Monday, April 12, 2010

Make Your Own Vegan Whole Grain, Italian Seasoned Bread Crumbs With No Transfats Or High Fructose Corn Syrup

Use seasoned bread crumbs to make Italian stuffed artichokes.

What's In Store Bought Bread Crumbs?
I used Progresso Italian seasoned bread crumbs for many years. They taste pretty good and let's face it, most of the time we love the convenience of buying store bought bread crumbs. But after reading the label, I was shocked to find over 50 ingredients! Does something with this many ingredients still qualify as "food"? Here are just a few of the things listed on the label that I would rather not eat:
* White, processed flour was the first ingredient
* High fructose corn syrup
* Corn syrup
* Partially hydrogenated vegetable oils (even though it claimed to be trans-fat free)
* Lots of sodium
* More sweeteners (honey, molasses and sugar)
* Preservatives
* Extra wheat gluten

If you are vegan, you should also be aware that these bread crumbs contain numerous animal products like butter, nonfat milk, buttermilk, eggs and honey.

Making Bread Crumbs is Simple
There's an easy solution to this. Just make your own! Take left-over whole grain bread, cut it into cubes and blend it up with the seasonings that you desire. Here's two recipes; one for vegan, whole grain, Italian seasoned bread crumbs and the other is for stuffed artichokes (my favorite thing to do with bread crumbs).


Vegan Whole Grain, Italian Seasoned Bread Crumbs
[makes 2 cups]
4 cups vegan whole grain bread, dried and cubes
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon sea salt (or to taste)
1/8 teaspoon black pepper (or to taste)
1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning (or combo of oregano, basil, thyme and rosemary)
2 tablespoons dried parsley

If bread isn't totally dry, place bread cubes in a 325 degree oven for about 10 minutes or until dry (not toasted). Cool the bread cubes and place in a blender with the garlic powder, salt and pepper and process until they are crumbs. Add Italian seasoning and dried parsley to the blender and pulse until blended. Keep refrigerated.


Italian Stuffed Artichokes
[serves 4]
4 medium artichokes
1 cup Italian seasoned bread crumbs
4 teaspoons olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup parmesan cheese (for vegan dish, substitute 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast)

Holding the stem, cut the pointed top of the artichoke with a sharp knife. Then, with a pair of scissors, cut the tops of each of the remaining leaves by about ½ inch. Remove the bottom stem with a knife so that the artichoke can sit flat. Peel the stem and set aside. Wash the artichoke under cold water while slightly opening the leaves. Drain upside down while preparing the filling. In a small bowl, mix the bread crumbs, and parmesan cheese or nutritional yeast. With a teaspoon, fill each leaf with a small amount of the mixture. Place 4 artichokes on a steamer in a large, deep soup pot with water coming up slightly above the bottom of the artichokes. Drizzle a teaspoon of olive oil on each artichoke. Place the stem on top of each artichoke. Sprinkle salt over the stems and tops and steam for 1 to 1 ½ hours or until the leaves can be easily removed and the leaves are very tender. Add more hot water to the pot as the water level goes down.

Per serving: 233 calories, 7.5 g fat, 2.3 g saturated fat, 8.5 g protein, 33.5 g carbohydrates, and 11.3 g of fiber.

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