Fantabulous Meatless Meat

If there was ever a right time for this oxymoron, this is it. At the time of the pandemic, while humanity has been cornered defenseless, there is a lot of rumination about factory farming and exotic meats.

I must confess that I have made seitan (wheat gluten) Greek gyro and I prefer the wheat version over the original! Is it just me ? Here, I use the much touted Beyond-Beef (primarily plant proteins), that are easily available in the grocery stores, in spite of shortages in the other aisles. It really lives up to the hype. And, this protein-on-protein, with a touch of topping greens, is unbelievably sumptuous!




  • Meatless-meat layer
    • 1 lb meatless meat, ground form
    • Aromatics: 1 tbsp oil + 1 small onion diced + 2 garlic cloves minced + 1/2 inch ginger grated
    • Dry spices: 1 tbsp cumin powder + 1 tsp ground sumac + 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
    • Sauce: 2 tbsp tamarind paste+ 2 tbsp tomato paste + 1 tbsp lemon juice + 1/3 cup vegetable stock or water
  • Base: garbanzo purée (can use hummus or see recipe below)
  • Topping: 3 tbsp toasted pine nuts + microgreens (sunflower)


In a thick bottom skillet, brown the ground meat till thoroughly cooked. This takes 12-15 minutes. Take the meat off the pan. Add the aromatics and cook till fragrant (about 5 min), then add the meat back. Mix in the powdered spices. Stir for a few minutes and then add the sauce and blend in and heat thoroughly. Taste for seasonings,

Serve by placing a generous 1/3 cup of garbanzo purée at bottom; a generous layer of meatless meat and finish off with the toppings.


  1. I call this protein-on-protein, since the base is garbanzo and the next layer is again (plant) protein. You can use real meat, if that is your choice.
  2. I love the citrusy sumac! This recipe is inspired from Adeena Sussman’s Sababa on Israeli food.
  3. Contrary to expectations, I like this even better when lightly warmed (in microwave). Reminiscent of the Palestinian Sinaya.
  4. Garbanzo purée: Soak 1 cup garbanzo beans overnight in plenty of water. Simmer in plenty of water till soft (about 15-30 minutes). Let cool slightly.
    In a processor: softened beans + 4 tbsp sunflower butter + 1/4 cup lemon juice + 1/4 tsp garlic powder + 1/4 cup EVOO + 1 tbsp red miso (optional) + salt to taste.
  5. Sunflower microgreens was used here. You could use any other microgreen or cilantro or parsley.

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