Last year, my friend took me to a popular local bar in my hometown called “Dirty Oscar’s Annex”. I had just turned 21, and it was the first 21 and over place I had ever been to. We had a drink and some dinner, and I ordered the most amazing, most heart-attack worthy burger with a side of cheesy bacon fries (as if the burger wasn’t bad enough). The burger is called the “Dead Elvis”. It was about 2 months before I was introduced to the vegan lifestyle, and I now know how unhealthy and cruel the meal really is. However, I knew I had to recreate it.
People always ask me why I would enjoy eating mock meat or fake meat. The answer is: Virtually nobody goes vegan because they don’t like the taste and texture of animal products. However, what people do not realize is that animal products taste so good because they are seasoned with…plants. You really can still enjoy the same taste and texture of the real thing without the health risks and without destroying the planet.
I wanted to enjoy the Elvis burger again, but I knew that I had to find a way to make it vegan.
Unlike most of my other recipes, I was not too concerned on how healthy my recreation is. I used more processed foods that I normally would, and while this is not something I would eat every single day, it is still much healthier than the original.
The first step to recreating this meal was to see what all was in the Elvis burger. It is seriously like nothing else I have ever tried before. After some researching, the burger contains: A beef patty, bacon, fried banana, fried egg, peanut butter, mayo, and a toasted bun.
My friends, veganizing this recipe was easier than ever!
For the patty, I knew I didn’t want to make a classic veggie burger since I wanted something that would perfectly imitate ground beef. The Beyond Meat burger is amazing and is by far my favorite store-bought veggie burger.
I had made bacon out of tempeh before, so I knew I would easily just make that since I have yet to find store-bought vegan bacon that I like.
I decided to finally try the Follow Your Heart vegan egg since I have always enjoyed the brand.
Surprise: banana and peanut butter are vegan. I had never cooked banana before, but I must say that they turned out pretty good!
Vegenaise by Follow Your Heart is an amazing product on the market.
For the fries, I figured I could either make them on my own or just get some store bought ones-I chose the latter for 1. time and 2. Trader Joe’s has awesome frozen fries. I decided to make tempeh bacon bits and a homed vegan queso. I knew that I could make the results just as good (if not better) than the original.
I will say, it took quite a bit of time to make everything. I had to cook the burgers and the egg early and reheat it later. I only have a few small burners and one large one (gotta love apartment life), so I could only make so much at one time. Still, with the help of my boyfriend, we managed to make it!
For assembly: toast the buns, add vegenaise and peanut butter on the bottom, then add patty, tempeh bacon, vegan egg, and banana chutney (I just cooked a sliced banana in maple syrup and added cinnamon…super easy). It ended up being the biggest vegan burger I’ve made to date.
I didn’t have time to make my own fries, so I just made some Trader Joe’s brand ones that turned out great! The vegan queso was difficult to keep warm and smooth (because I had to cook so many things at once), but still turned out amazing. I must say, the “cheesy bacon” fries were a total highlight and something that I want to make all the time….hey, it’s not really unhealthy, is it?
The burger results: yummmmmmm! I am not even lying: I like mine so much more! My vegan version has much more flavor, better texture, and much healthier (though I wouldn’t call it healthy). I can’t believe it took me so long to make it, but it is definitely fitting to make it now since I just celebrated my 22nd birthday, and it really shows how far I have come in a year.
I have learned that a healthy lifestyle is so important, and that I can still enjoy the same foods that I used to, but in moderation. Plus, the vegan version is almost always healthier, so I don’t have to feel as guilty to indulge. Not that I feel like I have to feel guilty, I just really like to prioritize eating healthy because I feel so much better when I do.
Another thing I’ve learned: Anything can be veganized. It is so possible to make all of your old favorite foods. The vegan lifestyle does not have to be restrictive! It just takes some creativity and/or some awesome products on the market!
Whatever foods you used to love, I say try and recreate all of them! I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised!
If something is made right, it will taste good! Doesn’t matter if it’s vegan or not!
After this long, life-changing year, I can confirm that!
I hope to show that going vegan or eating healthy isn’t so bad after all, in fact, it’s kinda awesome!
With all that said, I hope you’re having an awesome beginning of Summer and I hope you get some time to enjoy time with friends and family and the great outdoors!