Has Beyond Beef finally created the perfect plant-based ground beef?
This was my first time using Beyond Beef, but I already think it is clearly superior to the Fool a Carnivore: Meaty Main Dishes . . . Minus the Meat.product that I used in my Mini Meat Loaves recipe in
Beyond Beef has the look (and feel) of ground beef – right down to the tiny white flecks (from coconut oil and cocoa butter) which look like marbled fat in ground beef!
Nutritionally, Beyond Beef is remarkably close to ground beef in terms of calorie count and protein, but its protein comes from plants: peas, mung beans, and rice . . . not cows.
Plant-based protein (or Meatless Meat, like some of the haters like to call it)* is a game changer for anyone who makes a conscious decision not to eat meat. For someone like me, who swore off meat over 40 years ago, it was always challenging to eat enough protein. Sure, I like tofu and tempeh, but I don’t want to eat too much soy. I have lived by books that promote complementary protein (like Frances Moore Lappe’s seminal work, Diet for a Small Planet), which involves combining different protein sources with complementary incomplete essential amino acid patterns to create the same kind of “complete” protein that carnivores obtain from eating animal protein.
But, even though I am a huge fan of rice and beans, the reality is that I would need to eat a full cup of each (so 16 ounces total) in order to get 20 grams of protein – the same amount of protein in just 4 ounces of Beyond Beef.
In case you want to do the math:
8 ounces of cooked black beans has about 15 grams of protein or 227 calories +
8 ounces of cooked long grain brown rice has about 5 grams of protein or 216 calories =
20 grams of protein and 427 calories.
In contrast, 4 ounces of Beyond Beef contains 20 grams of protein and 250 calories.
For me, as a woman who is relatively small in stature (I’m 5’5″ and weigh 120 lbs), eating 16 ounces of anything at one meal is pretty tough to do. Most evenings I eat a portion of protein that is 3-4 ounces protein – or about the size of a deck of cards, along with veggies and a salad.
Using the nifty protein needs calculator on the useful website Verywell Fit, a woman of my size and age who exercises moderately every day, needs to burn about 1698 calories per day in order to maintain her current weight. Since I work out moderately for at least an hour every day (walking, swimming, or weight lifting), the calculators say that I need about 50-60 grams of protein per day in order to maintain my lean body mass.
Before the advent of plant-based protein products, I found it difficult to eat sufficient amounts of complementary plant proteins without consuming too many calories (or resorting to dairy, eggs, and occasionally fish or seafood to supplement my protein needs).
That’s why I think plant-based protein products are getting a bad rap. For those of us who don’t want to consume animal flesh, products like Beyond Beef provide alternative ways for us to meet our protein needs, while also allowing us to create meals that look remarkably like the foods that my carnivores enjoy eating.
Anyway . . . I’ll get off my soapbox and get back to the recipe!
I used my Fool a Carnivore Mini Meat Loaves recipe as a base for creating a new recipe with Beyond Beef, but decided to use oatmeal instead of bread or cracker crumbs because oatmeal seemed like a gluten-free alternative I should explore.
Here’s how the meatloaf mixture looked (uncooked) packed into my small loaf pan . . .
and once I added my ketchup-based topping.
I served the meatloaf slices with baked organic sweet potatoes and steamed organic broccoli . . . but my problem in the photo below was that I got impatient and didn’t let the meatloaf cool long enough in the pan before slicing! Mea culpa!
Although the meatloaf’s flavor profile was solid, the oatmeal I used as a binder gave it a less than meaty look than I had hoped for. So, as soon as I can get my hands on another pound of Beyond Beef, I’m going to try this recipe again, using bread or cracker crumbs like I did in my original recipe. Or perhaps, I’ll use the Beyond Beef to make my delicious. Either way . . . please stay tuned!
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 small onion, minced
- 1 celery stalk, minced
- 2-3 Baby Bella or cremini mushrooms, diced (about ½ cup)
- 2-3 cloves garlic, pressed
- 1 teaspoon creole seasoning (My Spice Sage makes a great blend with oregano, thyme, black pepper, red pepper, garlic powder, ground celery seed, and paprika)
- 1 lb. Beyond Beef
- 1 egg (or 1 tablespoon egg replacer and ¼ cup water)
- 1 tablespoon vegan Worcestershire sauce
- 1½ teaspoon tomato paste
- ½ teaspoon dried thyme
- 2 tablespoons unbleached white flour (gluten-free flour is fine to use, too)
- Several grinds of black pepper
- Several grinds of sea salt
- ⅔ cup organic ketchup
- 2 tablespooons brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 2 tablespoon organic apple cider vinegar
- Several grinds of black pepper
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray a small loaf pan with non-stick spray.
- Heat a medium non-stick skillet. Put olive oil in the skillet, and sauté the minced onion until translucent. Add the minced celery, followed by the mushrooms and garlic. Add the creole seasoning and mix in well. Turn off heat and set aside to cool.
- In a large bowl, beat the egg (or egg replacer and water), and then mix in the Beyond Beef, dried oats, Worcestershire sauce, tomato paste, flour, thyme, flour, black pepper and salt.
- Add the cooled, sautéed vegetables. Mix well and put the mixture in the prepared loaf pan.
- Mix the topping ingredients in a small bowl. Spread about half the topping over the top of the meatloaf and reserve the balance for serving.
- Bake the meatloaf for 40 minutes. Cool for at least 10-15 minutes on a wire rack, before slicing and serving with baked sweet potatoes and steamed broccoli.
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