Folks I am EXCITED about this recipe!!!
A) seriously delicious!
B) soy free!
C) Super high in Protein!!! oz for oz this actually has close to the same amount of (complete!) protein as 70% lean ground meat, but with way less fat.

sooo... I had a goal! i wanted to make a vegan ground "meat" that would taste delicious AND at the same time would be an excellent source of complete plant protein; I wasn't just going after a satisfying flavor, if i'm going to call it a ground meat substitute, i was also going to provide comparable nutrition to ground meat.

result: 2 oz (1/3 cup) has 9 grams of complete protein, 4 grams net carbs and 6 grams of fat (good fats); at only 110 calories per serving, that is 80 less calories the ground beef, and not to mention 11 grams less fat!

This is a base recipe you can use to make a slew of high protein vegan entrees (and we will!) use it in tacos, bolognese sauce, lasagna, chili or add to salads and even soups!

difficulty level: intermediate

equipment needed:

  • food processor, yes you could probably do this with a cheese grater and knife, but it will drastically increase the prep time, also might change the cooking time a bit due to different size knife cuts vs a food processor, should be fine as long as you "keep an eye" on things ;)
  • 12" non stick pan

prep time: 7 minutes

cook time: 55 minutes, both oven and saute pan time.

what you need:

  • 1 large eggplant peeled and cut into 1/2 inch cubes, 21 oz otherwise measured as 6 cups of 1/2 inch cubes
  • 2 packages of sliced crimini mushrooms, each package is 8 oz, so a total of 16 oz. It is ok to get 16 ounces whole crimini mushrooms, but you will the need to slice them yourself.
  • 2 tbsp avocado oil (or any high heat oil)
  • 1/4 + 1/2 tsp salt divided
  • 1 package 8 oz "Tempt Original Extra Firm Hemp Tofu" crumbled up in a food processor, 10 quick pulses should do it. Ok this is a really good soy free high protein alternative, i found this at Whole Foods next to the tofu and love it; yes you can get this on Amazon, but you then have to buy a case of 6, and it does take a bit of time for it to be delivered and it comes out RIDICULOUSLY expensive after shipping, so if you can not find this at your local store, i recommend using an extra firm tofu instead.
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 cup onion 1/2 inch cubes, processed in food processor to very small pieces, 10 quick pulses.
  • 1 garlic clove minced
  • 2 scoops "Genuine Health brand fermented vegan protein+ powder, unsweetened & unflavored" thankfully this one is a decent price and on Amazon Prime! :) I found it at Whole Foods. very neutral flavor, complete protein, fermented for easier absorption, non GMO, gluten free with 15 g of protein & 0 carbs per scoop!!! This is a great way to add high quality plant protein to savory dishes... i will definitely be using this one in future recipes; it was actually quite hard to find a completely unflavored high quality complete protein with low carb count! i am really pleased with this product :)
  • 10 tbsp no-chicken broth, or any vegetable broth
  • 10 tbsp water
  • cooking oil spray

what to do:

  • preheat oven to 425 degrees
  • line an oven sized baking dish with foil, lightly greased/spray
  • place 1/2 cup of the eggplant cubes in food processor, pulse until no large pieces are visible, but eggplant is not mush, 12 - 15 quick pulses, transfer to a large wide Tupperware, repeat with the rest of the eggplant, 1/2 cup at a time
  • place 1/2 a package (4oz) of mushroom slices at a time into food processor, pulse 12 quick pulses, it is completely ok if slightly bigger pieces remain, transfer to Tupperware with eggplant and repeat with the rest of the mushrooms, 4oz of mushroom slices at a time.
  • drizzle 2 tbsp oil on eggplant mushroom mixture, immediately mix well with hands, as both mushroom and eggplant are like sponges and will immediately absorb the oil. spread eggplant mushroom mixture onto baking sheet, sprinkle with 1/4 tsp salt and some black pepper, spread mixutre out in an even layer, lightly spray with cooking oil spray and put into oven, on middle rack for 25 minutes.
  • meanwhile pulse extra firm hemp tofu in food processor until it looks like ground meat texture (very quick 10 pulses) mix hemp tofu crumble with 1/4 tsp each onion powder & garlic powder and 1/2 tsp salt, set aside
  • preheat 12" non stick pan on medium high
  • spray frying pan well with cooking oil, add processed onions, spray onions and saute for 5 minutes, deglaze pan with 1 - 2 tbsp broth if necessary (if onion starts burning)
  • push onion to edges of pan, spray in middle, add minced garlic, spray and cook 15 seconds
  • add seasoned hemp tofu crumble, spread out evenly in pan, spray and keep mixing/flipping every 5 minutes; cook a total of 20 minutes to properly brown. turn heta off and keep in pan.
  • check on eggplant and mushrooms, if 25 minutes have passed, take them out, flip around piling the mixture towards center, spread it out again, spray lightly with oil and return to oven for 15 more minutes.
  • after 15 minutes have elapsed, turn broil element on, take eggplant mushroom mix out, flip again, lightly spray and place on third rack from the top.
  • Broil the mixture for 6 - 8 minutes, do keep an eye on this and i highly suggest seting a timer, as we want it to crisp up, but not burn!
  • take eggplant mushroom mixture out of oven and add to frying pan with tofu crumble, on medium high heat, mixing well, saute 2 minutes.
  • remove from heat, transfer to a large wide tupperware.
  • let cool 5 minutes, the add 2 scoops of fermented vegan protein+ and mix well
  • add 10 tablespoons vegetable broth and 9 tablespoons water, mix well. this re hydrates and creates the right texture for the crumble.

this recipe yields 3 cups, so 9 servings (1/3 cup is a serving). You can absolutely freeze this, should keep well in freezer for at least 2 months.
I used 2 cups that day for another recipe (coming up!) and used the rest to make INCREDIBLY YUMMY high protein vegan tacos!
I used gluten free tortillas with a fresh avocado salsa and drizzled some of my vegan low calorie ranch dressing on top... O...M...G!!! soooo yummmmyyyyy!!! (not exaggerating!!)