Plant Butchery!

Photo Credit: Mette Nielsen

Plant butchery. It sounds like an oxymoron as in “jumbo shrimp” or “awfully good”, but the term refers to the different culinary uses for proteins crafted from plants. Now, this could be a grilled cauliflower steak or the pumpkin chili as well as as tofu, tempeh, and seitan products and others created from wheat, beans, tofu, and nuts. With the interest in vegetarian and vegan cuisine, we’re seeing high quality plant protein products in great variety. I think some of them even taste better than the meat they’ve copied. Several of them are actually easier to cook.

Take tofu chicken strips. They’re perfect for a fast stir-fry featured in the photo. I really speeded things up by using the pre-cut beet and sweet potato “noodles” I found in the produce aisle. All I had to do was sizzle them all in a pan, season with a little soy, and serve over rice. This would be delicious tossed with pasta or rolled into a flatbread as well.


Sweet & Savory Skillet Stir-Fry

Serves 4

Look for pre-cut beet and sweet potato spirals in the produce section. They’re deliciously easy to use in stir-fries, soups and stews. If you’re cutting back on pasta, simmer these quickly and substitute for your favorite noodle.


1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1 bunch green onions, trimmed and chipped

1 small green bell pepper, seeded and cut into strips

1 cup prepared fresh sweet potato noodles or 1 sweet potato cut into thin strips

1 cup prepared fresh beet noodles or 1 large beet cut into thin strips

6 to 8 ounces tofu chicken strips, or tempeh

1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar, or to taste

2 teaspoons sriracha hot sauce, or to taste

1 to 2 teaspoons soy sauce, or to taste


Set a medium skillet over high heat and add the oil. Add the onions, pepper, sweet potatoes, beets, and cook stirring until just tender, about 3 minutes. Reduce the heat and add the strips and cook through. Season to taste with the vinegar, hot sauce, and soy sauce.