Several years of meatless Lents has yielded some delicious meals, and some that are ... lacking. To really make a meatless dish taste like dinner, it helps to have a few tricks up your sleeve to make up for what is lacking. Here are a few favorite tricks I've learned over the years to keep your diners from asking "Where's the beef?"
|(Source: Flickr user cosmos_72)|
2) Dried Mushrooms
|(Source: Flickr user Artizone)|
3) Asian Sauces
You can get pretty adventurous with these, or just stick with soy sauce if you'd rather. Tamari is a thicker, smoother-flavored soy sauce. Fish sauce can be used pretty much anywhere you'd use soy sauce, but a little goes a very long way (and when you're not cooking meatless, try it in burgers!) Miso is a Japanese ingredient that can go with just about anything you can think of.
Gardener's Pie) or add some sun-dried tomatoes (like in our taco lentils) to get this flavor in concentrated form. And don't forget to put a small tomato in your stock pot!
Roast those vegetables, caramelize your onions, toast some nuts. Getting some browning going will add a lot of depth of flavor. There's a reason grilled meat tastes so good, and the same flavors build (on a smaller scale), when you brown your vegetables. If your recipe or ingredients don't lend themselves to browning, a bit of liquid smoke or spices like smoked paprika or chipotle powder will do. This is an especially good trick for recipes like split pea or potato soup, where you might be feeling the lack of bacon.