I would first like to state that I have no knowledge of what Taco Bell uses as meat filler. My best guess is that they are using the same type of soy-based meat-substitute that I make for my family on “taco night.” More on that bit of sadness later. Saving money is the obvious motivation for Taco Bell not to use locally grown, grass fed beef, which I hope the consumer would prefer. I will leave the actual research on this topic to John, since he deserves his due as a serious, thought-provoking Investigative Journalist. Kind of the Hunter S. Thompson of the food universe…
I’m more of a satirist, which is to say I write humor that no one laughs at. What follows is what passes as taco night at my house, due to my having (voluntarily) married a vegetarian. Whether this recipe inspires laughter or pity is up to you. Just remember that quite often it is served with a margarita, which makes anything better.
Thus begins another new segment on Epic Portions (BTW – we are now up to 1,478 “new segments”) called: Six Minute Meals: Jeremy’s Forced Vegetarian Dinners. Simple, nutritious, affordable, and edible.
Jeremy’s Super-Delicious Soy Based Vegetarian Meat Filler Tacos
1. Buy one bag of Morningstar Farms Grillers fake ground beef. If something else catches your eye, like Boca, go for it. It’s soy. Your palate is already crying at this point…
2. Buy a packet of Old El Paso Hot n Spicy Taco Seasoning.
3. Purchase a yellow pepper, an orange pepper, and two jalapenos. Julienne the onion and peppers (in other words cut into long strips that would fit nicely on a taco) then sauté the peppers, onions, and jalapenos (save a dash of the Old El Paso Seasoning for the veggies)—stir in seasoning as veggies begin to soften. One other note: Do not, under any circumstances, remove the seeds or membrane from the jalapenos. If you are going to eat soy based meat filler, ADD HEAT—you will need make your food exciting.
4. In a separate pan (use non-stick or you will have regrets), dump the contents of the Bag o’ Meat Filler into the pan with an already hot tablespoon of vegetable oil. Stir off and on until Soy Based Meat Substitute has begun to soften, about 3 minutes. When it does, add half the packet of seasoning and stir. In another minute, add the rest of the seasoning packet (save the portion you mixed in with your vegetables). Stir and let cook another minute or two, and take comfort in the fact that you don’t need to use a meat thermometer. Remove seasoned soy from pan. Be sure to save the rendered soy-ey goodness on the bottom of the pan. Deglaze with a bottle of Boone’s Farm and serve to someone you do not like.
5. You will also need: Tortillas, vegetarian refried beans, shredded cheese of your preference, lettuce, salsa of your choice, and any other taco fixins that make you happy.
6. Assemble tacos. Eat. Be a little surprised that they are pretty good. Not great, but good. And it is healthy. There is always that.
For what it is worth my seven year old son loves taco night. I even call it fake ground beef when I buy it and am cooking it. Which means if you are in my house on taco night, you will hear me say “I’m going to make the fake ground beef now.” Doesn’t bother him a bit. Me, on the other hand…
So give fake soy substitute meat filler a chance, if you want. At least you won’t have to face the fear of every father who cooks for his family: making your entire family ill with food poisoning. Just remember to wash your hands.