Oxtails are delicious and nutritious at the same time when made vegan. This West Indian delicacy can be prepared with flour and vegetables as substitutes for oxtail and other animal-based ingredients. Keep reading to know what is vegan oxtail made of and its benefits.
Vegan oxtail is made of celery sticks to imitate the oxtail marrow and mushrooms to give it some earthy, meaty flavor just like real meat. The overall aroma, appearance, flavor, and texture of the vegan version are almost similar to the original version. Meat eaters may not be able to tell it’s the garden-grown version of the classic oxtail stew.
In addition to the ingredients and benefits of vegan oxtail, I have also included other interesting insights about this delicious vegan-approved dish such as the original recipe, most common ingredients, and the nutrients that you can get from eating this scrumptious meal. There are several ways to cook vegan oxtail, and this simple guide will teach you how.
What Is An Oxtail?
Today’s oxtail is derived from the tail of cattle, but it was originally from the tail of an ox. It is skinned, cut into pieces, and cooked into many different dishes. Each piece contains some marrow at the center of the tailbone, the bony part of meat covering the tail. Since the meat has a gelatinous texture, it’s often used for braises, soups, and stocks.
Aside from West Indian, oxtail is also a common delicacy in Korean and Italian cuisine. It requires a longer cooking time because it’s really fatty and bony, making it the best braising meat. In the early days, oxtail was known as food for poor people since it contains too many fats and too long to cook. After gourmands discovered it, oxtail became an expensive item in the meat section.
If you visit the butcher shops in the Middle East, Spain, Italy, or France, you’ll see oxtails on display because it’s hugely popular and a favorite ingredient for locals. Likewise, when you eat in restaurants around Japan, Hong Kong, and Singapore, you will find oxtail specialties on their menus. The unique versatility and flavor of oxtails make them an in-demand ingredient in high-end restaurants.
Common Ingredients Of Vegan Oxtail
Oxtails are commonly used in stew or soup to bring out their maximum flavor and tender result. Slow-cooking helps achieve a rich flavor because the cartilage and tailbone turn into gelatin. But how do you create the same beefy flavor when cooking vegan oxtail? There are essential ingredients that can be used in making a plant-based oxtail dish.
Below are the most common ingredients used in cooking a vegan oxtail stew:
- Cooked chickpeas
- Jack fruit
- Sweet peppers
- Oyster mushrooms
- Cooked bantu beans
Put the beans, vegetables, and other plant ingredients in your blender or food processor to mix them all together. Shape them into a loaf and insert the celery sticks to imitate the oxtail marrow. Cover the bottom of your slow cooker with mixed veggies and dry beans. Tie the loaf around with a rope to copy the appearance of oxtails.
Now, since you want to avoid using animal-derived oxtails, you can easily find the best substitute for it. Here are some of the best vegan alternatives for store-bought oxtails:
- Tempeh refers to fermented soybeans that are often mixed with other grains to create more texture and flavor. The nutty flavor and meaty texture of tempeh make it a good alternative to oxtail. It only needs a short cooking time, so make sure to add the bite-sized pieces when you’re almost done cooking. As an all-around substitute for meat, tempeh contains a lot of nutrients including 9 g of calcium, 9 mg of sodium, 15 g of proteins, 54% of manganese, 9% calcium, 12% iron, and 162 calories per 84 g of serving. Plus, it tastes so good and blends well with other flavors and textures.
- Portabello mushroom has a similar texture to beef, just remove the gills using a spoon to completely discard them. Slice the mushrooms into strips and marinate in your soup seasoning for 3 minutes. Cook it for a few minutes and then set it aside. Add the mushroom strips to your vegan oxtail when it’s already cooked. The best thing about portabello mushrooms is that they are low in calories but rich in flavor. It also contains 6% protein, 9% potassium, 1/2 g of fat, and 22 calories per 100 g of serving. This flavor-rich vegan alternative to oxtails is really tasty and healthy.
- Jackfruit is a fruit that surprisingly tastes like meat. The stringy fibers in the creamy pods give it a meaty-like texture. However, this may not be easy to find, so buying canned jackfruit can be a good option. This unique oxtail alternative is rich in B vitamins, potassium, and protein. One cup serving contains 3 g of protein, 3 g of fiber, and 155 calories. Moreover, jackfruit is also rich in manganese, copper, potassium, magnesium, and vitamin A and C. Gather the pods, boil them for up to 30 minutes, and strip them off to create a pulled pork-like texture. Then add it to your vegan oxtail stew at the end of the cooking time.
- Seitan is based on wheat gluten, making it rich in protein. Even so, the proteins don’t contain the complete amino acids, so it’s not that nutritional. It’s better to find a brand that is not processed too much. Also, seitan is generally made with high-sodium content so it’s important to reduce the amount of salt you will use in your vegan oxtail recipe. You can add seitan into your vegan oxtail recipe as it shreds like stewed meat. It contains 1/2 g of fat, 21 g of proteins, 8% of iron, 4% of calcium, 16% of selenium, and 104 calories per 28 g of serving. It’s a good source of nutrients that you need for your plant-based oxtail dish.
There’s a lot to choose from when it comes to vegan oxtail substitutes, but make sure to use the healthiest and most convenient alternative for you. These vegan options have rich flavors and are delightfully savory, especially for soup recipes.
Health Benefits Of Vegan Oxtail
In Korea and Japan, flawless skin is achieved by eating natural bioavailable collagen found in stewed pig feet, braised beef feet, and beef oxtail soup. These dishes are also rich in protein, bone marrow, and fat that are all good for the skin. Natural collagen and these essential nutrients contribute to smooth-looking skin.
On the other hand, vegan oxtail still offers these health benefits despite not using original oxtails from cattle. The ingredients including celery, carrot, garlic cloves, jackfruit, and other veggies are rich in vitamins and minerals that keep the body healthy. The following are the main benefits of eating vegan oxtail:
- Healthy skin and hair. The vitamin C and other nutrients you get from eating vegan oxtail help maintain healthy skin and hair.
- Low in saturated fats. The plant-derived ingredients in vegan oxtail can improve your heart health while protecting you against cancer and other life-threatening diseases.
- Promote weight loss. With strictly plant-based ingredients, it’s easier to manage weight loss while keeping the body healthy and strong.
- Manage diabetic symptoms. A vegan diet including vegan oxtail helps lower A1C levels for people with diabetes.
- Reduce the risk of cancer. The essential vitamins that vegan oxtail contains including vitamins A, C, D, and E, beta-carotene, selenium, and other antioxidants are known to prevent cancer.
- Prevent the development of heart disease. With essential fatty acids, iron, B vitamins, and protein, vegan oxtail is a healthy delicacy to include in your diet to boost heart health.
Every day, more people choose vegan alternatives to create a healthier and more flavorful version of their favorite foods. In 2019, The Economist reported that 25% of Americans in the age group 25-34 claim they are vegetarians. In the same year, veganism reaches its peak according to Chef’s Pencil, a popular food blog website.
Many people believe that having discipline when it comes to eating a healthy diet is the most important thing to learn from being a vegan. It may seem like a big sacrifice to avoid animal products and dairy, but it will reward you with optimum health in the long run. Not only that, but eating vegan foods also have societal benefits because you care about animals and their welfare.
Everyone, not only vegans, should limit the consumption of junk food, sweets, and refined grains. Even meat can be substituted with plant-based proteins for a healthier daily diet. Some of the best alternatives to oxtail include tempeh, seitan, mushrooms, and jackfruit. These are all flavorful and offer a meat-like texture that mimics the actual oxtail. If you’re looking for a better way to enjoy a bowl of oxtail soup, consider these healthy options.