I have a confession to make to you, Man Cave Daily readers: I’m a vegetarian. I started experimenting with it when I was young, and before I knew it, I had a whole folder on my computer dedicated to tofu recipes. I labeled it “Porn” so no one would know what it really was.
But it’s time we vegetarians shake the bad wrap we’ve gotten once and for all. Sure, we’re not much help in a hot dog eating contest, but our grilled cheese game is spot on. So instead of sponsoring us, here are three recipes to let that special vegetarian in your life know that you care.
This recipe banks on the four most beautiful words to anyone who’s cut out animal products from their diet: “Deep frying is vegan.” I’ll use onion rings as an example here, but really, the star of this recipe is the batter, which you can use on just about everything that doesn’t need a dry batter — broccoli, carrots, potatoes, cheese, Oreos, paperclips, old socks, most breeds of cats. Fun fact: vegetarians can eat cats as long as that cat was a total dick while it was alive.
- Large onions (or whatever else you want to dunk in hot oil)
- Vegetable oil for frying (something with a high smoke point – sunflower, safflower, or canola work best)
- Light-colored beer
- Rice flour
- Garlic powder (optional)
- Any other spices you want to add
Dump enough oil to deep fry everything into a pot and heat it to about 400 degrees. It’s the right temperature when you can toss in a ½ inch cube of bread and it’ll take about a minute to get golden crispy. Don’t try to guess the temperature of the oil by sticking your finger in it! I definitely do not know that from experience.
While the oil’s heating up, whisk equal parts rice flour and beer until smooth. Add in some salt, a pinch of garlic powder, cayenne pepper, any other little powders you think taste good. Let sit at room temperature for 10 minutes.
Cut the onion long-ways into ¼ inch thick slices and pull out the most onion ring-shaped rings. Dip them in the batter, making sure they’re completely covered and letting the excess batter drip off, and then carefully place them in the oil. Flip them over once the bottoms are golden brown, then take them out when they look done (about 3-5 minutes). Try not to eat them until they’ve cooled a bit, which is a ridiculous instruction because what sane human can resist a fresh onion ring for that long. Dip it in the world’s best dipping sauce (2 parts ketchup, 2 parts ranch dressing, 1 part sriracha).
Also known as pearl couscous, Israeli couscous is the most delicious ingredient you’ve never heard of. Unlike traditional couscous, this stuff is sort of like Dippin’ Dots-shaped pasta, and it goes with everything.
- A box of Israeli/pearl couscous
- A couple of cloves of garlic, minced
- A small onion, diced
- Olive oil
- Whatever you want to put in it – I like a Mediterranean vibe with olives, feta, sundried tomatoes, and spinach, but let your imagination run wild
Put a big pot on the stove on medium heat and drizzle some olive oil in the bottom. Add the garlic and onion and stir occasionally until the garlic has just started to turn golden and the onions are translucent. Add the whole box of dry couscous and stir until the grains start to brown. Add the amount of water recommended on the box, and let it simmer covered on low heat until the water’s all absorbed. Remove it from heat, add your other ingredients, and ponder how deeply your government has failed you for never introducing you to this magic grain.
Like so many dishes, stuffed mushrooms are just a fancy way of saying “cheese vehicle.” These are very efficient at getting cheese into your body.
- 12 decent-sized whole cremini or white mushrooms
- 1 clove of garlic, minced
- A couple of tablespoons of onion, minced
- Olive oil
- 8 oz cream cheese
- Your favorite hot sauce (optional)
- Salt and pepper
- Some grated parmesan cheese
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and start warming a tablespoon or so of olive oil in a frying pan on medium heat. Wipe off the mushrooms with a damp cloth and carefully twist out the stems – you need the caps to stay intact or they’ll leak cheese everywhere, which is the opposite of what you want them to do. Cut off and throw away the woody ends of the stems, then mince up the remaining good part. Throw that into the frying pan with the garlic and onion, and sauté them until your kitchen smells amazing and the garlic is golden. Dump it all into the cream cheese, mix it up with hot sauce, salt, and pepper, then scoop the mixture into the mushroom caps until it’s level with the top of the cap. Dip it, cheese side first, into the parmesan, then bake them for about 20 minutes or until the tops start to brown and liquid has formed under the caps.
After trying these recipes, look me in the eye and tell me they would have been better with meat. And just like that, the global conspiracy headed by the livestock of the world takes a big step forward you’ve got something to serve your vegetarian date other than stale Cheetos and bourbon.