Meats have been smoked, cured, and preserved in every way imaginable. Now chefs are applying those traditional techniques to produce. The results are full of flavor and satisfyingly satiating. Embrace #MeatlessMonday by ordering animal-free, vegetable charcuterie.
Wild Mushroom Tartare at Mon Ami Gabi, Chicago, Illinois
Steak tartare – minus the steak. Instead, portobello mushrooms are cooked with Grana Padano cheese, chilies, shallots, and herbs, then topped with a sunny poached egg aioli, and served cheese toast and greens. So meaty and mmm-inducing you’ll never ask, “Where’s the beef?” Make a reservation at Mon Ami Gabi.
Portobello Mushroom Mousse at Dirt Candy, New York, New York
Spheres of mushroom mousse are coronated with paper-thin slices of grilled portobellos, pear and fennel compote, and nubbins of truffle toast. The best way to enjoy this signature dish is to load up a sliver of bread with all the components. The resulting bite is extravagantly earthy with a touch of sweetness. Make a reservation at Dirt Candy.
Tomato Tartare at Momotaro, Chicago, Illinois
Take a quick look and you’d swear this was beef tartare. You’d be wrong. The tartare is forged from Momotaro tomatoes and served on Japanese milk bread with Maui onion puree. Make a reservation at Momotaro.
Faux Gras at Equinox, Washington, D.C.
This dish is foie-some. The meatless torchon is made with cashews, mushroom powder, and white miso, and rolled in a crust of sesame and pink peppercorns. It comes with quince jam, toasted sourdough, and date honey. Make a reservation at Equinox.
Beet Tartare at Somerset, Chicago, Illinois
Just beet it. The purple root veg is cooked over the wood-powered grill to add a smoky subtone. They’re mixed with goat Gouda, cumin yogurt, and sunflower seeds, and arrive with petite pitas for scooping. Make a reservation at Somerset.
Boiled Peanut and Mushroom Pâté at the Bistro at Topsail, Surf City, North Carolina
The secret to this pâté’s richness? A lot of butter, which additionally amplifies the unctuous flavors of the shiitake, chanterelles, and oyster mushrooms. Boiled peanuts lend a meaty texture and plenty of protein to the proceedings. Make a reservation at the Bistro at Topsail.
Vegan Charcuterie Board at Cosmos at Loews Minneapolis Hotel, Minneapolis, Minnesota
The restaurant partnered with local vegan butcher shop – no, that’s not a typo – the Herbivorous Butcher to create this animal-free charcuterie board. It’s decked out with summer sausage, pastrami, and capicola, plus chive-rich cheddar and garlic pepper Havarti. Fresh fruit, nuts, and vegetables complete the presentation. Make a reservation at Cosmos at Loews Minneapolis Hotel.
Let us know where you’ve been taking advantage of the vegetable charcuterie trend here in the comments or over on Facebook, G+, Instagram, Pinterest, or Twitter. And, remember to snap + share your #dishpics with us on Instagram for a chance to win in our weekly giveaway.
Nevin Martell is a Washington, D.C.-based food and travel writer and the author of several books, including Freak Show Without A Tent: Swimming with Piranhas, Getting Stoned in Fiji and Other Family Vacations. Find him on Twitter @nevinmartell and Instagram @nevinmartell.
Photo credits: Taylor Crowley (Somerset); Christina Slaton (Mon Ami Gabi).