Rice-A-Roni and Hamburger Helper are iconic packaged food brands from the 1980s. I can’t say I’ve eaten either in over two decades but I do remember relishing family meals with these classic one-pot meals. The other night I was craving noodles and it conjured up an image of “Lefty” (also known as “Helping Hand”) the four-fingered, left-hand white glove mascot for the Hamburger Helper brand. Before cementing the idea in my mind I asked Janik if he liked Hamburger Helper (I always like each of us to have a non-vegan point of reference) but since it wasn’t a popular French Canadian staple he said he trusted me to run with this one🙂. Today I’m thrilled to share my recipe for the Ultimate Vegan Hamburger Helper.
How I’d describe this dish if I didn’t have my photographer extraordinaire husband snapping glamour shots of it:
Browned soy ground round, noodles and cheese smothered in a savoury sauce with hints of Argentinian spices (garlic, parsley, oregano & chili).
Three reasons why you should give this recipe a try:
- *Simplicity. This one-skillet dish can be prepared in under 30 minutes…perfect for a casual dinner with guests (when paired with a salad) or a no-fuss weeknight meal!
- *This recipe screams comfort food. There’s nothing like browned soy ground round seasoned with a chimichurri spice blend, noodles and shredded cheeses (a duo of mozzarella and smoked gouda) enveloped in a creamy tomato-based sauce to take you back to childhood memories with family around the table at dinner.
- *If you can take the meat out of an iconic meat-centric dish like Hamburger Helper and taste this good, anything is possible when it comes to vegan cooking 🙂.
Inquiring minds want to know:
*The “Hamburger Helper” brand was first introduced in 1971. In 2005, Food Network rated Hamburger Helper third on its list of “Top Five Fad Foods of 1970”.
*The ingredient list on a box of Hamburger HelperTM Cheeseburger Macaroni:
Ingredients: Elbow Wheat Macaroni, Corn Starch, Salt, Enriched Wheat Flour, Sugar, Modified Milk Ingredients, Tomato Powder, Onion Powder, Cheddar And Semi-Soft Cheeses, Palm Oil, Citric Acid, High Monounsaturated Vegetable Oil (Canola, Soybean And Or Sunflower), Autolyzed Yeast Extract, Garlic Powder, Annatto, Spices, Monoglycerides, Sodium Phosphate, Natural Flavour, Silicon Dioxide.
*Soy ground round is a pre-cooked soy-based crumble that can replace cooked ground meat in your favourite recipes from pasta sauces to tacos. Below is the ingredient list from a package of Yves Veggie CuisineTM Veggie Ground:
Water, soy protein product, wheat protein product, onions, natural flavours, canola oil, salt, guar gum, evaporated cane juice, malt extract (barley), caramel (colour), spices (contains mustard), yeast extract, vitamins and minerals (thiamine hydrochloride, riboflavin, niacinamide, pyridoxine hydrochloride, cyanocobalamin (B12), calcium pantothenate, reduced iron, zinc oxide, wheat starch)
Iconic meat dishes go vegan
I’m always surprised when people ask “But what can you eat?” when I tell them our family is on a plant-based diet. Any dish can be made plant-based with an open mind and creativity. Here’s a few classic meat-centric dishes with a plant-based twist:
- 1 onion, minced (110g)
- 1 garlic clove, minced(5g)
- Olive oil
- 1 340g-pkg Yves Veggie Cuisine Ground Round (or similar)
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 tsp dried parsley
- 2 tsp chimichurri spice blend (Blend of garlic, parsley, oregano & chili)
- 1 tsp Himalayan pink salt
- 1.5 cups soy milk
- 1.5 cups water (warm temperature)
- 3/4 cup strained tomato sauce
- 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tsp chimichurri spice blend (Blend of garlic, parsley, oregano & chili)
- 1/2 tsp Himalayan pink salt
- 1 lb short pasta noodles, uncooked (454g)
- 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese shreds
- 1/2 pkg Daiya Smoked Gouda Style Farmhouse Block (100g)
- 1/Add minced onion, garlic, soy ground round (or similar), smoked paprika, dried parsley, chimichurri spice blend and salt to a preheated skillet. Cook for 10-15 minutes or until the ground round is nicely browned.
- 2/Add liquids (soy milk, warm water, tomato sauce and Worcestershire sauce), chimichurri spice blend and salt to the skillet. Stir to combine.
- 3/Add pasta to the skillet ensuring it’s immersed in the liquid. Bring the mixture to a boil.
- 4/Once boiled, reduce the temperature and simmer (partially covered skillet) for 7-10 minutes or until the pasta is cooked.
- 5/With the skillet on low heat, add the cheese shreds and smoked gouda cheese (or preferred variety) to the skillet. Stir until the cheese is melted.
Follow Your Heart/Earth Island Vegenaise® Mayonnaise [Original]
Pasta Fermentata® Kaslo Sourdough Pasta [Classic-Radiatori]
Westpoint Naturals Chimichurri Spice Blend