I can’t get over how many vegan cookbooks are out nowadays. I remember back in the day, there was hardly any at all. My latest read, fresh from the publisher is The 30-Minute Vegan by Mark Reinfeld and Jennifer Murray. Their thing is quick, healthy, delicious, vegan recipes cooked in 30 minutes or so. Let’s see if that holds up with me in the kitchen.
As I’m flipping through the cookbook, Batter-Baked Tempura jumps out. I love tempura! But not so much the fried part. So this is perfect, something I always wanted to try making at home and I don’t have to deal with the mess of frying. I’m now properly motivated. On to the cooking.
For my veggies, I went with trumpet mushrooms, green beans, yellow squash, onion, zucchini and carrot. And I used panko bread crumbs instead of regular crumbs. It took me exactly 30 minutes to get the veggies cut, battered, breaded and into the oven and then another 20 minutes to cook.
They didn’t come out looking exactly like tempura from a restaurant, still they were quite tasty. There’s not a super thick all-over coating but enough stuck on for a surprisingly good crunch and a bit of a nutty taste. There’s also a stronger veggie taste as you’re not eating a mouthful of batter.
I’m positive I can get the time down with a little practice. Next time I’m going to bread the veggies one at a time instead of all together in the bowl, for better crumb coverage. It really is a great, healthy and delicious alternative to the fried version.
Serves 4 to 6
2 portobello mushrooms, cut into 1/2-inch slices or 1 cup cremini mushrooms, halved
2 cups bread crumbs
1 cup broccoli florets
1/2 yellow onion, cut into 1/2-inch thick rings
1 cup zucchini, cut into rounds or 4-inch spears
1-2 tablespoons olive oil, for brushing (optional)
Soy sauce for dipping
3 tablespoons ground flax meal
1 cup water
1/2 teaspoon baking powder, sifted
1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Lightly oil a baking tray or cookie sheet. Prepare the vegetables and set aside.
2. Prepare the batter: Blend the flax meal, water, and baking powder for about 10 seconds. Pour the batter into a deep bowl. Place the bread crumbs in a separate deep bowl.
3. Toss the mushrooms around in the batter with a spoon or your hands. Remove them one by one, quickly shaking off the excess batter, and place them in the bread crumbs. When they are all in, swirl the bowl around a bit and use your hands to get them coated in crumbs. Transfer to the prepared baking tray and repeat the process with the broccoli, onion, and zucchini.
4. If you desire crunchier veggies, use a pastry brush to lightly coat oil on the tops of the vegetables. Use a dabbing motion rather than a stroke so as not to brush away the batter (you may even wish to drizzle the oil instead). Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender.
Excerpted from the book The 30-Minute Vegan by Mark Reinfeld and Jennifer Murray, published by Da Capo Lifelong, a member of the Perseus Books Group. Copyright © 2009. www.dacapopresscookbooks.com