Feature Recipe | Ultimate Vegan Hamburger Helper
Take my word for it….a quick description to tease your palette:
Browned soy ground round, noodles and cheese smothered in a savoury sauce with a hint of smokiness and kick of lively Argentinian-inspired spices.
Why this recipe:
Hamburger Helper – an iconic packaged food brand from the 1980s – was one of those meals I always looked forward to as a kid. After all who doesn’t like pasta, browned ground beef, water and milk paired with powdered sauce and seasonings…
no judgment please. It was the 80s LOL. A look at the ingredients listed on a box of Hamburger Helper certainly doesn’t do much to trigger any nostalgic feelings – and this is the list without any ground beef or milk:
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.
This updated, plant-based version of the original Hamburger Helper is a hit in our family. The chimichurri spice blend –typically used in Argentinian cuisine as a seasoning or garnish for grilled meat — is a twist on the classic recipe that gives it a bright and lively dimension with a kick of heat.
A helping hand:
I try to use whole, unprocessed foods as much as possible, but I’m also mindful that ready-made ingredients can go a long way toward making cooking EASY and SIMPLE. This recipe calls for ready made mozzarella cheese shreds and Daiya smoked gouda cheese. The fusion of Chimichurri spice blend and smoked gouda are a dynamite duo you don’t want to miss!
Get inspired with these Vegan Rhapsody favourites:
With so many meat alternatives available – from lentils to grains and tofu – there’s always a way to SKIP THE MEAT. Check out these classic meat-centric dishes with a plant-based twist:
- Olive oil
- 1 onion, minced
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- Pinch of Himalayan pink salt
- 1 340g-pkg Yves Veggie Cuisine Ground Round (or similar)
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 tsp dried parsley
- 2 tsp prepared chimichurri spice blend (see Recipe Notes)
- 1 tsp Himalayan pink salt
- 1.5 cups soy milk
- 1.5 cups warm water
- 3/4 cup strained tomato sauce
- 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tsp prepared chimichurri spice blend (see Recipe Notes)
- 1/2 tsp Himalayan pink salt
This & That:
- 1 lb short pasta noodles, uncooked
- 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese shreds
- 1/2 pkg Daiya Smoked Gouda Style Farmhouse Block, grated
1/Add a glug of olive oil to a skillet on medium-low heat. Toss in minced onion, minced garlic and a pinch of salt. Sauté for a few minutes until fragrant.
2/Add soy ground round (or similar), dry spices (smoked paprika, dried parsley, 2 tsp chimichurri spice blend) and salt to the skillet. Cook for 10-15 minutes on medium heat or until the ground round is nicely browned.
1/Add liquids (soy milk, warm water, tomato sauce and Worcestershire sauce), 1 tsp chimichurri spice blend and salt to the skillet. Stir to combine.
2/Add uncooked pasta to the skillet ensuring it’s immersed in the liquid. Increase skillet temperature to medium-high heat.
3/Once the mixture reaches boiling point reduce the temperature and simmer (partially covered skillet) for 7-10 minutes or until the pasta is cooked.
4/With the skillet on low heat sprinkle cheese shreds and smoked gouda cheese (or preferred variety) to the skillet. Stir until the cheese is melted.
Pair with a side salad (or soup) for a deliciously simple meal. Shake a little extra chimichurri spice blend over the Hamburger Helper for an added kick of flavour!
As with many regional spice blends there are hundreds of variations of Chimichurri. I used the blend from Westpoint Naturals which includes garlic, parsley, oregano and chili.