I Eat Food, Don’t You?
I think it’s rather hilarious when people ask me, “So, you’re Vegan? What do you eat?” I find it funny because I’m still a human being and, yes, I do still eat food! I probably just eat more of it than the average person. My candid response to this question is always, “I eat everything you eat, just more of it.” So, someone has a little side of broccoli, I have a bowl of it. If someone’s eating mashed potatoes with fried chicken, guess what? I eat that shit TOO! The misconception is that eating plant based is just not exciting because you’ll miss out on all of those traditional eats that typically are made with animal product. And while yes, you can’t replicate everything, you can definitely replace 90% of it. What you’ll find along the way is a discovery to new ingredients and a more exciting flavor profile that pushes the boundaries of your taste buds.
Plant Based Goodness
So let’s take a very traditional, fried chicken with mashed potatoes dish, and Veganize it. Easy! It’s already 50% Vegan because potatoes are plants!
For the chicken, there are so many alternatives out there that are excellent. For this recipe, I’ve chosen to feature Gardein 7 Grain Crispy Tenders, which primarily consist of soy and wheat protein.
You can easily find Gardein at your local Safeway or Target. It’s THAT accessible and it’s really easy to make crispy in the oven with minimal attention.
In this post, we’ll primarily focus on the mashed potatoes and the Gardein chicken. There are two other parts to this meal that I’ve posted here:
To make this meal quicker, you can make the gravy the day before and keep that in the fridge ready to go for this meal, or tackle this as the first step to this meal as the gravy will take about 45 minutes to make. For the Kale, it’ll be best to get that done prior to everything here, as a veggie dish can easily be reheated before serving. Don’t feel like you need to do too much at one time!
We’ll begin with getting our potatoes into boiling water. If you cut potatoes into quarters, boiling them to be the right consistency should only take 10-12 minutes. To check on potato readiness, just stick a fork in it and make sure it comes out easily. The potato may even break apart and that will let you know we’re ready to mash! Just strain and drop into a mixing bowl.
We’ll begin with mashing the potatoes using a little bit of coconut creamer and garlic butter.
I use Trader Joe’s coconut creamer as it gives the mashed potatoes a really creamy texture. For the garlic butter, I always lean on Miyoko’s butter. Just chop up three cloves of garlic and place into a bowl with 2 tbsp of butter.
We’ll microwave this for 30 seconds to extract the garlic flavors and melt the butter. Then drop it into the mashed potatoes and keep on mashing!
For the final step, we’ll need around 1/2 tsp of truffle salt. This is such an important ingredient because it gives the mashed potatoes that special savory flavor we all love! When the mashing is done, just put them aside or keep them in a warm environment. If your oven is going for the crispy tenders, you can keep the mashed potatoes on top of the oven in a glass bowl.
Gardein Crispy Tenders…Just killin’ the game.
For the Gardein Chicken, start cooking this while you’re waiting for your mashed potatoes to boil. It will take around 15-17 minutes at 420 degrees, to get these bad boys nice and crispy.
For non-stick convenience lay them on some silicone baking sheets. These things are great for most toaster ovens, so if you typically use foil or hate to clean the oven pans every time you make something, these will be life savers.
As a quick side note, I have to talk about my Breville oven because I love it so damn much. I probably use my Breville oven twice per day and if you’re looking for a seriously versatile, well built convection oven, this would be my recommendation to get these tenders perfectly crisp!
Finally, we’re ready to plate! You’ll want to get some flat leaf parsley and sprinkle that all over for a nice herby freshness.
Then it’s graaaaavy time!
What’s the difference between a plant based version of this dish vs. using meat? Well, I’m hoping the answer is, “Not much!” Aside from just being healthier for you by reducing your cholesterol intake and eating ethically, this dish should be just as flavorful to keep up with that soul food goodness, we all love.
Hope you enjoy this hearty meal!