5 Ways to Add Smoke to Meatless Cooking

Vore is quite the fan of smokey things. Case in point, this “beer can” chicken he recently smoked on the Big Green Egg

Beer can chickenAnd on my cute monogrammed tray to boot. For shame!

Last week, I made a batch of enchiladas for our weekly meatless meal. (Well…Vore’s weekly meatless meal. All mine are!) I used a recipe from the holistic health coach that contains quinoa, black beans, corn tortillas and a cilantro mixture. Vore dug in declaring, “You can’t tell there’s no meat in these!” I have a theory on the success.

I went off the reservation just a bit and used smoked mozzarella instead of the recommended queso fresco. I’m convinced that smoky flavor might be the key for us vegetarians to convince our carnivorous friends to up their plant intake. And so, I present to you, 5 ways to add smoke to meatless cooking:

  1. Smoked paprika: If this isn’t in your pantry, get out and buy some NOW! I first discovered it when I tried this recipe for pink eyed peas, still a household favorite. You can sprinkle smoked paprika on just about anything and add amazing depth of flavor. It’s like powdered bacon! 
  2. Smoked cheese: Cheddar, mozzarella, my personal favorite–smoked gouda. So many cheeses come with that great pop of flavor. Just read the label and ensure it’s not super processed, a la what you’d find in those creepy shelf-stable sausage/cheese/cracker gift sets. Gag.
  3. Liquid smoke: You’ll find this bottle near the barbecue sauce. It literally tastes like the grill smells. Use a super light hand when you add it to your beans, veggie burgers, etc. Too much, and you’ll overpower your cooking.
  4. Adobo sauce: This little gem of Mexican food will rock your world. You might have to dig a little at the grocery, or head to a specialty store, but it’s totally worth it. Smoke + heat! I buy chipotle chilies canned in adobo sauce and throw them in my chili recipe. I freeze the leftovers to use later.
  5. The Grill! Sounds obvious, but hickory chips on the grill are the original way to make any food taste smoky. My absolute favorite would be grilled portobellos, but peppers and onions are amazing too.

How do you add smoke to your cooking without the meat? 

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