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March 11, 2002

Greetings,

March 20th marks the 18th annual Great American Meatout, which is "a national observance designed to help consumers evolve to a wholesome, nonviolent diet of vegetables, legumes, grains, and fruits." For more info on the focus of the day, and a list of events, check out www.meatout.org. Basically, it encourages the kind of healthy, meatless diet that Americans (actually all members of the human race) should be eating for proper nutrition and good health, as opposed to the fast food meals, high in animal fats and cholesterol, that seem to be the basis of the standard American diet.

Americans (and citizens of other countries) would be better off by making a few simple changes in their diets, like eliminating the consumption of animal products, limiting the use of processed foods, reducing the consumption of extra added fats, sugar, and sodium, and consuming whole grains, fresh fruits, and vegetables, which are the basis of a vegan diet. By doing so, one can easily cover all of the protein, carbohydrate, fiber, vitamin, and mineral needs. The same can't be said for a diet that relies heavily on meat and dairy. Some great sites for more information about veganism and a proper diet can be found at: www.pcrm.org, www.vrg.org, www.eatveg.com, and www.vegsource.com.

Many people assume that vegans/vegetarians must rely only on soy-based products for all of their protein and dietary needs. Well the Vegan Chef is here to set the record straight, there are so many other beans and foods that can be consumed to form the basis of a well balanced diet than just the humble soybean. Don't get me wrong, I love soy, and do consume it, but not every day. There are just so many other foods out there to enjoy. In an effort to educate those new to veganism/vegetarianism or those considering giving it a try for The Great American Meatout, I offer this installment of recipes which focus on the use of other beans, vegetables, grains, and seitan (wheat gluten) as "meat substitutes," with the exception of a few recipes that do contain tamari, a soy sauce.

I hope you all will enjoy preparing them and succeed in making a few converts to veganism/vegetarianism, even if it's just for one day. It really does make a difference, here is another quote from meatout.org: "Kicking the meat habit by only one person saves 37 innocent, sentient animals annually from caging, crowding, deprivation, drugging, mutilation, manhandling, and agonizing slaughter. That works out to 2,700 in a lifetime - enough to populate a large sanctuary." As they say, that's a little food for thought. As always, be good to one another, and remember... eat your veggies! :-)

 
 

Pepper Divider

 

Bayou Bean Burgers

1 cup onion, finely diced
1 T. safflower oil
1/2 cup celery, finely diced
1/2 cup red pepper, destemmed, deseeded, and finely diced
1/2 cup green pepper, destemmed, deseeded, and finely diced
1/4 cup jalapeno pepper, destemmed, deseeded, and finely diced
2 T. garlic, minced
1 1/2 t. dried basil
1 t. dried oregano
1 t. paprika
1/8 t. cayenne pepper
2 - 15 oz. cans red beans, rinsed, and drained
3 T. tamari, soy sauce, or Bragg Liquid Aminos
3 T. ketchup
2 T. Dijon mustard
1/2 t. salt
1/4 t. freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 cups rolled oats (not instant)
safflower oil, for oiling skillet
8 hamburger buns or large rolls, split (or slices of whole grain bread)
lettuce leaves, onion and tomato slices, or other toppings of choice
condiments of choice

In a non-stick skillet, saute the onion in the safflower oil for 1 minute over medium heat. Add the celery, red pepper, green pepper, and jalapeno pepper, and saute an additional 3 minutes. Add the garlic, basil, oregano, paprika, and cayenne pepper, and saute an additional 2-3 minutes or until the vegetables are lightly browned. Remove the skillet from the heat and set aside. In a large bowl, place the red beans, and using a potato masher or spoon, roughly mash the beans. Add the tamari, ketchup, mustard, salt, and pepper, and stir well to combine. Add the sauteed vegetables, fold them into the bean mixture, then add the oats, and stir thoroughly to combine. Wipe out the non-stick skillet with a clean, lint-free towel, and reuse the skillet for cooking the burgers.

Line a large cookie sheet with parchment paper. Using a plastic 1/2 cup measuring cup, portion out 8 burgers on to the parchment paper, and press the burgers with a burger press (or your hands) to flatten them slightly. Place the cookie sheet in the refrigerator and chill the burgers for 30 minutes. Using a little safflower oil, lightly oil (or spray with a light mist of oil) the non-stick skillet. In batches, cook the burgers until well-browned on each side, about 3-5 minutes per side. Add more oil to the pan, if needed, to prevent the burgers from sticking. Serve on hamburger buns or large rolls (or slices of whole grain bread) with your choice of toppings and condiments.

