Vobster, aka “vegan lobster,” or “the poor man’s lobster roll” for those adverse to the vegan title. Regardless, an affordable and delicious take on lobster rolls. Note: Recipe adapted from Purple Carrot found here. Serves 3-4, depending on how much you stuff your roll.
2 cans Heart of Palm, drained and patted dry
2 celery ribs
1/2 cup mayonnaise or Vegenaise (to stay truly vegan)
1/4 tsp dried dill (or more to taste)
at least 2 tbsp Seafood Seasoning (such as Old Bay), or more to taste
salt & pepper
1 tbsp oil (olive or vegetable)
4 hoagie rolls, cut 3/4 way through the side, and then split open (see photo 3 for reference). Do not slice the bread completely in half.
Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees F.
Slice the heart of palm into 1/2 inch thick rounds, place into a mixing bowl.
Add oil and seafood seasoning to the heart of palm and mix thoroughly.
Spread heart of palm along baking sheet, ensuring that each piece has its own space.
Place baking sheet on top rack of oven and bake for 20-25 minutes, until heart of palm rounds have golden to bronze coloring (see photo 2)
Meanwhile, in another mixing bowl (or the same one from step 2, cleaned) combine lemon juice from one of the lemon halves, mayo, shallot, celery, dill, salt, and pepper. Take a taste test and add more salt, pepper, or dill to suit.
When heart of palm is finished roasting, add the heart of palm to the bowl of dressing.
Immediately after step 7, add opened hoagie rolls to baking sheet and bake for 5-8 minutes until golden (see photo 3 again).
While rolls bake, mix the heart of palm and dressing thoroughly (see photo 4).
Once rolls are done, give 1-2 minutes for cool down. When able to touch, scoop the desired amount of the heart of palm mixture onto rolls.
Not quite authentic Cajun cooking, yet much better than many other recipes you’ll find on a Google search. Recipe following the pictures. No backstory required.
1 pound medium (51-60 count per lb) shrimp (thawed if store bought frozen)
1 pound boneless skinless chicken thighs, cubed
1 pound Andouille sausage, sliced diagonally
1 bell pepper (any color), diced
1 yellow onion, diced
3 celery ribs, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 Fresno pepper, halved and then thinly sliced
6 okra pods, sliced 1/2 inch thick
3 green onions, sliced diagonally
1 28 oz can of diced fire roasted tomatoes (do not drain tomato water)
1 quart broth (chicken or vegetable)
2 cups Arborio rice
2 tbsp (or more) smoked paprika
Cajun spice (recommend Tony Chachere’s Creole blend)
Salt & Pepper
Prep the ingredients accordingly as described above.
Set a large pot or Dutch oven over medium heat. Add 1-2 tbsp of olive oil to pot and swirl to coat surface. Add onion, bell pepper, and celery to the pot and “sweat” them until near translucent, about 7-10 minutes. Stir occasionally and adjust heat as needed to prevent burning.
Meanwhile, set a large pan over medium-high heat. Add a little bit of oil and add chicken when warm. Dust the chicken with Cajun seasoning. Cook until all sides are light brown and set aside from heat, about 5-6 minutes.
Set a small pan over medium-high heat and add a small bit of oil. Add okra when hot. Saute each side of okra for 1-2 minutes, or brown. This step will remove slime from the okra. Once done set in small bowl.
After the vegetable mixture has softened and began turning translucent, add garlic, Fresno peppers, paprika, a fair load of Cajun seasoning (probably 3 tbsp), and enough salt and pepper for your preference and stir thoroughly.
After 1-2 minutes, add rice. Stir thoroughly.
Immediately after rice is stirred in, add chicken, sausage, can of tomatoes, okra, and broth (your pot will look like picture #2 above). Bring pot to a low boil over medium-high heat. Once boiling, cover and reduce heat to medium. Stir every 5 minutes.
After 15 minutes of cooking, add shrimp and stir.
Remove lid after 20 minutes of cooking and stir well. The jambalaya may appear stew-like (see photo #3). If you desire less broth, continue cooking with lid off for 2-3 more minutes.
Serve in bowls, top with sliced green onions.
Most recipes I’ve found online use long grain rice in order to prevent a mushy texture. Arborio rice doesn’t seem to have this problem for a shorter grain. Though the grains may clump together easier like sticky rice, the rice remains tender and firm.
Regarding measuring oils and spices: I don’t exactly measure spices and oils with spoons but gauge with my eyes, tongue, and nose…if something looks dry or is burning then add more oil. Make sure to take tastes of your creation as you go, and add more seasoning when you think is appropriate.
This recipe makes somewhere between 4-8 servings depending on the serving size. If you have leftovers, I suggest sprinkling some water onto your serving before reheating to prevent overcooking and that mushy texture that could result from overcooking.