Food Network Star, where culinary hopefuls battle it out for a chance at their own series. This season's winner was Jeff Mauro. His concept, Sandwich King, makes "every sandwich a meal and every meal a sandwich." All of his recipes look amazing, but, like most of the food featured on food competitions, tend to be meat-centric. The one I saw on his show this afternoon was no exception - Greek Tacos with ground lamb. But, since I love Greek food and it featured lots of produce, I decided to attempt to make it over into a vegan meal.
It was a fairly easy swap. I made the cucumber, tomato and onion relish as directed, except I forgot that we didn't have red wine vinegar in the house. Instead, I used apple cider vinegar. Removing the seeds from the cucumber definitely helped from keeping it to watery - using a spoon was the most efficient way to do that.
For the "lamb," I sauteed some striped eggplant. After removing the eggplant from the pan, I added some seitan. I then made the sauce as directed - minced red onion, freshly minced garlic, tomato paste, oregano, salt and pepper and red wine. Since I was making a vegan version of the recipe, I didn't make the yogurt sauce. And, instead of making it a sandwich, I made up a pot of farro to use as a base.
It may have been heresy to Mauro's concept, but it worked. I liked the contrast between the warm, wine-y, meaty seitan/eggplant mixture and the cool relish. The farro added a nice chewy texture as well. The recipe was also a hit with our dinner guests, my cousin and my cousin's 14 month old daughter, who is quite the gourmand for a toddler!
My favorite part of this recipe was my inaugural use of tomato paste in a tube. I was always hesitant to make anything with tomato paste, because I feel like I never end up using the whole little can. The tube allowed me to just squirt out what I needed to add enough flavor and color to the sauce. I know it's been around in this form for awhile - why it took me so long to take advantage of it, I have no idea.