*Note: you can make these burgers in larger batches, pre-cook them, and freeze them for later use. Then simply reheat them in the oven or in a nonstick skillet until heated through.

Yield: 8 burgers

 

Pepper Divider

 

Pinto Bean Sloppy Joe Sandwiches

1 cup onion, diced
1/2 cup green pepper, destemmed, deseeded, and diced
2 T. jalapeno pepper, destemmed, deseeded, and diced
1 T. olive oil
1 T. garlic, minced
1 - 15 oz. can pinto beans, rinsed, and drained
1 - 6 oz. can tomato paste
1/2 cup water
1/3 cup wheat germ
4 t. blackstrap molasses
1 T. chili powder
1 T. paprika
1 T. dried basil
1 t. dried oregano
1/2 t. salt
1/4 t. freshly ground black pepper
hot pepper sauce or Tabasco sauce, to taste
6 hamburger buns or large rolls, split (or slices of whole grain bread)

In a large non-stick skillet, saute the onion, green, and jalapeno peppers in the olive oil, for 5 minutes to soften. Add the garlic and saute for an additional 1 minute. Add remaining ingredients, season the mixture with hot pepper sauce, to taste, and simmer an additional 5 minutes. Using a fork or the back of a spoon, coarsely mash the simmering mixture, and then simmer an additional 5 minutes. Serve the mixture on hamburger buns or large rolls, or on slices of whole grain bread. The pinto bean sloppy joe mixture can also be used as a sauce on pasta, grains, or vegetables.

Yield: 6 sandwiches

 

Pepper Divider

 

Italian Lentil Ball Submarine Sandwiches

3 cups water or vegetable stock
1/2 cup lentils, sorted, and rinsed
1/2 cup brown rice, rinsed, and drained
2 t. dried basil
1 1/2 t. dried oregano
1/2 t. dried thyme
1/4 cup onion, finely diced
1/4 cup green pepper, destemmed, deseeded, and finely diced
1/4 cup red pepper, destemmed, deseeded, and finely diced
2 T. green onion, minced
2 T. freshly chopped parsley
1 T. tamari, soy sauce, or Bragg Liquid Aminos
1 t. garlic powder
1/2 t. salt
1/8 t. freshly ground black pepper
safflower oil
2-3 cups Easy Marinara Sauce (see recipe below)
6 - 6-inch submarine rolls or other soft rolls (or hot dog buns)
shredded vegan soy mozzarella cheese or other vegan cheese of choice, optional

Begin by placing the water in a medium saucepan and bring it to a boil. Add the lentils, brown rice, and dried herbs, cover the saucepan, reduce the heat to low, and simmer the mixture until the lentils are tender, about 30-40 minutes. If there is any liquid remaining in the pan, drain it off. Add the diced onion, green pepper, red pepper, green onion, parsley, garlic powder, salt, and black pepper to the lentil-brown rice mixture. Using a potato masher, mash the mixture well to combine all of the ingredients. Taste, adjust seasonings, as needed, and set mixture aside to cool slightly.

Using a little safflower oil, lightly oil a non-stick cookie sheet, and set aside. Using your hands or a small scoop, shape the cooled lentil-brown rice mixture into 24 - 1 1/4-inch balls, and place them on the prepared cookie sheet. Using your fingers, rub a little safflower oil over the top of each lentil ball. Bake at 400 degrees for 25-30 minutes, or until the lentil balls are dry to the touch and lightly browned on the outside. Remove the cookie sheet from the oven. Prepare the Easy Marinara Sauce according to the recipe instructions.

To assemble each Italian Lentil Ball Submarine Sandwich: split open the submarine roll, if needed, spoon a little of the Easy Marinara Sauce in the bottom of the roll, place 4 of the baked lentil balls in the roll, top with some additional Easy Marinara Sauce, and if desired, sprinkle a little shredded vegan soy mozzarella cheese over the top. Serve immediately. The baked lentil balls can also be served with pasta as a main dish.

