Category Archives: Meatless Meat

Vegetarian Sloppy Joes

Forbidden Rice Blog | Vegetarian Sloppy Joes (3 of 5)

Are you one of those folks who plans their family’s meals a week at a time? I try to be that person… but let’s be real. I really suck at meal planning. Part of the deal is I frequent the grocery store often enough that purchasing the ingredients for just one dinner isn’t a huge deal — often I know I’ll be back in the store again the next day at some point, thus being able to shop for tomorrow’s dinner… tomorrow. The other aspect I somewhat enjoy is the flexibility of not knowing what the hell I’m going to cook. Sometimes I wake up at 8:30 in the morning and think what am I going to make tonight? Then I peruse recipes over my morning cup of coffee for ideas. (Some days this isn’t a pleasant activity; I wake up wishing I knew what was coming so I could cut out the extra work!)

So on a day I had already planned our dinner, and in fact decided I was going to make these burgers, while taking Silas to baseball practice he suddenly said, “Hey! Can we please have sloppy joes sometime soon?” I thought about what I had planned for dinner and realized I could probably transform my plan of burgers into sloppy joes, using ingredients we already had at home. “Sure! We can have them tonight,” I said, only to realize when I got home we were out of ketchup, a staple ingredient in sloppy joe mixture! (Who runs out of ketchup?!) Not wanting to run to the store at the mad-rush hour,  I did a little hunting online and figured out there are many quick homemade ketchup recipes, and simply made my own.

As a kid I remember loving when my mom made us sloppy joes — usually for a weekend lunch option. There’s certainly some childhood nostalgia when you first bite into one of these sandwiches. The culmination of those childhood memories and the deliciousness of the bite are unbeatable.

Forbidden Rice Blog | Vegetarian Sloppy Joes (2 of 5)

Vegetarian Sloppy Joes

Serves 8


For the Ketchup:
2 6-oz cans tomato paste
1/4 cup white distilled vinegar
1 teaspoon garlic powder
2 teaspoons onion powder
1 tablespoon cane sugar
2 tablespoons molasses
1 teaspoon sea salt
3/4 teaspoon dried mustard powder
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon all-spice
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
small pinch of ground cloves
3/4 cup of water

For the Sloppy Joes:
2 tablespoons olive or canola oil
2 tubes Lightlife Gimme Lean Vegetarian Sausage
1 large green bell pepper, diced
1 medium onion, diced
1 cup water
1 full recipe of  ketchup (*see recipe below)
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
2 heaping teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon dry mustard powder
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon vegetarian worcestershire sauce
salt and freshly ground black pepper to your desire

8 large hamburger/kaiser/onion buns (really, whatever your preferred type is)
8 slices American cheese (optional)
dill pickles (for serving)

Forbidden Rice Blog | Vegetarian Sloppy Joes (4 of 5)


Make the ketchup: place all of the ingredients in bowl and whisk until thoroughly combined. Refrigerate at least one hour to let the flavors come together.

Make the sloppy joes: Heat the oil in a large pot over medium-high. Once the oil is hot, crumble the Gimme Lean into the pot. Continue cooking until nicely browned, stirring frequently, breaking the larger chunks up.

Add in the green peppers and onions. Stir, and then add the 1 cup water, the ketchup and garlic. Stir to combine, and then add the brown sugar, chili powder, dry mustard, red pepper flakes, cumin, worcestershire, salt and pepper to taste. Stir to combine, and then cover and simmer over medium-low heat, another 20-30 minutes.

To serve, either steam or lightly toast the buns, open-faced. (I prefer steamed!) Add a slice of cheese if you’d like, then spoon a generous amount of the veggie-meat mixture onto the bottom roll. Top with the other bun and enjoy immediately, served alongside a crisp dill pickle (just do it).

Forbidden Rice Blog | Vegetarian Sloppy Joes (5 of 5)

Forbidden Rice Blog | Vegetarian Sloppy Joes (1 of 5)

Meatless Meatball Subs

Forbidden Rice Blog | Meatless Meatball Subs (6 of 8)

During my first year of college, I lived in the dorms, which meant sharing an 11′ x 17′ living space with my roommate, on a floor made up of twelve rooms, filled with all ‘honor student’ females. Our floor also contained a kitchen — not a common commodity in these dormitories!  Dorm-livin’ meant cafeteria-eatin’ and there were many occasions in which the cafeteria dinner options sounded beyond unappetizing. Cereal or frozen yogurt seemed the most viable options. I didn’t cook in those days of dorm living. Unless you consider saimin (Top Ramen) cooking, which, at 15 cents a piece was doable on my student budget.

