A Vegan take on Garlic Parmesan Cabbage
Firstly, just to clarify, "vegan take" means that the take on the food is vegan, not myself. It's not "A vegan's take", it's "vegan take". I just want to clarify that so no one thinks I'm claiming to be full vegan when I am not.
I consider my diet "plant-based". And I mean that in the sense that, it is quite literally based upon plants/vegetables; and everything else comes after. I've wanted to go full vegan in the past but there are certain things I haven't been able to give up; as well as the fact I do not ALWAYS have the opportunity to eat at home, which where I live, makes veganism almost impossible. Buying vegetarian-friendly food here is itself almost impossible.
Anyways, in the past I've made a garlic parmesan cabbage dish. I am always trying my best to inch myself further and further towards veganism, so when I was looking in my fridge, refusing to go to the grocery store and telling myself I had to create something with the few items I had, I decided to sautee up my cabbage, add what vegetables I had left, and try making a more exciting, vegan version of my old dish.
Vegan Garlic "Cheese" Cabbage
I think just about anyone who uses, or has even tasted, nutritional yeast can agree on it's similarity in taste to cheese. Particularly something such as parmesan. I had both; and while looking at my parmesan, I remembered this similarity and decided I would see how it goes with nutritional yeast.
A little bit ago I purchased two bunches of asparagus when I very clearly only needed one. I don't know why I did that as I really don't eat asparagus all that often; solely because I find my usual methods of preparation time-consuming and messy; or just "a shitshow", which is how I would typically describe it. They must have been on sale where you needed a certain amount for a discount. Regardless, I hadn't been intending on using asparagus in this but I thought of the texture and thought it would actually go really well. And it did!
As is becoming my new recipe style, I will simply be telling you what I did rather than formatting this in a "you should do this" kind of way. That's because all my cooking is improvisational and meant to be altered. You can put whatever you want in this dish; vegetables, spices- anything. Even meat if you're so inclined. Just pay attention to the order in which you do so as this is a one-dish meal, and you'll want to consider the textures when thinking about what goes on the pan when.
What I used
- 1/2 head of red cabbage
- 2 carrots
- 6 cloves of garlic
- 1/2 red onion
- half a bunch of asparagus(maybe 10 stalks)
- a good chunk of ginger
- leftover cilantro(about 1/4 bunch)
- 2 TBSP olive oil
- ground black pepper
- sea salt
- red pepper flakes(maybe 1 TBSP; didn't measure)
- Merken (1 TSP? Again, didn't measure)
- 1 TSP onion powder
- 1 TSP chili powder
- 1/2 cup nutritional yeast(roughly)
- (a dash of soy sauce- optional)
You'll notice I'm a little unsure of how much of what I put in. And honestly at the moment I'm having a hard time remembering! For example; I don't necessarily even remember putting in the chili powder. But it's outside the cabinet and as I'm eating leftovers(I made this last night) I can taste it and feel the heat. So I definitely did- although everything was kind of on the fly. And that's up to you. Chili powder or no. All of it is completely up to you.
- You can chop everything before you get going or do it on the fly. I did a bit of a compromise between the two. I chopped up the items that I knew were going to be a little more time sensitive(onions, garlic, and carrots) and then started heating my oil. BUT, if you're a confident chopper; I'd say step one is put that oil in your pan and put it on some heat!
- I sliced my red onion into medium-thickness slices. My cooking apparatus is rather narrow and I had a fair amount of cabbage so I figured I'd play it on the safe side in case some things stayed on the bottom too long throughout the process. I also cut my garlic into decently sized chunks- still "diced", but a more lenient "diced". Ditto for the ginger. For the carrots, I peeled as much as I had the patience for and then made the remainder into sticks; and maybe shoved some into my mouth because I got tired of peeling them.
- (3) At this point my oil was hot and I felt like I had avoided the time sensitive stuff. I put in my onions for a few minutes and then added my garlic. I kept those movin around the pan for a few minutes; until the garlic was aromatic and the onions were beginning to become more translucent. I then threw my carrots in and got started on my asparagus.
- (4) I wanted to get the asparagus in there somewhat early because I tend to like a nice, softened asparagus. My usual method is roasting in the oven, and adding it to sautees is not something I do frequently. So I was a little nervous about this part and threw it in as soon as I had it chopped into ~1-inch(2.5 cm) pieces. I continued to stir and tried to separate that pesky mess you get with peeled carrots.
- (5) I tried to get the pieces of asparagus a little closer to the heat and the carrot ribbons more towards the top. In hindsight, maybe I should have thrown in the carrot "sticks" first, and the ribbons after. But, in terms of taste, with this dish I have no regrets. So let it fly.
- (6) While the pan was continuing to cook, I got to work slicing my cabbage. I threw slices of the "heart" right in there and tried to keep them on the heat as well; and they honestly turned out to be one of the best parts of the dish. After splitting my attention between stirring the already-cooking ingredients and cutting the cabbage, I threw it all in there and continued my efforts of mixing it all together in my too-small pan and separating the carrot tangle.
- (7) After I mixed it up pretty good, I threw in my red pepper flakes, my spices- minus the yeast. I chopped up my cilantro and threw it in, and mixed that all together. I continued to let it cook, stirring often and trying to keep the cabbage hearts flat-based on the bottom. Throughout the process I continually would try different pieces to judge the texture; mainly the cabbage. Everything else had achieved a near-perfect, mouth watering taste and texture; so it was now just up to the cabbage.
- (8) Once you're satisfied with the cooking level of your vegetables, turn off the stove. Add your nutritional yeast-however much you want! Mix it in as well as possible(remember it doesn't have that "melt" feature that parmesan (kind-of) does) and remove the pan from heat. Shovel a portion into a bowl and chow down!!
This was a total improv recipe and I'm really happy about the way it came out. Now, I wasn't doing this for aesthetics and I think my nutritional yeast method exemplifies that. It is, of course, a rather dry condiment; so it doesn't really "blend" into the vegetables the way in which something like parmesan does. I would like to try mixing the yeast with some sort of oil or vinegar in the future; we'll see if I ever do.
I ended up eating one bowl with a touch of soy sauce.. after the cooking process, of course. I wasn't sure if that would improve or ruin it. It turned out to really improve it, in my opinion; but also, I'm weird, so use your judgement on that one.
So there you have it. Herbert tries to cook vegan, yet again. I love how much this community has inspired me to eat better- honestly without the motivation and incentive to record my recipes(and even make a little money off of it), I'd probably be eating frozen pizzas and pre-made salads. Or shitty sandwiches. I truly love cooking but I get lazy and I always make a tremendous mess. But lately my fridge has never looked better :)
Hope you all are having a lovely weekend!! Happy Hive-in' <3