Yield: 6 sandwiches

 

Pepper Divider

 

Easy Marinara Sauce

1/2 cup onion, diced
1 T. olive oil
1 T. garlic, minced
1 t. dried basil
1 t. dried oregano
1 t. salt
1/8 t. freshly ground black pepper
1 - 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes

In a medium saucepan, saute the onion in the olive oil, for 3 minutes to soften. Add the garlic and saute an additional 1-2 minutes while stirring constantly, or until fragrant but not browned. Add the dried herbs, salt, and pepper, and saute an additional 30 seconds. Add the crushed tomatoes, stir well to combine, reduce the heat to low, and simmer the mixture for 10 minutes to blend the flavors. Use as a sauce for pasta, pizza, main dishes, sandwiches, or side dishes.

Yield: 3 1/2 Cups

 

Pepper Divider

 

Basic Simmered Savory Seitan a.k.a. Gluten

1 1/2 cups vital wheat gluten
2 t. onion powder
1 t. garlic powder
1/8 t. freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 cups water or vegetable stock
2 Quarts vegetable stock

In a medium bowl, place the vital wheat gluten, onion powder, garlic powder, and black pepper, and stir lightly. Add the 1 1/2 cups water (or vegetable stock) and stir well to combine. Using your hands, knead the mixture for 1-2 minutes to form a smooth and pliable ball of dough. Divide the mixture into 2 pieces and form into logs or separate into several small pieces. Place the 2 quarts of vegetable stock in a large saucepan or pot and place the saucepan over low heat. Add the seitan pieces, cover, and simmer (do not allow to boil or it will effect the texture of the seitan) for 40-50 minutes or until firm to the touch. Remove the seitan from the broth and allow it to cool slightly before use. The seitan can be sliced, cubed, or chopped for use in recipes and the cooking liquid can be used to flavor sauces, soups, grains, main and side dishes.

Yield: 4 1/2 Cups or 5-6 servings

 

Pepper Divider

 

Blue Plate Special - Hot Seitan Sandwich

1 recipe Basic Simmered Savory Seitan (a.k.a. Gluten) (see recipe above)
1/3 cup tamari, soy sauce, or Bragg Liquid Aminos
1 - 1-inch piece of ginger, sliced
4 t. toasted sesame oil
1/8 t. freshly ground black pepper
1 recipe Portabello Mushroom Gravy (see recipe below)
6 large rolls (or slices of whole grain bread)
Side Dish Suggestions: Oven-Baked Seasoned French Fries (see recipe below) or mashed potatoes and cooked carrots and peas

Begin by preparing the Basic Simmered Savory Seitan (a.k.a. Gluten) according to the recipe instructions. Remove the pieces of seitan from the cooking liquid and immerse them in a bowl of ice water, which will "shock" them, and make the texture of the final product much firmer. Add the tamari, slices of ginger, toasted sesame oil, and black pepper to the seitan cooking liquid. Return the seitan pieces to the cooking liquid, cover, and simmer the seitan an additional 45 minutes. Remove the seitan pieces from the cooking liquid and set them a side to cool slightly. Using a very sharp knife, thinly slice the pieces of seitan, and set aside. Remove and discard the ginger slice, and reserve the seitan cooking liquid for use in making the Portabello Mushroom Gravy.

Prepare the Portabello Mushroom Gravy according to the recipe instructions. Prepare the side dish suggestions, if desired, of Oven-Baked Seasoned French Fries according to the recipe instructions, or mashed potatoes and cooked carrots and peas. To assemble the sandwiches: slice a large roll (or slices of whole grain bread) in half lengthwise (toast lightly, if desired). On the bottom part of the roll, place 2 oz. of the sliced seitan, ladle a little of the Portabello Mushroom Gravy over the top of the seitan, replace the top of the roll (or slice of whole grain bread), secure with toothpicks if desired, and cut each sandwich in half with a sharp knife. Transfer the sandwich to a plate and serve with sides of Oven-Baked Seasoned French Fries or mashed potatoes topped with a little additional Portabello Mushroom Gravy, if desired, and cooked carrots and peas for a diner or comfort food type of meal.

