FOOD

Munchie Monday: Vegan Chopped

Hello and Happy Monday! This past week I set up the Vegan Chopped Challenge and had two of my friends each pull two random ingredients. The four ingredients they chose were mushrooms, peas, artichoke hearts, and peanut butter. The obvious choice was to make an Asian style rice dish with a peanut sauce but I thought that would be cheating since I have made that recipe several times before. I asked a few of my co-workers what they thought and they mostly recommended Asian style dishes as they would be the easiest. However, I took the next week to mull over what to do when I got curious about something. Many vegan cheese sauces use a base of cashew but people often swap out the cashews for other nuts. My question is could you make a vegan cheese sauce with a base of peanut butter? I decided to find out by creating a vegan cheesy vegetable rice dish.

The most complicated part of this “recipe” is making the cheese sauce and that is mostly blending things together. I purchased the ingredients for the recipe and another meal for the week which was very affordable. I believe I spent a total of $28 dollars for everything which means the rice dish would be even less than that. I purchased two russet potatoes, a bag of white onions, a bag of baby carrots, all natural smooth peanut butter, vegetable stock, brown rice, a can of artichoke hearts, frozen peas, and a carton of mushrooms. Below are the main ingredients I based the recipe off of.

I used the potatoes, carrots, onions, and peanut butter as the base of the sauce and simply played with the spices I put in. I used about half the potatoes, carrots, and onions with a fourth a cup of peanut butter. I added garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, nutritional yeast, liquid smoke, salt, and pepper. At first, the peanut butter was overpowering the rest of the ingredients so I added more nutritional yeast, salt, and a little white miso paste. Eventually, it started to taste more like a cheese sauce but with a much stronger nutty undertaste than usual. I added it to some partially cooked rice with the peas and chopped artichoke hearts and mushrooms. I baked it in the oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for about 25 minutes to finish cooking all of it and then topped it with the leftover cheese.

I ate it for the first time reheated in the microwave and it was good. I enjoyed it and think it would work in a pinch if you don’t have cashews but I still think I prefer cashews as they have less of an impact on the final taste. Most people either use potatoes and carrots as a base or soaked cashews, not both but I like to combine them to add protein and healthy fats to the recipe. I think the taste of the recipe was not a problem and would work again but I always forget that vegan cheese sauce does not reheat like normal cheese. It is more of a dry consistency especially if you reheat it. If there was a way to reheat it with more of a realistic cheese consistency I think I would love it. Below is a picture of a serving I took for lunch and reheated.

Let me know what you would have made with mushrooms, peas, artichoke hearts, and peanut butter!

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