Saturday, August 10, 2013

accidental italian sausage crumbles

Tastes like Italian Sausage, but a kinder and healthier version
Sometimes, the best recipes are happy accidents. This is one of them. It was one of those "hurry-up-and-use-it-up" concoctions inspired by an overabundance of CSA veggies and an about-to-expire container of bulgur [cracked wheat].

Some of the inspiration for this recipe from last week's organic CSA share.
The very vegan result tastes amazingly like crumbled Italian Sausage, thanks to the faint licorice scent of the fennel seeds, a huge bunch of fresh basil, and toothsome bulgur and steamed eggplant.

Gorgeous organic summer produce,  chopped and ready for cooking.
It's wonderful on its own, room temperature or slightly warmed and served atop a bed of greens. It would also work as a sausage substitute tossed with pasta, worked into tofu scrambles and vegan quiches, or even used in a sandwich, blanketed with mounds of melted Daiya Provolone.

Fresh organic basil - what could be better?
This recipe makes a belly-busting amount of crumbles, aka pilaf – about 8-10 servings. I've been eating it, contentedly, all week. It's packed with protein from the chickpeas, bulgur and the veggies [Yes, Virginia, plants contain protein.] I hope you like it as much as I do.

Just after adding bulgur

accidental italian sausage crumbles

  • 1 medium eggplant, cubed
  • 1 1/2 T extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large red onion, diced
  • 1 large green pepper, diced
  • 8-10 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 1 large tomato, diced
  • About 2 -2 1/2 cups vegetable broth [I recommend Better than Bouillon No Chicken Base ]
  • 2 cups bulgur
  • 2 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1 large bunch of basil, finely chopped [about 1 1/2 cups]
  • 1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
Serves 8-10

Place the eggplant in a colander, sprinkle it with salt and let it sit for about 20-30 minutes while you are chopping the other veggies. Afterwards, rinse it, drain and steam for about 10-15 minutes or until soft. Let it cool.

Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over medium. Saute the onion for about one minute, then add pepper and garlic and saute until soft, stirring often, about 10 minutes.

Add steamed eggplant. Stir another 2-3 minutes.

Add tomato, 2 cups broth, fennel seeds and bulgur. Cover, turn heat to high and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook until all the broth is absorbed and the bulgur and veggies are all tender, about 15-20 minutes. If it starts to dry out too quickly, just add more broth, in 1/2-cup increments.

Remove from heat. Stir in basil and chickpeas. Adjust seasonings. Enjoy!

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Joey said...

I bet it tastes even better for being accidental! I love fresh basil in food - it just gives everything such a lift. It looks like great lunchbox food too said...

Wow that looks delicious and hearty! My partner hates fennel seeds (the texture...), any alternative to these seeds?