Hail pre-made seitan for quick, easy meals

 

seitan combo

Both these dishes were made from the same basic ingredient – seitan.

This has not been my best summer. My little cat, Molly, has been extremely ill and I’ve been to-ing and fro-ing daily to the vet after work to visit with her and feed her dinner. On top of that I was tossed on the city bus by a race-car-wannabe driver who left me lamed up and in pain with a smashed ankle. The good news – I’m healing nicely and so is Molly who has received the best of veterinary care.

Last week, my friends, Stephanie and Britton, announced their new business – The Seitanists. They make the most delicious seitan, vacuum sealed and frozen, ready to use as a super easy and fast meal ingredient. Stephanie asked me to try out their seitan and see what I thought.

What I thought is buying already-made seitan is a genius idea for busy people. It was a great solution for me with my full schedule and inability to stand for any amount of time.

I used The Seitanists’ cutlets to make two very different dishes – a spicy stir fry and pan-fried schnitzel medallions.  Check it out.

Seitanic stir fry with a hot, five-spice marinade

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For this stir fry, I cut one of the pre-made seitan cutlets into strips and marinated them for a couple hours. I then stir fried the strips and all the marinade with sliced onion, bell pepper, mushrooms and snow peas and served over rice.

Here’s the recipe for my marinade, which is more than enough to marinate a cup of seitan strips and nicely coat four cups of vegetables and rice.

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1 Tbsp paprika

2 teaspoons garlic powder

1/2 tsp cayenne powder

1 tsp five-spice powder

4 Tbsp tamari or soy sauce 

2 Tbsp cooking sherry 

2 Tbsp agave

 1 Tbsp sesame oil

Seitanic schnitzel medallions

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Making these little schnitzel medallions could not have been easier. I cut the seitan cutlet into medallions, dredged them in flour seasoned with salt and pepper, dipped them in almond milk and then covered them in mix of 1/2 cup panko crumbs, two tablespoons flour and two tablespoons nutritional yeast.

I pan fried the medallions in vegan margarine on medium heat until both sides were golden and crispy, then served the medallions with lemon wedges, a pink potato salad (add some beets to your regular potato salad) and sauerkraut. My German mother would have loved this.

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Hail seitan! This amazing, versatile ingredient is inexpensive, easy to work with, delicious, versatile and good for you. Thanks to ready-to-use seitan from The Seitanists, there’s no excuse ever for me not to be able to have a great meal in less than 30 minutes.

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Sham or scam – it’s a pigless ham

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Here’s one of the most ridiculously easy and delicious seitan recipes you’re ever going to find. With the investment of just a couple dollars for ingredients and a little more than 2 hours of your time (most of which will be spent watching Netflix while the sham/scam bakes), you’ll end up with a beauty of a faux ham that easily serves 4-5 people.

I had my sham/scam for dinner with sauerkraut and potatoes because I was feeling exuberantly German one night. The next night, still feeling all Teutonic, the sham/scam accompanied a pea soup (recipe to follow).

This recipe, created by Courtney Oliverez, is pretty forgiving and flexible. If you want to substitute in different spices or sweeteners go for it. Just do not play around with the cooking time or temperature or the amount of vital wheat gluten.

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Ingredients

Mix in a blender

14 oz can beets, juice and all (not pickled beets)

½ cup water

3-4 Tbsp brown sugar (I find 3 tablespoons is plenty but if you think you want it sweeter, go for the full 4 tablespoons). You could also try maple syrup for a deeper flavour. I haven’t done this yet.

¼ cup olive oil (or peanut oil)

3 Tbsp liquid smoke (yes, that seems like a lot but trust me on this).

2 Tbsp onion powder

2 Tbsp garlic powder (or as I discovered, 1 Tbsp garlic powder and one clove garlic work too)

3 Tbsp miso (either red or white)

1 tsp ground ginger

2 tsp sea or kosher salt (Measure this. With the amount of miso already in this recipe, your sham/scam can end up pretty salty very quickly if you over do the salt)

½ to 1 tsp pepper (preferrably white)

Mix in a large bowl

2 cups vital wheat gluten

¼ cup chickpea flour, almond flour or regular flour

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Directions

Pour the blender ingredients into the bowl of flour. Combine everything with a spoon or your hands (I use my hands). You will end up with a very unappetizing pink and brain-like bowl of goop. Oh boy!

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The unappetizing brain-like dough. 

Let this mix stand for 15 minutes.

Preheat your oven to 325F.

After 15 minutes, lay a large sheet of heavy duty tin foil out on your counter. Place the dough mix on the foil and shape into an oval loaf. Wrap the dough thoroughly and tightly but leaving a bit of room for the dough to expand. I like to double wrap my seitan, and if you’re not using heavy duty foil, I strongly recommend you double wrap, making sure all the seams are sealed.**

At this point I like to “burp the baby”. Pat and smack the dough to help spank out air bubbles because you do not want an airy, bready loaf.

