The fake meat industry is exploding

For your Meatless Monday reading enjoyment.

Fortune

The hunger for fake meat — or meatless meat — is getting bigger. So much so that the latest sales numbers of plant-based meat alternatives reached $553 million in 2012, representing a growth spurt of 8 percent from 2010. “We are doubling the business annually,” said Ethan Brown, CEO of Beyond Meat, which makes non-animal food products like the Beast Burger and has an active group of investors that includes Bill Gates and former Twitter execs Biz Stone and Evan Williams.

“We’re growing like a weed and expect to keep growing,” said Martha Pincoffs, founder of Minnesota-based Hot Dang Grain Burgers that makes meatless items, such as the “Big Tex,” a grain burger ready made for the barbecue. Her products are sold in many Whole Food stores across the country.

Why the increase in meatless meat? Those in the know say better health habits among consumers, along with tastier products…

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We’re in a gluten-free bubble that is about to burst

Fortune

Gluten-free. It’s among the hottest trends in food today. It competes with “non-GMO,” “local” and “organic” for mindshare among today’s health-conscious, price-insensitive, and trend-following foodies, yuppies, and self-anointed amateur nutritionists. It’s become so fashionable to be gluten-free that even Fido and Spot have jumped on the bandwagon.

Like all such sweeping trends, it has a powerful attractive force that lures innocent bystanders into asking if they too should join the party. Last Fall, The New Yorker ran an article entitled“Against the Grain: Should You Go Gluten Free?” to help readers answer the very question. Grain Brain and Wheat Belly hold entrenched positions on lists of today’s best selling books. Gluten-free is clearly on the minds of many.

Like financial bubbles, the herd behavior identified by such popular attention is never sustainable. Here’s the big disconnect that captures the essence of the problem: less than 1 percent of the population…

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Marinara Sauce Number Two

I have a lot of cookbooks and one of my favorites is Cooking from an Italian Garden by Paola Scaravelli and Jon Cohen.  There are over 300 vegetarian recipes in this book.  Over the years I’ve made virtually none of the recipes in the book.  Yes, virtually zero.  This cookbook remains a favorite because it is inspirational.  You can prepare simple healthy meals without animal proteins.  The section on sauces alone is worth the price of admission.

The following is my adaptation of a flavorful marinara sauce that I recently prepared for a Stack Project recipe.

  • 1/2 medium sweet onion, diced
  • 1 carrot diced
  • 1 stalk celery diced
  • 2 T extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 15 oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 14.5 oz can stewed tomatoes
  • handful fresh basil, chopped (or healthy pinch of dried basil if fresh is not available)
  • handful fresh parsley, chopped ( or dried, if fresh is not available)
  • Salt
  • Sugar
  1. Saute the vegetables until wilted.
  2. Add the canned tomatoes, herbs and simmer uncovered for one hour.
  3. Salt lightly and add just enough sugar to cut the acidity of the tomatoes.
  4. Done.

Tips

Garlic???  By all means if you have to have garlic, use some.  The quality and acidity levels of canned tomatoes vary tremendously.  Use sugar only when necessary.  This sauce freezes well.