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what to substitute for beef in stuffed onions recipe

I would love to make a vegetarian version of this stuffed onions recipe from the May issue of Bon Appetit. The recipe calls for beef or lamb and it is seasoned with garlic and spices and filled into the roasted onions.


Potatoes? Chickpeas? Something hearty that can stand up to all the flavors and cooking, I think. I usually try to avoid fake meat but if you have a suggestion for something that might work really well, would love to know. Thanks.

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  1. Beans of any kind; lentils and couscous/quinoa.

    1. I would add well-crumbled extra-firm tofu.

      1 Reply
      1. Another poster on another thread suggested Harmony Valley burger mix I tried it the other day and really liked it. That would stand in for the ground beef in any stuffed onion recipe.

        1. I would use puy lentils and/or finely chopped tempeh. Tempeh has a satisfying texture and soaks up other flavors really well. Did you make this yet?

          1. I think both of your original suggestions -- potatoes or chickpeas (mash them a bit) would work well -- they'd change the dish, but they'd absorb the flavors nicely. Or maybe a mix of potatoes and some sort of lentil, although with lentils I'd up the spices, since I find lentils sort of exude blandness.

            Or maybe cauliflower.

            1. I would use a mix of mushrooms chopped and then sauteed until brown. I also might consider using a brown rice to add another nutty layer of flavor.

              2 Replies
              1. re: escondido123

                I immediately thought of well browned mushrooms too.

                1. re: CanadaGirl

                  I think tofu frozen solid, then thawed, crumbled, then stirfried with shoyu, is a perfect meat substiute.

                  Lentils would work too.

              2. Homemade seitan (I find any of the recipes for it in Julie Hassan's Vegan Diner cookbook to be superlative) ground like beef. Voila! It would be amazing!

                1. a coarse cooked or semi-cooked bulgur would likely work.. maybe 1/2 1/2 with some small lentils

                  1. I would use toasted bulgur, mushrooms and chopped walnuts and maybe some frozen and grated tofu.