However, it turned out my friend Oliva across the hall was an excellent cook — her dad being a chef and all. If we purchased the ingredients, she was often more than obliging in cooking a delicious meal (granted we share the meal with her, too — understandable!).

I remember meatball subs being something I hadn’t eaten before, but one evening when ruminating over grumbling stomachs of what should we have for dinner? Olivia very matter-of-factly said “MEATBALL SANDWICHES.” When Olivia had an opinion on what was going to be cooked and eaten, you were better off just going with that (the alternatives being a mad dash across the street to 7-11 for lord knows what, or a run uphill to the cafeteria, just in case they may still be open, or let’s be real – vending machine pop tarts and Pepsi for dinner). So that’s what we had. Soft pillowy hoagie rolls, filled with homemade meatballs, marinara sauce and cheese. A fork-and-knife type of sandwich, but delicious.

This version isn’t what we had in those days. The ‘meatballs’ are entirely vegetarian, the sauce is homemade and filled with flavor. The fork and knife are optional, but probably helpful.

Forbidden Rice Blog | Meatless Meatball Subs (4 of 8)

Meatless Meatball Subs

Yields 6 very hefty sub sandwiches.


For the marinara sauce:
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 medium sized bell pepper, diced
6 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 pound crimini mushrooms, diced
1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes (with juice)
1 6-ounce can tomato paste
1/2 teaspoon sugar
2 teaspoons dried basil
generous amount of black pepper
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup freshly minced parsley

For the meatless meatballs:
2 14-ounce tubes Lightlife’s Sausage-Style Gimme Lean
1 medium onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 cup Italian breadcrumbs
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon liquid smoke
4 tablespoons COLD butter
olive oil

For the subs:
6 hoagie style rolls
3 tablespoons butter, melted
1 teaspoon granulated garlic
16 ounces fresh mozzarella, sliced into pieces about 1/4-inch thick
1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese
6-8 fresh basil leaves, julienned

Forbidden Rice Blog | Meatless Meatball Subs (7 of 8)


Make the sauce:
Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium-high. Add the onion, bell pepper and garlic, then sauté until the onion is very soft (8 to 10 minutes).

Add the mushrooms and sauté 2-3 minutes, just until the mushrooms slightly soften. Add tomatoes, tomato paste, sugar, basil, black pepper, oregano, thyme, and salt. Bring to a boil, then lower heat and simmer, partially covered, for 45-60 minutes. Stir in the fresh parsley at the last minute.

Forbidden Rice Blog | Meatless Meatball Subs (1 of 8)

Make the meatballs while the sauce cooks:

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly oil a rimmed baking sheet. Set aside until needed.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the Gimme Lean, onion, garlic, breadcrumbs, salt, pepper, eggs and liquid smoke. Use a box grater to grate the cold butter into the mixture. Using your hands (if you prefer a spoon that’s fine, but your hands make this easier!), mix together the mixture until well combined.

Scoop about 2 tablespoons of mixture and use your hands to roll it into a ball. Place on the greased baking sheet. Continue doing this until all the mixture has been used up, spacing the veggie meatballs about 1-inch apart on the baking sheet. Bake for 30 minutes (turning once halfway through), or until the meatballs are nicely crisp and browned on the outsides.

Forbidden Rice Blog | Meatless Meatball Subs (2 of 8)

Make your subs:

Turn your oven on its broil setting.

Mix together the 3 tablespoons melted butter and granulated garlic in a small dish.

Split the hoagie rolls in half lengthwise, being careful to try and keep one side intact. Brush the butter/garlic mixture on the split sides of the hoagie rolls. Place on a baking sheet, buttered side-up. Once all the rolls have been buttered, place under your broiler, watching carefully, until the bread is toasted to just-golden-brown in color.

Remove from the oven and spoon about 2 tablespoons of the sauce on each hoagie. Arrange 4 meatballs on each hoagie, followed by 3-4 more tablespoons of sauce. Top with pieces of mozzarella (as much or as little as you prefer), and a sprinkle of parmesan cheese.

Return the subs to the oven, under the broiler, again watching closely so your sandwiches don’t burn. Broil until the cheese melts. Remove from the oven and sprinkle a bit of fresh julienned basil over each sandwich.

Serve immediately and enjoy!

Forbidden Rice Blog | Meatless Meatball Subs (8 of 8)

Forbidden Rice Blog | Meatless Meatball Subs (3 of 8)

Forbidden Rice Blog | Meatless Meatball Subs (5 of 8)

The Top 15 Posts of 2015


To say so long to 2015, here’s a quick roundup of this little blog’s most popular recipes throughout the year!  Thank you all for your continued support of this endeavor. May the new year be filled with new recipes, full bellies, copious amounts of laughter and some new adventures in this blog space! Happy End-of-2015!


