This week I made over a former family favorite – Tuna Noodle Casserole. The new version is plant-based and utilizes a meat replacement product from Beyond Meat® called Beyond Chicken Strips.
If you’re already on the WFPB bandwagon, you may question this ingredient. You know that whole food, plant-based ingredients are best. If this is where you are at on your personal journey to better health, by all means, substitute a can of creamy cannellini beans.
But if you are new to plant-based cooking, and need a “bridge” to get there, high-quality meat replacement products with limited ingredients can make meat-free meals fast and easy. It’s about progress, not perfection.
If you are cooking for vegans or vegetarians and omnivores in the same household (like I do,) this chicken substitute is an occasional, healthier-than-meat compromise.
Made from non-GMO soy and pea protein, the product provides as much protein as chicken, without the saturated fat, cholesterol and carcinogens associated with cooked animal protein.
If you are trying to lower your LDL cholesterol, meat-replacement products as part of a plant-based diet can help you reduce that number by as much as 30%.
And it tastes like chicken.
Ready to dig in?
Better Than Chicken Noodle Skillet Casserole
Plant-Based, Vegetarian, Vegan
8 oz. egg-free wide ribbon noodles
2 Tbsp. olive oil
½ cup chopped yellow onion
1/3 cup diced carrot
2 Tbsp. flour
1-3/4 cups plain, unsweetened plant-milk (I used almondmilk)
¼ cup vegan cream cheese
2 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
1/4-1/2 tsp. salt
½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 cup frozen peas, thawed
¼ cup nutritional yeast
1 9oz. pkg Beyond Meat® Beyond Chicken Grilled or Lightly Seasoned Strips, thawed (or substitute 1 can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained)
Cook noodles according to package directions, being careful not to overcook. Drain into a colander holding the frozen peas (this quickly thaws the peas.)
Chop the Beyond Chicken strips into bite size pieces and set aside.
Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add oil to pan, swirl to coat. Add onion and carrot, cook 5 or 6 minutes until almost tender, stirring occasionally.
Sprinkle with flour, cook 1 minute stirring constantly. Gradually stir in the plant milk, cook 5 minutes stirring constantly with a whisk until slightly thick. Stir in cream cheese, mustard, nutritional yeast, salt and pepper; cook 1 minute until incorporated and smooth. Do not boil.
Add the noodles, peas and chopped Beyond Chicken strips. Cook on low heat for a couple of minutes more, just until everything is heated through.