Let me state up-front: this HOMEMADE VEGETARIAN GROUND BEEF recipe is NOT designed for a patty – it’s too mushy to form a firm burger. What it’s fabulous for is as a substitute when you need ground beef for a recipe and you’re a vegetarian or vegan. I’ve used it successfully in shepherd’s pie, burritos, tamale pie, and Greek moussaka.

It’s not a difficult recipe, but it takes about 25 minutes to cook off the liquid at the end. Because of this, I double or triple the recipe then, as Queen of Freeze, I freeze it in 1 lb or 1/2 lb portions for future use. This way, if I decide to make a shepherd’s pie, tamale pie, or burrito, the bulk of the work is done.

VEGETARIAN GROUND BEEF – makes at least 1.5 lbs

  • 1 T olive oil
  • 112g OR 4 oz OR 1 cup onions, chopped small
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 4 cloves garlic, pressed
  • 43g OR 1 oz OR 2 T tomato paste
  • 125 ml OR 1/2 cup red wine (I use a Cabernet)
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 2 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 425g OR 15 oz canned chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained
  • 227g OR 8 oz whole cremini mushrooms
  • 411g OR 14.5 oz canned whole tomatoes, discard stem end and any flaws, chop, KEEP JUICE – YOU’LL NEED IT!

NOTE: I suggest you try the single recipe before making a larger batch just in case you don’t like it.

ADDITIONAL NOTE: If you’re doubling or more this recipe, use a Dutch oven or larger.

Heat oil in a large pot and saute onions and salt over medium heat until the onions are just starting to brown – about 6 minutes.

Add in the garlic and continuously stir 30 seconds to bloom (but not burn), then stir in the tomato paste. Increase heat to medium high and saute 2-3 minutes to darken the tomato paste a bit. (This adds an umami flavor).

Pour in the wine, paprika, oregano, and red pepper flakes. Cook over medium, scraping up the burnt bits into the paste, until the wine has nearly evaporated – about 3 minutes. Remove from heat.

Drain the chickpeas and roughly chop.

Place chopped chickpeas into your food processor and pulse until it’s become small bits, scraping down the sides and bottom as needed. If you don’t have a food processor, you’ll have to chop them by hand.

Empty minced chickpeas into the pot with the onions/tomato paste.

Thoroughly wash mushrooms and coarsely chop into 1cm / 1/2″ pieces.

Place chopped mushrooms in food processor and pulse several times until mushrooms are broken into small bits, scraping sides and bottom, as needed. If you don’t have a food processor, chop by hand.

Empty mushrooms into the pot.

Over medium/high heat, saute mixture, stirring often for 5 minutes.

Pour the chopped tomatoes and their juice into the pot.

Cook over medium/high heat until the liquid has cooked off and the mixture can mound.