meaty” part. After about 6 minutes or less, your frozen veggies and beefy crumble should be sufficiently warmed up. Now its time to assemble.

9. Take your pasta and mix it in with the “meaty” part in the saute pan (this is why I suggested a big one). Give it a good mix, then add in your “nooch” sauce. Mix it up, smell it (trust me…get a good whiff..it smells so good..in fact, my bf was at my place hanging out and he even said it smelled really good and he doesn’t lie about my food…he knows I want the truth), and now…the best part. EAT!!!! And enjoy 🙂

My favorite brand of pasta.

My favorite brand of pasta.

Awesome!

Awesome!

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This is what my stove looked like. I love my cast iron skillet.

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This is what my “meaty” part looked like before the addition of pasta and sauce.

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The finished product…yum! I admit, it may not be prettiest dish, but it really is good.

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