Tag Archives: fake meat

Seitan doner kebab meat – who knew vegan food could be this wrong?!

13 May

Here’s another one of those posts where lovely, healthy Mrs “all I eat is vegetables” Veg makes something that looks really wrong and unhealthy. Something normally reserved for the journey home from the pub on a Friday or Saturday night. I can’t make any health claims at all, but at least it’s better for you than the real thing (and, come to think of it, better for the lambs and whatever other poor critters end up in the kebab), and it comes with SALAD for goodness sake!

I’ve finally got the hang of making good seitan and I absolutely love it. I don’t make it very often, because vital wheat gluten is pretty expensive here in the UK, but the cost and effort involved is totally worth it because it’s crazily good. It’s the chewiest and most satisfying vegetarian meat I know, and because you can flavour it and shape it however you like it’s brilliantly versatile.

Whenever Mr Veg and I eat seitan, one of us will always observe that it could make excellent doner meat. The seitan recipe I normally use comes out a little on the beefy side, so it needed some work to change the flavour. I halved the amount of soy sauce to make it lighter, and added carrots to the broth to make it sweeter. I’ve also added typical doner spices to the seitan itself.

Recipe notes:

  • I based the recipe on Isa Chandra Moskowitz’s Simmered Seitan from Isa Does It. You could use a different recipe if you prefer, but adapt it as described above.
  • If you prefer a stronger spicy flavour, you could try frying the seitan in the cumin and coriander rather than adding them to the raw dough. This could also work if you want to use shop-bought seitan rather than making your own.

Recipe (makes two very generous portions):

For the seitan:

  • 1 litre vegetable stock
  • 1 medium carrot, finely chopped
  • 1 cup vital wheat gluten
  • 3 tablespoons nutritional yeast flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon each ground cumin and coriander
  • 1/2 cup cold water
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced to a fine paste
  • 1 tablespoon tomato puree
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil

Everything else:

  • 6 small pitta breads, warmed and split open
  • Chilli sauce or garlic mayo
  • Salad
  • Pickled jalapeños

Put the vegetable stock and the chopped carrot in a large saucepan and bring to the boil.

While you’re waiting for the pan to boil, mix together the VWG, nooch, cumin and coriander together in a medium-sized bowl. In a small jug, combine the cold water, garlic, tomato puree, and soy sauce. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix quickly until it starts to come together as a ball of dough. Knead this ball for a minute or two until smooth and elastic.

Chop the ball of dough into four equal pieces, and drop these into the boiling stock and simmer for 45 minutes. Keep an eye on the pan and do not let it boil.

Drain the seitan and allow to cool a little. Don’t throw away the cooked carrots – you could add them to a soup or stew later.

Slice the cooled seitan as thinly as you can. Allow to dry out for 10 minutes or so while you prepare the pittas, sauces, and salad.

Heat the oil in a wok or large saucepan over a medium to high heat. Fry the sliced seitan in the oil for 10 minutes until it’s as greasy or crispy as you prefer.

Serve the seitan in pittas, topped with sauce and salad. Enjoy with a beer or two and try to resist the urge to drop half of it on the pavement.

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Veganizing a Mrs Veg classic – breakfast muffins

6 Apr

One of the most popular posts on my blog to date is the veggie bacon and egg muffins from August 2013. It does bother me a little that on a mostly healthy, mostly plant-powered blog, the thing I’m most recognised for is neither of those things. The vegan version is still junk food, still delicious, but just a little healthier. Here’s how I veganized it:

  • The English muffin can obviously stay, just check the ingredients as some contain milk.
  • You can get vegan cheese singles, but I’d much rather use a lovely thick layer of guacamole. Vegan cheese just sounds wrong, I can’t bring myself to try it. The healthy fat from the avocado satisfies my cheese craving, but unlike vegan cheese you can actually see what it’s made out of when you look at it.
  • The fried egg is replaced by fried or grilled tofu. On this occasion I used Cauldron smoked tofu, but plain tofu marinated overnight would work just as well.
  • A rasher or two of veggie bacon. In the original I think I used Quorn Bacon Style Rashers, which contain egg. I’ve now switched to Cheatin’ Rashers, which don’t. Tempeh bacon would also be an excellent choice.

The next stage is to make it classier, but that’s a post for another day.

A very veggie Christmas

21 Dec

“So, what do you eat for Christmas dinner?”

