Although he’s not strictly a vegan himself, my dad is always coming up with ideas on how to make non-vegan foods vegan-friendly with as little sacrifice in flavor and texture as possible; while also trying to keep it soy-free. Today’s super tasty, soy-free, vegan-friendly, and totally satisfying sweet and sour “pork” recipe comes from him.
The trick to this recipe is the pork replacement. As I’ve said before I’m not a fan of soy or soy based products and generally try and avoid it. So instead of traditional pork replacement we’ll be taking the very lovely MINI potato gnocchi, cooking it, battering it, and deep frying it. Thus turning it into epic gnocchi balls, perfect for stir fries. The name is interchangeable, sometimes we’ll call them poppers because you just want to pop em’ in your mouth and eat them! They’re so good! The crunch is perfect and the gnocchi inside is such a wonderful texture when eating as a popper or with the stir fry. Heck stick toothpicks in them and serve them as an appetizer.
You can use store bought mini potato gnocchi (pasta aisle) or you can make your own. If you have the time we recommend that you make your own so you know what’s in them and can even season them more accurately to the pork in sweet and sour pork. We’ll be using store bought mini gnocchi in this recipe for simplicity.
To get the timing right you should cook your gnocchi as directed to get it out of the way. Then cut up the veggies for the stir fry and get all of that ready to go, and start your rice. After that, make your beer batter and then start cooking the stir fry and deep frying.
Vegan Sweet and Sour “Pork”
This recipe serves about 6-7
- 1 Red Onion
- 1 Red Bell Pepper
- 1 Green Bell Pepper
- 1 Green Chili Pepper
- 4 Carrots
- 3 Celery Stalks
- 1 Can Pineapple Chunks + 1/2 Cup of the Can's Juice
- 2 Tbsp Olive Oil
- 1 Cup water
- 1 Tbsp Onion Powder
- 1 Tbsp Garlic Powder
- 1 Tbsp Paprika
- 1 Tsp Ginger
- 2 Tsp Salt
- 3 Tbsp Molasses
- 1/2 Cup Brown Sugar
- 1/2 Cup Vinegar
- 2 Tbsp Corn Starch
Chop up all of the veggies and set aside. Put olive oil into a wok or large frying pan then add in the carrots and mix, letting it cook for a few minutes.
Add in about a cup of water. Then add in the seasonings: onion powder, garlic powder, paprika, ginger, and salt. Mix and add in the molasses, brown sugar, and vinegar. Mix again.
Now add the rest of the veggies and cook until almost desired tenderness. Add in the pineapple chunks and juice.
Once desired tenderness is reached thicken it up with the cornstarch. Place the cornstarch in a small cup or dish and add in some COLD water, string well so it becomes a liquid. Add cornstarch to stir fry, mix well and serve over rice with the deep fried gnocchi balls.
Almost done, we just need to thicken it up with the corn starch.
Now it's all thickened up and ready to serve.
Vegan Beer Batter Deep Fry
- 1 1/2 Cups White Flour
- 1 Tbsp Salt
- 1 Tbsp Baking Powder
- 1 1/2 Tbsp Onion Powder
- 1 1/2 Tbsp Garlic Powder
- 1 Tbsp Corn Starch
- 1 Tbsp Sugar
- 1 1/4 Cans of Beer
Put all of the dry ingredients into a mixing bowl and then add the beer. Whisk it all together. Add in the cooked potato gnocchi, covering them with batter and spoon into preheated oil for deep frying. Turn as needed and cook until golden brown. Carefully take them out and place onto drying rack and/or paper towels to cool.
If you don’t have a deep fryer you can use a deep wok or pan. Here is a tutorial for deep frying with and without a deep fryer. If you deep fry a whole packet of gnocchi you'll have plenty of gnocchi for every serving plus a little left over for snacking while cooking. Snack away!
Once all of your gnocchi balls are fried and your sweet and sour stir fry is done serve over rice and enjoy! The photo below is from a different night using the same general idea. This is definitely a new favorite of ours.
For a little side fun we also deep fried some jalapenos which were amazing. You can also try the poppers / potato gnocchi balls with other meals as a deep fried meat replacement or like I said stick toothpicks in them and set up a few dipping sauces and have at 'em. I hope you enjoyed this recipe and I hope you have a great week!