Here's a vegan spin on a little treat I like to have for St. Patrick's Day*.
*I had plans to make a bunch of veganized Irish food, until everyone raided the grocery stores and started to quarantine, so the rest may be delayed based on what I can get my hands on.
OK GUYS - this was my first time ever making homemade seitan, so be kind, I am still learning. And let's be real, I do NOT remember what corned beef tastes like whatsoever, so I am using "vegan corned beef" very lightly. I took inspiration from different recipes I found on the internet and went with it.
I think what really made this great was using homemade vegan Worcestershire sauce (which traditionally contains fish), using apple cider vinegar, brown sugar, soy sauce, onion powder, garlic powder, and dijon mustard, simmered on low heat for just a few minutes. Seriously, while my seitan was cooking, it smelled exactly how I remember my mom cooking up some sort of beef wayyy back in the day when we ate meat - it was pretty bizarre.
What is seitan?
Seitan ("say-tan" or "say-tahn" as I say) is basically wheat gluten and water, which forms a dough that can be seasoned and cooked in many ways to mimic meat. The texture is pretty convincing as a meat substitute. Bread it, grill it, bake it, marinate it, and the list goes on.
Next time a fellow American thinks you're gross for eating seitan, remind them that wheat gluten has been around and used in other cultures for centuries. We're talking since at least the 6th century.
Though seitan is not a complete protein (it lacks lysine), it's still high in protein - you can easily make up for this by adding a complete protein to the meal. It's also lower in carbs, calories, and fat. Not everyone should have seitan however, since it is pure gluten. Anyone with gluten intolerance or celiac disease should avoid seitan. I would say to have it in moderation as well, like most other meat substitutes.
The process of making wheat gluten from wheat flour can take some time. Luckily you can buy vital wheat gluten, which is the powdered form of wheat gluten and can be used to make seitan. I've seen it in the organic/healthy aisle at most local grocery stores, but I bought this bag of Anthony's Premium Vital Wheat Gluten from Amazon. You can also buy already prepared seitan, however I did once and I was not a fan. I really enjoyed making it myself and can't wait to experiment with it more. Next time, I am going to form the dough a bit better because it was very hard for me to make consistent and thin slices.
1 cup + 1 tbsp vital wheat gluten
1 cup water
1/4 cup almond flour (I used almond flour because it's what I have on hand - generally I see chickpea flour used in other recipes)
5 cups of vegetable broth (I used Orrington Farms vegan broth base)
1/4 cup red wine
1/3 cup soy sauce
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
3 tbsp vegan Worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 1/2 - 2 tbsp vegan Worcestershire (up to preference)
pinch of clove spice
pinch of allpice
1/4 tsp black pepper
dressing (vegan mayo, ketchup, vegan Worcestershire sauce, diced pickles)
Make The Seitan
In a bowl, add the vital wheat gluten and flour, then add the water and mix to form dough.
Move the dough to a flat surface and begin kneading. Make sure to knead for at least 5 minutes. Make sure the dough is springy - you may need to add a bit more vital wheat gluten.
Let the dough rest while you prepare the broth. Pour all ingredients into a big pot. Please note that the dough is going to EXPAND, so use a big enough pot.
Bring the broth to a boil and reduce heat to a very low simmer.
Cut the dough into 3 or 4 pieces to allow them to soak up the broth better and place them in the pot.
Let them simmer for about an hour, uncovered.
Remove from heat, let the pieces soak and cool off some, then remove and slice away!
You'll be left with a decent amount and can use just some or all to continue on with the next part for the reubens.
Sauce the Seitan
In a skillet over medium heat, saute the onions.
Prepare the mixture of soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, and spices in a small bowl.
Once onions start to become translucent, add the garlic cloves.
After a minute, add your seitan slices. Once they start to get some brown spots flip them over and let the other side cook.
Once the slices seem done, pour your sauce mixture over and flip the seitan slices to coat. Remove from heat.
Reubens - ASSEMBLE!
In a small bowl, mix a scoop of vegan mayo, a slightly lesser amount of ketchup, a few drops of vegan Worcestershire, and some diced pickles. (Alternately, leave the pickles out and just put a layer of pickles on the sandwich).
Take 2 slices of rye bread and spread a thin layer of vegan butter.
On a pan over medium heat, toast the rye bread slices.
Remove and assemble the sandwich with a layer of seitan, cooked sauerkraut, and the dressing.
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