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Thursday, 8 December 2016

Vegetarian alternative to Pulled Pork

In the continuing adventures of feeding my emerging vegetarian vegetable dishes that she wants to eat, I decided to buy some taco shells. This was a half thought out plan, knowing that she enjoyed a taco meal a few months back but not really knowing what vegetarian alternative she might like to fill her taco with these days. Not that vegetarian tacos haven't been invented, of course! The problems are 1) we don't particularly like spicy Mexican food, and 2) she doesn't like any form of beans. So definitely not time for a chilli bean filling.

Realising I had a problem and no obvious solution, I turned to my vegetarian friends on Facebook for suggestions. Roasted vegetables and cheese both sounded like good ideas. Then Aida from The Good Times Cafe sent me a link to a recipe that was both Mexican spicy and contained beans. She did suggest I could leave out the beans so I went and had a look and was inspired. Carrots, sweet potato and potatoes are things my daughter will eat and I could see a dish emerging in my head.  The last time we had tacos we enjoyed them with pulled pork and salad and this recipe looked like it could be made into a vegetarian pulled pork substitute. What's more, my friend Turan from Coldsmoking Cookery School had given me a pack of "Pulled Pork Seasoning" a few weeks ago so I merely had to sprinkle this on for authentic flavours.

There isn't a precise recipe for this as I was making it up as I went along and didn't weigh anything but it went something like this: a small carrot grated, a small potato grated, a chunk of sweet potato grated, one spring onion, chopped into fine lengths. Fry the grated vegetables in a little oil for 15 or so minutes until it is golden, adding the spring onion about 5 minutes before the end so not to overcook it. Season with salt and pepper and a good sprinkling of Pulled Pork Seasoning (or it's component spices). Serve as is or mix in some hoi sin sauce too for a sticky texture.

I have found over the years that fussy eaters eat more when the food is presented buffet style with lots of different dishes on the table they can help themselves too. There is something about choosing to put something onto your plate that makes you much more likely to eat it than having a complete plate of food put in front of you. As such, this meal consisted of bowls of salad vegetables, grilled halloumi cheese, a dish of roasted vegetables, a mushroom/onion combo, pulled pork made from actual pork (leftovers courtesy of my mate Mr Fitz) and veggie pulled pork. I dished the potato wedges straight onto the plate to stop them going soggy and to prevent arguments about who had most.

Eventually my daughter stopped eating, declaring herself full, having eaten 3 tacos loaded with her veggie pulled pork, halloumi and salad as well as some of her wedges. Chalking up another small victory, I was happy enough to eat up the few leftovers for my lunch the next day. It was an odd combination of wedges, pulled pork and the veggie pulled pork, which made a tasty accompaniment in my view and altogether a very tasty lunch, and side by side the two types of "pulled pork" looked fairly convincing.

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