How to make a vegetarian steak

I’m very skeptical of vegetables masquerading as meat. Don’t serve me a mushroom and call it a burger. I’m not buying it. However, after a fair bit of meat consumption this weekend, I decided that a vegetarian meal was needed. I found this recipe in the latest Smitten Kitchen cookbook (which I love!) and I was pleasantly surprised with the outcome. If you’ve never checked out her blog before, I very much recommend stopping by. HERE‘s a convenient link to Smitten Kitchen!

Anyway, to make this recipe, start by preheating your oven to 400F and then combining the ingredients of your dry rub in a smallish dish. They are as follows:

  • 4 tsp packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 tsp of kosher salt
  • 1 tsp of paprika
  • 1/4 tsp of ground cumin
  • 1 tsp of onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp of garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp of spicy cayenne
  • Olive oil, as required

(I’ve included the recommended quantities from the cookbook, but I think you might benefit from doubling up on the dry rub ingredients to REALLY coat your sweet potatoes later on.)

Then, you’ll need 3 sweet potatoes (scrubbed and halved lengthwise). On each half, make cuts on a diagonal about half an inch down and about the same distance between cuts. Repeat on the opposite diagonal. Does this even make sense to you? You want it to be like a checkerboard on your sweet potato halves. This was the most labour intensive part of the recipe. Why? 1 – Sweet potatoes are a pain to cut on a good day. 2 – It’s hard to apply enough pressure to cut a sweet potato, but not so much as to cut right through to the other side. Sigh, First world problems. Rub a little olive oil on both sides of your sweet potatoes and toss them cut side down on a baking sheet. Bake them for about 15 minutes.

While your sweet potatoes are in the oven, get working on your green beans. You’ll need about a pound of green beans (trimmed). Boil or steam them for a couple of minutes, until they’re a vibrant green. As soon as they’re done, plunge them into some ice water to stop them from cooking further.

Back to your sweet potatoes. After the 15 minutes, flip them over, so the cuts are up. Brush them with some cider vinegar and add about a teaspoon of the dry rub. Toss them back in the oven for 35 minutes.

Now get to work on your slaw. Dry off your green beans and slice them on the bias into one inch pieces. Set them aside. For the dressing, combine the following:

  • 1/4 cup of mayonnaise
  • 1 tbsp of dijon mustard
  • 1 tbsp cider vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp celery seeds (optional, really)
  • salt and pepper to taste

Keep your dressing separate from your green beans until you’re ready to eat. It’ll have a wilting, soggy effect on your green beans if you combine them too soon.

When your sweet potatoes are done, plate them and top with your green bean slaw. Done.

Hassle scale: 3 out of 10. There were a few steps for this one. It felt a little time consuming, but I did enjoy the meal.  As I said, I would recommend doubling up on the dry rub to really make sure your sweet potato is fully coated and nicely spiced from the dry rub. Try it out! Let me know if you make any changes to the recipe.

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