It’s the one question all meat-eaters want to ask vegetarians and vegans at this time of year. It’s no surprise they’re curious, food seems like one of the most important aspects of Christmas, and for many people the idea of Christmas day without a massive dead bird in the oven seems a bit weird. To answer their question, and to make a few suggestions, here are a few things I’ve had for my veggie Christmases over the years.

Nothing

I don’t mean nothing at all. What I mean is nothing extra. Pile your plate high with roast potatoes, parsnips, sprouts, stuffing balls, Yorkshire puddings, and drown the whole lot in some lovely vegetarian gravy. I’ve read comments from other vegetarians complaining about being forgotten at Christmas meals and being given a plate of side dishes, but when the side dishes make the meal you don’t really need anything else!

Nut roast

The mainstay of the office Christmas lunch has a terrible reputation, but when it’s done right it’s a fab choice. It’s tasty, satisfying and super healthy, and it’s brilliant for leftovers. Don’t go for a dull, brown packet-mix. Instead, scour the internet for a festive recipe that has things you like in it. To name just a few:

Pie

I’m the only vegetarian in my immediate family, so when I spend Christmas day with them I tend to make my own meat alternative, usually a pie of some sort. Making something different for just one person does sound kind of lonely, but I see it as a real treat, a chance to have whatever I want. Unfortunately I am a creature of habit and tend to always want the same thing – a brie and mushroom parcel. I’ve recently cut out dairy completely, so next time I’m with my parents for Christmas I’ll probably make a mushroom and something else parcel (pine nuts would be lovely). As a rough guide, 100g of puff pastry to 100g of filling makes a generous pie or pasty for one person.

Speaking of mushrooms, one of the nicest meals I ever had was a beautiful mushroom strudel. It was probably nothing more than wild mushrooms cooked with garlic, wrapped in filo pastry, but despite its simplicity it was so special.

Fake meat

I don’t eat an awful lot of fake meat. It’s high in protein but nutritionally it doesn’t have a lot else going for it. I prefer whole foods. However, it is a fun option if you fancy a nostalgic treat, and you can use it to make a very traditional-looking Christmas dinner. A fake meat extravaganza is the usual choice for Christmas dinner in the Veg household, where the vegetarians (me, Mr Veg and his little bro) outnumber the one meat eater (my mother-in-law, AKA Southern Mum). There are several brands of vegetarian chicken-style roasts now, we normally have a couple of these so there will be plenty of leftovers.

I love making veggie pigs in blankets to go with it. Just brush some vegetarian bacon slices with a little oil, and wrap around your favourite vegetarian sausages, hold together with cocktail sticks and bake in the oven for about 20 minutes.

A slightly unusual alternative to this that I’ve tried very recently is a shiitake and leek stuffed seitan roast from Isa Chandra Moskowitz: http://www.theppk.com/2011/11/seitan-roast-stuffed-with-shiitakes-and-leeks/. It’s dense and chewy and really tasty, and the best thing is you can adapt the stuffing and other flavourings to suit you.

The only bad Christmas meal I ever had

I’ve written more than once about chefs who don’t have a clue about what to cook for vegetarians and this is probably the worst experience I’ve had in that respect. The vegetarian option for the office Christmas lunch a few years ago was described only as a vegetarian suet pudding. It could have been lovely, but sadly it was suet pastry wrapped around unseasoned, mealy lentils. It probably would have been ok if there was some gravy or other sauce but sadly there wasn’t. It was dry and bland and a real disappointment.

I’d love to hear what other vegetarians and vegans have for Christmas dinner, please let me know your best and worst experiences.

Wishing you all a safe and happy Christmas and New Year!

Totally un-posh vegetarian breakfast

11 Aug

As a vegetarian and wannabe vegan, it’s very important to me that the majority of my meals are healthy, well-balanced, and mostly plant-based. I don’t like to eat junk food too often (and I do count fake meat as junk food) but when I do, I like to go all out and do it in style.

It has been a very long time since I last went to McDonalds, but I remember that the only thing on the menu that I genuinely liked was the egg mcmuffin. It’s so easy to recreate at home, all you need is:

  • an English muffin
  • a cheese single (the nasty plastic-wrapped stuff, real cheese is too good and will not work)
  • a fried egg, preferably cooked in a non-stick cooking ring
  • either a couple of slices of vegetarian bacon, or some packet sausage mix made up into a little patty

Yes, there are much classier breakfast things you can make with a muffin and an egg (or some tofu), but sometimes only junk will do.

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