Place the wrapped dough on a sheet and bake for 2 hours. Remove from the oven and let cool. Seitan is always best if it’s allowed to cool for a minimum of 8 hours in the fridge, but I have to be honest, I almost always eat a slice of sham/scam as soon as it’s cool enough to handle because it’s that good

Out of the oven

Here’s my sham/scam right out of the oven and unwrapped — a fragrant thing of dubious beauty!

** What’s with all the security?? Seitan can explode in the oven if it’s not wrapped well. By the way, that is not my photo; I haven’t experienced the seitanic explosion yet.

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A seitanic explosion caused by poorly wrapped dough. Don’t let this happen to you.

 

 

Chinese-style BBQ porc – it’s the year of the vegan pig

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Hey, most people don’t go vegan because they don’t like eating meat. They go vegan (usually) because they love animals more.

But vegans are a clever bunch and truly, anything can be made into a vegan dish. Take this Chinese-style BBQ pork. This dish ticks all the meaty boxes for look, feel and taste. It’s delicious and easy though you do have to be patient since there’s a lot of “let it rest” and “marinade” business going on. Your hands on time, however is probably 15 minutes!

I have taken this recipe almost exactly from the excellent blog Runaway Rice (she also has a Youtube video of this recipe). My one notable exception is that I wrapped my seitan in foil, rather than her recommended corn husks.

Let’s get started.

Ingredients

For the seitan

3/4 cup warm water
1/2 Tbsp soy sauce
1/8 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking powder
2/3 cup vital wheat gluten
1/2 Tbsp vegetable oil
1/4 cup water

For the marinade

1/2 Tbsp paprika
1 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp cayenne powder
1/2 tsp 5-spice powder
2 Tbsp tamari or soy sauce
1 Tbsp cooking sherry

1 Tbsp agave

1/2 Tbsp sesame oil

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Directions

In a large bowl combine the water, soy sauce, salt and baking powder. Sift in the vital wheat gluten and mix well. Work the dough in your hands making sure all the dry vital wheat gluten is completely incorporated. Take dough in your hands and squeeze and pat it (slap it) and shape it into a large ball. The squeezing and patting  helps to compact the dough and remove any air pockets.  Flatten the dough and return it to the bowl and allow it to rest for one hour at room temperature.

Bring a large pot of water to a rapid boil.

Cut the dough into 3 equal pieces.  Loosely wrap each piece of seitan in tin foil to create a tube shape. Secure the ends by twisting the foil and folding the twist back over the body of the tube of seitan.

Add the foil-wrapped tubes of seitan to the boiling water and reduce the heat so you have a simmering boil. Simmer the seitan for 15 minutes, turning the tubes every five minutes so it cooks evenly. Remove the seitan tubes from the water and place on a plate or in a colander and allow to cool for 5 minutes before unwrapping.

At this point the seitan tubes will look and feel a lot like tofu. That’s perfect.

While the seitan is simmering, prepare the marinade by mixing all the marinade ingredients. Pour the ingredients in a dish or bowl large enough to hold the seitan, and ideally immerse as much of it as possible. Marinate the seitan for a full two hours, rotating it halfway through.

Heat a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the oil and the seitan. Pan fry the seitan on each side for 1 minutes. Pour in the marinade and about 1/3 cup water. Continue to fry the seitan in marinade, turning it every few minutes. Cook for about 5 minutes total until the marinade has reduced down to a caramelized glaze.

Remove from heat and use a sharp knife to cut into medallions.

Makes 2-4 servings.

 

Vegan Singapore noodles with seitanic chicken

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I have always loved Singapore noodles but it just never occurred to me to try making them at home. I wish I had done this so much sooner because they’re easy to make with some pretty basic ingredients (once you get your head wrapped around the idea you can to make your own chicken in your own kitchen with nary a drop of blood spilled).

Most Singapore noodle recipes include shrimp, chicken and/or barbeque pork. I created my own seitan meat (a/k/a the vital wheat beast) for this dish that combines the savoury flavoury best of all these creatures without any of the pain or death. Yeah!

Let’s get going. The wheat beast takes an hour to make. Check out my next recipe for how to make the seitanic chicken. The rest comes together in about 20 minutes. Easy peasy.

Ingredients

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227g (8 ounces) of rice vermicelli (it usually comes in 454g packages so just use half a package)

1 red pepper julienned

1 small onion cut in half and then in thin slices

2 carrots julienned

1 rib celery cut into thin slices

1 cup of frozen or fresh peas (thaw the peas if you use frozen)

Optional but nice – 1 cup of shredded savoy cabbage or napa cabbage

1 batch of Seitanic chicken a/k/a the vital wheat beast sliced then cut into small strips

1-3 chili peppers sliced very thin (or leave out or use more but the 3 I used made for a very hot dish)

1 Tbsp cooking sherry

2 Tbsp curry powder

1/8 tsp ground cloves

1/8 tsp cinnamon

1/8 tsp ground ginger

3/4 tsp agave nectar (or 1 tsp sugar)

1 Tbsp water

2 -3 Tbsp soy sauce (depending on how salty you like your food)

1 Tbsp toasted sesame oil

1 Tbsp peanut or coconut oil

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Directions

Cook the rice vermicelli according to package directions. They will take about 1 minute in boiling water. Drain and set aside. Once they’re cool enough to handle, cut or tear into shorter pieces so they’re easier to stir fry and eat.

