Easy, DIY, vegan ground beef! It is easy to prepare, high in protein (12.4 g per 1/4 pound!), and free of grains, gluten, soy and nuts. One batch makes about 3 pounds.
This post began life as a simple idea for a great summer burger recipe. But as I tested and tasted, I soon realized that what I was making had potential for more. So much more!
Specifically, a versatile, vegan substitute for ground beef.
How Can I Use this Plant-Based Ground Beef Recipe?
My DIY vegan ground beef can be used in just about all of your favorite dishes that call for ground beef.
(1) Brown It
Brown it in a skillet for use in casseroles, tacos, or spaghetti sauce.
(2) Make meatballs
Shape and bake it into meatballs.
(3) Make a meatloaf
Channel the 1950s and make a loaf. Don’t forget the mashed potatoes on the side!
(4) Go big with burgers
And, of course, you can make some burgers!
The seasonings the vegan ground beef are largely up to you: herbs, spices, hot sauce, add whatever suits your fancy.
Nutritional Highlights of the Vegan Ground Beef
In addition to being frugal and simple to make, this simple mix boasts all of the following attributes:
- High in protein (12.4 g per 1/4 pound)
- Very high in fiber (12.7 g per 1/4 pound)
The Ingredients for DIY Vegan Ground Beef
I add nutritional yeast, too. It adds tremendous umami flavor, as well as protein and B vitamins. If you cannot eat yeast, not to worry; leave it out (see the recipe notes for adjustments).
How to Make Vegan Ground Beef
Making this vegan ground beef is a straightforward affair. First, cook the lentils in a saucepan with enough water to cover the lentils by at least 1 inch (2.5 cm). Bring to a boil over high heat and then simmer for 10 minutes.
Prepare the Lentils
The lentils should be plumped and mostly, but not entirely, soft. They will still have some bite. Rinse and drain the lentils.
Prepare the Vegetables
Place the mushrooms and onion in the food processor bowl. Before adding the beets, first press them between layers of paper towels to remove as much excess moisture as you can (it will look like you’ve cleaned up a crime scene).
Add the blotted beets to the processor and pulse all of the vegetables until you have a very finely chopped, uniform mixture, but not a puree. Stop to scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl several times. Add to the bowl of lentils, along with the remaining ingredients.
Taste the mixture and adjust the seasonings to suit your tastes.
I chose a combination of flavors and spices (nutritional yeast, garlic powder, smoked paprika, salt, and pepper) that boost the umami flavor profile of the “meat” while still keeping the overall flavor fairly neutral. Take the flavors in whichever flavor direction you like, depending on your tastes/needs, as well as the recipe you are planning for its use.
The moisture in vegetables can vary, so adjust the flax and coconut flour as needed, too. The meat should be moist, but not wet, and should hold together easily when gathered together into a small ball or patty.
This is the end result, in “raw” form:
Keep it Fat-Free or Add Some Fat
But wait, there is no fat in the recipe!
It’s true, and it is not an accident. You can keep the meat oil-free, or add the amount of fat you would like for any given recipe. For example, I like to brown the meat (1 pound/454 g) in 1 or 2 tablespoons of oil, or add the same amount for burgers, meatballs or meatloaf. It’s entirely up to you!
Use the vegan beef right away, refrigerate for several days, or freeze for future use!. I like to separate the mixture into 1 pound or half pound packages.
Oh, one more note: The meat will darken slightly (it will look even more meat-y) after a few days of refrigeration, or after freezing and thawing. Here is the same mixture after 1 day:
Enjoy your weekend, everyone!
More Easy, Plant-Based Meat Recipes to Try:
- Vegan Oat Mushroom Ground Beef
- 3-Ingredient Almond Flour Vegetable Nuggets
- Mushroom Almond Flour Ground Beef (2 ingredients)
- Vegan Lentil Taco Meat
- Lentil & Mushroom Meatballs
- Lentil & Vegetable Kefta
- Grain-Free Lentil Loaf