Top 15 Posts in 2015

Forbidden Rice Blog | Top 15 of 2015

#15:   Vegan Chicken and Herb Dumplings

Forbidden Rice Blog | Top 15 of 2015

#14:  Creamy Jalapeño Mac and Cheese

Forbidden Rice Blog | Top 15 of 2015

#13:   Creamy Sweet Corn Risotto

Forbidden Rice Blog | Top 15 of 2015

#12:  Chocolate Ice Cream

Forbidden Rice Blog | Top 15 of 2015

#11:  Ethiopian Mesir Wat

Forbidden Rice Blog | Top 15 of 2015

#10:  Panko Crusted Tempura Shrimp

Forbidden Rice Blog | Top 15 of 2015

#9:  Homemade Falafels

Forbidden Rice Blog | Top 15 of 2015

#8:  Malted Waffles

Forbidden Rice Blog | Top 15 of 2015

#7:  Barbecue “Pulled” Seitan

Forbidden Rice Blog | Top 15 of 2015

#6:  Cowboy Caviar

Forbidden Rice Blog | Top 15 of 2015

#5:  Lavender Vanilla Bourbon Cocktail


#4:  Miso Mushroom Ramen with Vegetarian Wontons and Crispy Tofu


#3:  Purple Sweet Potato Pie

Forbidden Rice Blog | Top 15 of 2015

#2:  Baked Barbecue Panko Tofu
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#1:  Leo’s Limoncello


Happiest New Year to YOU!

Meatless Monday: General Tso’s Quorn Chik’n

Forbidden Rice Blog | General Tso's Quorn Chik'n (5 of 7)

Having never eaten General Tso’s chicken, it would seem kind of silly to decide to cook such a thing on a whim. However… rule number one in Julie’s kitchen: have no fear and jump right in.

So what the heck is this dish? Basically, it’s pieces of breaded and fried chicken, covered in a slightly sweet, slightly spicy sauce. It’s found in numerous Asian restaurants, though its origins are in Taiwan. If you want to read a more in depth explanation, check this out.

While everything I cook at home is vegetarian (with the exception of fish), every now and then I do miss cooking/eating chicken. One of the most realistic chicken-like alternatives I’ve found is Quorn Chik’n. Generally I just cook it as I would real chicken. This dish is pretty simple to throw together. We enjoyed it with veggie fried rice, but you could serve it with plain steamed rice or noodles.

Forbidden Rice Blog | General Tso's Quorn Chik'n (7 of 7)

General Tso’s Quorn Chik’n

Serves 6 or so.


For the Chik’n marinade:
1 egg white
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 tablespoons vodka
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1 1/2 packages Quorn chik’n tenders

For the dry coating:
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

For the sauce:
3 tablespoons soy sauce
4 tablespoons rice vinegar
3 tablespoons vegetable broth
4 tablespoons light brown sugar
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 teaspoons olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh minced garlic
2 tablespoons fresh grated ginger
1/2 teaspoon red chili flakes
2 tablespoons chopped chives

1 1/4 quart sunflower or peanut oil
1 cup fresh pineapple, cubed (optional)

Forbidden Rice Blog | General Tso's Quorn Chik'n (2 of 7)


Beat egg white in a large bowl until lightly foamy. Add soy sauce, rice vinegar and vodka. Whisk to combine. Set aside half of marinade in a small bowl. Add baking soda and corn starch to the large bowl and whisk to combine. Add the Quorn Chik’n to the large bowl and turn to coat thoroughly. Cover and set aside.

Combine flour, corn starch, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. Whisk until well combined then add the reserved marinade, mixing just until mixture has coarse, mealy clumps. Set aside.

To make the sauce combine soy sauce, wine, vinegar, chicken stock, sugar, sesame seed oil, and cornstarch in a small bowl and stir with a fork until cornstarch is dissolved and no lumps remain. Set aside.

Combine the oil, garlic, ginger, red chili flakes in a large skillet and place over medium heat. Cook, stirring, until vegetables are aromatic and soft, but not brown. Stir sauce mixture and add to skillet. Cook, stirring, until sauce boils and thickens, about 1 minute. Add scallions. Transfer sauce to a bowl to stop cooking, but don’t wipe out your skillet.