Heat the peanut or coconut oil in large skillet or wok. Add the onion, red pepper, chilis, carrot and celery and stir for one minute. Add the peas, cabbage if using, the seitan, the curry powder, sesame oil, sherry and soy sauce and combine and heat through. Turn off the heat and add the noodles. Stir and toss until the noodles are completely coated in the sauce and are a golden colour. I found it was easiest to toss the noodles using tongs.

Serve up and enjoy!

Seitanic chicken – a/k/a the vital wheat beast

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Don’t let the lumpy ugliness of this “loaf” fool you. This is chicken-flavoured seitan and it’s ridiculously delicious! Does it taste like chicken? I honestly don’t remember. I can tell you that it’s savoury, flavourful yet light, and has the perfect texture – not too chewy and not too moist. It’s also extremely easy to make, requires no skill, and is kind to your budget.

The intended destination for this wheat beast is my Singapore noodles.

Ingredients

Dry ingredients

3/4 cup vital wheat flour

1/4 cup chickpea flour

1 1/2 Tbsp almond meal

2 Tbsp nutritional yeast

1/2 tsp poultry seasoning

1 teaspoon paprika

1 teaspoon onion powder

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

Wet ingredients

1/2 cup water

1 Tbsp olive oil

1 Tbsp soy sauce

The broth

4 cups vegetable broth

1 Tbsp barbecue sauce

Seitan

Directions

Combine the broth and BBQ sauce and bring it to a boil in a deep pot. You want a vessel where the seitan will be covered in broth but have room to expand a little. While the broth is heating up, make the seitan.

In a medium sized bowl, mix the dry ingredients. Add the wet ingredients. Combine and knead into a ball.

Place the dough ball directly into the pot of broth and reduce the broth to a simmer. Simmer covered for 45 minutes. Remove the seitan from the broth and onto a plate. Allow it to sit for 15 minutes or more before slicing and serving.

I confess, although I made the seitan to go into another dish, I DID eat a whole slice just on its own because it was that more-ish. I think this seitan would be great as a Sunday dinner with mashed potatoes and gravy and a green veggie.

Seitanically good bbq ribs!

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I’m just started a new job, which means I spend time with a lot of new people who are curious about my vegan diet. One thing I’ve been asked a lot is “what was the hardest food to give up” or “what do you miss the most”.

The straight up answer: I missed cheese the most, though I’m over that now that I’ve discovered many great commercial brands and make my own cheeses too. I missed bacon a lot, but that’s over too thanks to rice paper bacon and an even deeper love for the living pigs I’ve met.

But sometimes I just want something meaty, chewy and barbecue-y. Thanks to “wheat meat” or what’s properly called vital wheat gluten, I can have BBQ ribs in a jiffy that satisfy my cravings and harm no one.

Wheat meat is better known as seitan (pronounced say-tan) and like its almost namesake, it’s a tempter.

Seitan is for you if you want to eat something that’s ridiculously easy to make, inexpensive, super nutritious and versatile. That would be everyone I hope.

Seitan is also for you if you just get a kick out of saying “hail seitan” like I do.

Seitan is NOT for you, if you have any gluten issues. Seitan is gluten.

This recipe is from BOSH!

Ingredients

1 cup vital wheat flour (also called vital wheat gluten or 80% wheat protein flour)

2 Tbsp nutritional yeast

1 Tbsp smoked paprika

1 Tbsp soya sauce

1 Tbsp onion powder

1 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp liquid smoke

½ tsp ground pepper

¾ cup vegetable stock

½ cup of your favourite barbecue sauce (homemade or bottled). Check the ingredient list to make sure the sauce is vegan, but it probably is.

More barbecue sauce for dipping.

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Directions

Heat your oven to 350F.

Grease a small cookie sheet or baking dish.

Mix all the ingredients in a bowl until you have a fist-sized, springy dough ball.

Using your hands, spread the dough out on a greased cookie sheet or in a baking dish so that you have a rectangle that’s about 9”x 4”.

Bake for 20 minutes then remove from the oven and spread the ½ cup barbecue sauce over the now puffed and ridiculous looking seitan (the exuberance of the seitan’s rising and springiness make me laugh). Bake for another 5 minutes.

Remove from the oven and cut into “ribs”.

That’s it. So easy. Enjoy!