Tag Archives: salad

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.


Puttanesca tabbouleh

4 Apr

This recipe is pretty low-key, but I just wanted to demonstrate the weird and wonderful dishes you can come up with when you just throw a bunch of ingredients in a bowl and see what happens. A good number of my recipes were invented on the hoof, my particular favourite being lentil curry with noodles AKA noo-dal. When I invented this salad, I needed an all-in-one carby veggie side dish to go with a quiche I was making (the recipe for which will follow in a couple of days). I came up with this and was really happy with the result. It’s tasty and tangy without dominating the plate.

A quick note on the recipe: It’s not a typo, I really do measure grains by volume in a measuring jug rather than by weighing it out, it’s so much easier.

Recipe (serves 2-3 as a side dish):

  • 100ml quinoa
  • 100ml bulgur wheat
  • 300ml boiling water
  • ½ ts salt
  • 4 tomatoes, chopped
  • Approx. 12 black olives, sliced
  • 1 tb capers, finely chopped
  • 1 tb lemon juice
  • 1 tb basil, finely chopped

Put the quinoa and bulgur wheat in a small saucepan over a hot heat. Allow to toast for a few seconds. Add the boiling water and salt, stir, bring to the boil and stir again. Boil for a couple of minutes, then turn the heat right down and cover the pan. Simmer for 10-15 minutes until all the water has been absorbed. The grains should be tender, and tiny white spirals will have started to pop out of the quinoa. Leave to cool.

Tip the cooled grains into a big bowl and fluff with a fork. Add the rest of the ingredients, mix well with a spoon or spatula and serve.

Pesto pasta salad

19 May

I’m pretty good at making the effort to make a packed lunch to take to work, usually some salad or home-made soup. But no matter how disciplined you are, there will be some days when you find that (a) you don’t have the time (b) you’ve run out of food at home, or (c) a certain person has taken your lunchbox to work and accidentally left it there. I recently found myself in this position and decided to pop into the shop on the way to work to buy a nice healthy salad. The vegetarian choice wasn’t great that day and I ended up with this:


It filled a hole, but it was a bit disappointing. It looked really good but tasted bland, didn’t have enough vegetables in it to justify calling it a salad and it was coated in an unhealthy slick some kind of green oil that claimed to be pesto dressing. I was left feeling I could have done a much better job of it myself.

So here is my version: healthier, tastier, cheaper, and not swimming in oil (recipe below).


Serves 1

  • 75-100g wholewheat pasta (dry weight)
  • A good dollop of vegetarian or vegan pesto (good quality shop bought, or home-made)
  • A handful of something green and leafy, sliced (the shop version used spinach, I used chard, but anything green would be great)
  • A handful of cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 tablespoon pine nuts, toasted

Cook the pasta according to the instructions on the packet. Drain and leave to cool.

Steam the green veggies, leave to cool.

Combine the pasta, greens and pesto. Top with the tomatoes and pine nuts.

%d bloggers like this: