We LOVE making dishes that have traditionally been dairy heavy, into their vegan alter-egos! Mozzarella sticks were one of those dishes that we missed when we went vegan about 14 years back, so we started experimenting. It turns out that hearts of palm make a wonderful mozzarella substitute. They have a great color, texture and flavor you could want from a mozz stick, without the crazy cholesterol and dairy. And because you can’t serve a lone stick, we have a quick tomato sauce to go with it!
When buying hearts of palm, look for jars that say “sustainably harvested” so that you’re not knocking down a whole tree for your snack. The sustainable form of cultivation comes from a base plant that has lot of branches that can be cut off without killing the tree, allowing other branches to keep growing.
Hearts of Palm “Mozzarella Sticks” with a Quick Marinara Sauce
Yields 20 pieces
“Mozzarella Stick” Ingredients:
2 tablespoons organic un-bleached all purpose flour
10 hearts of palm, sliced in half lengthwise
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 teaspoons brown rice syrup
½ cup un-sweetened almond milk
2 tablespoons vegan parmesan (GO Veggie! brand)
1/3 cup organic whole wheat breadcrumbs
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
¼ teaspoon dried basil
½ teaspoon dried oregano
¼ teaspoon sea salt
¼ teaspoon finely ground black pepper
1-2 tablespoons neutral tasting oil (safflower)
Quick Tomato Sauce Ingredients:
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, finely diced
1 small can tomato paste (6 oz)
½ teaspoon dried oregano
½ teaspoon dried basil
½ teaspoon sea salt
½ teaspoon ground pepper
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons brown rice syrup
2/3 cups water
For hearts of palm: Place flour in a shallow bowl or plate and coat halved hearts of palm
In a mixing bowl, add lemon juice, brown rice syrup, and almond milk. Whisk until uniform. Add hearts of palm and toss to coat.
In a separate large bowl, combine vegan parmesan, breadcrumbs, garlic powder, dried basil, oregano, sea salt and black pepper. Whisk until uniform.
Heat a sauté pan over medium heat and add oil.
Dredge each piece of hearts of palm in breadcrumb mixture and place in pan. Sauté for about 5-7 minutes, rotating occasionally, until golden.
Meanwhile, for tomato sauce: Heat a small sauce pot over medium heat and add olive oil, garlic, tomato paste, oregano basil, sea salt, pepper, balsamic vinegar, brown rice syrup and water. Cook for about 5-7 minutes, or until color is dark and mixture is fragrant. Serve warm with “mozzarella” sticks. © Spork Foods, 2014