In 2011, Impossible Foods CEO and founder Pat Brown vacated his career path as a bio-chem professor at Stanford University School of Medicine to start the plant-based “meat” company. His goal: Create one that “outperforms the best beef from a cow in sustainability, cost, nutritional value, flavor, texture, craveability, and even meatiness.”
Brown’s team engineered a type of yeast to make soy leghemoglobin, grown in fermenters. This soy leghemoglobin is what creates the juicy beefy effect, making soy protein seem meaty. Compared to beef, Impossible Burger has a footprint that uses 96% less land, 87% less water, and 89% less emissions.
While testing prototypes, product was given to chefs, who debuted them in their restaurants. It’s now available in about 20,000 restaurants in the U.S. and Asia, and you can buy the product in grocery stores to cook at home.
Now Impossible Foods is publishing Impossible: The Cookbook (Chronicle Books, $29.99). (For each book sold on Amazon in 2020, $3 will be donated to No Kid Hungry.) It’s a collection of chef’s recipes, written in an approachable style. Beginning with a user’s guide about technique, the book then moves through starters, entrees and burgers. The last chapter is a fan favorite: Impossible Pairings, offering complementary wines for various dishes.
The recipes, from a range of influential chefs like Kwame Onwuachi, Traci Des Jardins, Michael Symon and more, are diverse in style and flavor profiles. We tested over two dozen recipes with both Impossible meat and ground beef, and in the majority of testing, there was no distinguishable difference. When I had a preference, it was the Impossible Burger.
Ethiopian Spiced Meat with Hummus and Toasted Cashews
Sambusas are Ethiopia’s version of samosas: pastry turnovers with a spiced meat filling. “There’s a huge Ethiopian population here in D.C.,” says chef Kwame Onwuachi, “and sambusas are a popular pre-service snack with our staff at Kith/Kin.” That was his inspiration for this quick, easy recipe, in which he skips the pastry and serves a sambusa-style filling over creamy hummus. “Anyone can make this, and it’s so flavorful,” says Kwame. “The seasonings and the texture always remind people of ground lamb.”
1 1/2 tablespoons grapeseed oil
1 small white onion, finely chopped
8 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger
1 1/2 teaspoons berbere (Ethiopian spice mix)
3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
12 ounces Impossible Burger
1/4 cup chopped toasted cashews
1/4 to 1/2 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves, according to taste
Extra-virgin olive oil, for serving
Hummus (recipe follows)
3 to 4 pita breads, warmed and cut into wedges, for serving
To make the meat, in a large sauté pan over medium heat, warm the oil. Add the onion, garlic, ginger, berbere, cumin, cardamom, cinnamon, and 1/4 teaspoon salt and cook, stirring, until the onion is translucent and the mixture is fragrant, about 10 minutes. Crumble the Impossible Burger into the pan and cook, stirring to break it up, until browned and cooked through, 8 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasoning.
To serve, spread the hummus onto a large dish, smoothing the top and creating a well in the center. Spoon the warm meat into the center of the hummus and garnish with the cashews, parsley, and a drizzle of olive oil. Serve with warm pita wedges alongside.
Hummus: Add one 15.5-ounce can drained and rinsed chickpeas, 3 tablespoons lemon juice, 3 chopped garlic cloves, 2 teaspoons tahini, 1 1/2 teaspoons cumin, and 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt to a food processor and process until smooth. With the machine running, slowly add 1/3 cup olive oil until well combined. Taste and adjust the seasoning; set aside. You should have about 1 1/2 cups.
Makes 6 servings.
SOURCE: Chef Kwame Onwuachi
Churrasco Skewers with Chimichurri
1/2 cup loosely packed finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/4 cup loosely packed finely chopped fresh oregano
1/4 cup loosely packed finely chopped fresh cilantro
6 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
4 teaspoon sambal oelek (chile paste)
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2 pounds Impossible Burger
1/2 cup shaved French breakfast radishes, for garnish (optional)
1/4 cup shaved Peppadew peppers or pimiento peppers for garnish (optional)
Soak 12 8-inch wooden skewers in water for at least 1 hour, up to overnight. Or have 12 metal skewers ready.
To make the chimichurri sauce, in a medium bowl, whisk together parsley through salt. Slowly add the oil while whisking constantly, until well combined. Taste and adjust the seasoning; set aside.
Crumble the Impossible Burger into a large bowl and season with 1 teaspoons salt, mixing with your hands until well combined. Divide the Impossible Burger into 6 equal portions (about 2 ounces each). Form each portion into a long, skinny cylindrical shape around one wooden skewer. Transfer to a small baking sheet. Season each skewer with black pepper.
Prepare a grill for direct cooking over high heat (450 F). Brush the grill grates clean. Grill the skewers, turning once or twice, until browned, about 1 minute per side. Transfer to a serving platter.
Whisk the chimichurri, then drizzle over the skewers. Garnish with the radishes and peppers (if using) and serve at once.
Makes 4 to 6 servings.
SOURCE: Chef J Michael Melton
Baked Ziti with Broccoli Ragù
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
1/2 teaspoon coriander seeds
1 1/2 pounds Impossible Burger
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for pasta
1 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
16 ounces ziti pasta
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 yellow onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 pound broccoli, stemmed
1/2 cup dry white wine
One 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
2 cups vegetable broth
8 ounces whole-milk ricotta or plant-based ricotta (1 cup)
16 ounces mozzarella or plant-based mozzarella, shredded
1/2 cup grated pecorino romano or Parmesan or plant-based Parmesan
To make the sausage, in a small skillet over medium-low heat, toast the fennel and coriander seeds, shaking the pan occasionally, until darkened and fragrant, about 8 minutes. Grind to a powder in a spice grinder or with a mortar and pestle, then add to a large bowl. Crumble the Impossible Burger into the bowl and add the garlic, paprika, pepper flakes, salt, and black pepper. Mix together with your hand until combined, then set aside for 10 minutes for the ingredients to bloom.
Preheat the oven to 375 F. To a large pot of boiling water, add 2 tablespoons salt and then the pasta.
Cook, stirring once or twice, until the pasta is al dente, 6 to 8 minutes, or according to package directions. Drain and run under cool water to stop the cooking. Set aside.
In a large pot over medium heat, brown the sausage mixture, stirring occasionally to break up the meat, until cooked through, about 5 minutes. Transfer the sausage mixture to a bowl and set aside.
To finish the ragù, in the same pot, warm the oil over medium heat and add the onion and garlic. Cook, stirring, until tender, about 3 minutes. Add the broccoli and cook, stirring, until the color of the broccoli dulls, 8 to 10 minutes. Stir in 2 tablespoons water as needed. Add the wine and cook, stirring, until it evaporates, about 1 minute. Add the sausage mixture and cook, stirring, until well mixed, about 3 minutes. Add the tomatoes, broth, and 1 tsp salt, then bring to a simmer and cook, stirring, until slightly reduced, about 6 minutes. Adjust the seasoning.
To assemble, in a 9 by 13 inch baking dish, layer 2 cups ragù, then half the pasta, then half the ricotta. Repeat the layers. Top with the remaining ragù, an even layer of the mozzarella, and finally, the pecorino. Bake until the sauce is bubbling and the cheese is golden brown, 25 to 30 minutes.
Let stand for 15 minutes, then serve.
Makes 8 servings.
SOURCE: Chefs Ken Oringer and Jamie Bissonnette