Heat the sunflower or peanut oil in a large wok or Dutch oven to 350°F. Transfer the chik’n from the marinade to dry coat mixture, tossing in between each addition to coat chik’n. Once all the Quorn chik’n is added to the dry coat ingredients, toss with your hands, pressing dry mixture onto the chik’n so it adheres, making sure that every piece is coated thoroughly.

Shake off excess coating and carefully lower the flour-coated chik’n into the hot oil, one piece at a time. Once all chicken is added, cook, stirring around until the chik’n is cooked through and very crispy, about 4 minutes. Transfe to a paper towel-lined bowl to drain any excess oil.

Add the chink’n to the empty sauce skillet and return the sauce to the skillet. Toss chik’n, folding it with a rubber spatula until all pieces are thoroughly coated. Fold in the fresh pineapple if you’re using it. Serve immediately with rice.

Forbidden Rice Blog | General Tso's Quorn Chik'n (1 of 7)

Forbidden Rice Blog | General Tso's Quorn Chik'n (3 of 7)

Forbidden Rice Blog | General Tso's Quorn Chik'n (6 of 7)

Meatless Monday: Breaded Chik’n Cutlets with Heirloom Tomatoes and Feta

Forbidden Rice Blog: Breaded Chik'n Cutlets with Heirloom Tomatoes and Feta | Quorn

One of my favorite vegetarian meat alternative companies is Quorn. The flavor and texture similarity to chicken was what first attracted me to their products. Whenever I am cooking something with Quorn, I often treat it the same way I would’ve cooked chicken years ago.

One of my other favorite things to cook with is summertime produce this time of year. We’ve been out of town frequently and my humble little garden has suffered the effects of neglect. I don’t know how much produce I’ll eventually wind up with, but likely not nearly as much as the last few years. Fortunately I live in a little Oregon valley where the fresh produce is still plentiful and easy to come by.

I had a dish similar to this recently, except it was actual chicken. I immediately knew I wanted to figure out a vegetarian version ASAP. So… I did. While you can get already breaded Quorn Chik’n patties or cutlets (which are also filled with various ingredients like cheese, or garlic and herbs), I decided to get the “naked” cutlets and bread them myself (you get 4 cutlets in that box versus 2 in the already breaded varieties). You can add more or less tomatoes if you prefer, depending on the size of heirlooms you find!

Forbidden Rice Blog: Breaded Chik'n Cutlets with Heirloom Tomatoes and Feta | Quorn

Breaded Chik’n Cutlets with Heirloom Tomatoes and Feta

Serves roughly 8-12 folks.

3 boxes of Quorn Naked Chik’n Cutlets
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon granulated garlic
2 tablespoons Italian seasoning
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 cup milk
2 eggs
6 ounces panko bread crumbs
enough oil to coat a deep pan about 1-inch deep
3 large heirloom tomatoes (whatever color/variety you prefer), diced bite-size
one 8-ounce block feta, cut into bite-size cubes
4-ounces goat cheese, crumbled
1/2 cup packed basil leaves, chopped
lemon wedges, for serving

Forbidden Rice Blog: Breaded Chik'n Cutlets with Heirloom Tomatoes and Feta | Quorn


Thaw the chik’n cutlets fully. In a small bowl, mix together the salt, garlic, Italian seasoning, pepper and coriander. Heat the oil in a large, flat-bottomed pan over medium-high. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F.

Whisk together the milk, eggs, and 1/3 of the seasoning mixture in a dish. In another dish, mix together the bread crumbs and remaining seasoning.

Dip each fully-thawed Quorn cutlet first in the egg-milk mixture, coating both sides. Then dip in the bread crumb mixture, again coating both sides. Fry in the heated oil until golden brown on both sides.

Place the fried cutlet on a large baking sheet that has raised sides. Continue until all the cutlets have been breaded and fried, arranging them in a single layer on the baking sheet.

Top the cutlets with the diced tomatoes, feta, and crumbled goat cheese. Bake for 8-10 minutes, until the feta softens, tomatoes are heated through and the goat cheese melts. Remove from the oven, sprinkle with the chopped feta, and serve immediately with lemon wedges to squeeze over individual portions.

Forbidden Rice Blog: Breaded Chik'n Cutlets with Heirloom Tomatoes and Feta | Quorn

Forbidden Rice Blog: Breaded Chik'n Cutlets with Heirloom Tomatoes and Feta | Quorn

Forbidden Rice Blog: Breaded Chik'n Cutlets with Heirloom Tomatoes and Feta | Quorn

Forbidden Rice Blog: Breaded Chik'n Cutlets with Heirloom Tomatoes and Feta | Quorn

Forbidden Rice Blog: Breaded Chik'n Cutlets with Heirloom Tomatoes and Feta | Quorn