Serves 6

 

Pepper Divider

 

Portabello Mushroom Gravy

3/4 cup onion, diced
2 T. olive oil
3/4 cup carrot, diced
3/4 cup celery, diced
1 cup portabello mushrooms (or baby bella mushrooms), diced
2 T. toasted sesame oil
2 t. garlic, minced
1 1/2 t. dried basil
1 t. dried thyme
1/3 cup unbleached flour
3 1/2 cups cooking liquid from preparing seitan for the Blue Plate Special (see recipe above)
1/4 cup red wine
2 T. tomato paste
2 T. freshly chopped parsley

In a medium saucepan, saute the onion in the olive oil for 2 minutes to soften. Add the carrot and celery and saute an additional 5-7 minutes or until the vegetables are tender. Add the mushrooms, toasted sesame oil, garlic, and dried herbs, and saute an additional 2-3 minutes or until the mushrooms soften and the mixture is fragrant. Sprinkle the flour over the mixture, stir well to incorporate it into the vegetable mixture, and cook an additional 1 minute while stirring constantly. Slowly whisk the cooking liquid from preparing the seitan into the mixture in the saucepan. Reduce the heat to low, whisk in the remaining ingredients, and simmer the mixture for 20-25 minutes or until thickened. Remove the saucepan from the heat and allow the mixture to cool slightly. Using an immersion hand blender, blender, or food processor, puree the mixture to form a smooth or slightly chunky gravy, as desired. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed. Serve as a gravy in the recipe for the Blue Plate Special, or in other dishes, or over vegetables or grains.

Yield: 4 1/2 Cups

 

Pepper Divider

 

Oven-Baked Seasoned French Fries

1/2 t. onion powder
1/2 t. garlic powder
1/2 t. chili powder
1/2 t. paprika
1/2 t. salt
1/4 t. freshly ground black pepper
3 large russet potatoes or other potatoes of choice, washed well
2 T. olive oil, divided

Line a cookie sheet with a piece of parchment paper and set aside. In a small bowl, place the onion powder, garlic powder, chili powder, paprika, salt, and black pepper, and stir well to combine. Cut the potatoes into thin sticks or "french fries" (or wedges) and place them in a large bowl. Drizzle the olive oil over the top and toss the potatoes well to thoroughly coat them with the olive oil. Sprinkle the seasoning mixture over the potatoes and toss them well again to evenly coat the potatoes with the seasonings. Transfer the potatoes to the parchment-lined cookie sheet and spread out to form a single layer. Bake the potatoes at 450 degrees for 10 minutes. Remove the cookie sheet from the oven, stir the potatoes and then spread them out into a single layer again, return them to the oven, and bake an additional 10 minutes. Repeat the stirring and spreading out procedure again, return the cookie sheet to the oven, and bake an additional 10-15 minutes or until the potatoes are lightly browned and crispy. Serve hot.

Serves 4-6

 

Pepper Divider

 

Barbecued Seitan Strips

1 cup vital wheat gluten
3 T. nutritional yeast flakes
2 t. onion powder
1 t. garlic powder
1 cup water or vegetable stock
safflower oil, for oiling pan
1 cup Sweet and Spicy Barbecue Sauce (see recipe below)

In a medium bowl, place the vital wheat gluten, nutritional yeast, onion powder, and garlic powder, and stir well to combine. Using your hands, mix the water into the dry ingredients, and work into a soft dough that will feel very moist to the touch. Using a little safflower oil, lightly oil (or lightly mist) a 9-inch square baking pan. Transfer the dough to the prepared pan, and using your hands, flatten the dough to evenly cover the bottom of the pan. Using a sharp knife, cut the dough into 8 strips lengthwise, turn the pan a quarter turn, and then make one cut through the middle widthwise to form 16 pieces. Bake the seitan for 20 minutes at 350 degrees. Prepare the Sweet and Spicy Barbecue Sauce according to the recipe instructions. After 20 minutes of baking, remove the pan from the oven. Spread a little of the Sweet and Spicy Barbecue Sauce over each of the puffed strips. Return the pan to the oven and bake an additional 12-15 minutes. Serve the strips as an appetizer or main dish, or chop and use to add flavor to soups, salads, grains, and side dishes.

Yield: 16 Seitan Strips

 

Pepper Divider

 

Sweet and Spicy Barbecue Sauce

1 dried New Mexico chile
water
1 1/2 cups onion, diced
1 T. safflower oil
1 T. garlic, minced
1 - 28 oz. can tomato puree
1/2 cup Sucanat (or brown sugar from sugar beets)
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1 T. brown mustard
1 t. salt
1/4 t. cumin
1/4 t. freshly ground black pepper

Begin by removing the stem and seeds from the dried New Mexico chile. Place the chile in a small bowl, cover with cold water, and set aside for 10-15 minutes to rehydrate. In a medium saucepan, saute the onion in the safflower oil for 5 minutes or until lightly browned. Add the garlic and saute an additional 1 minute. When the chile has rehydrated, transfer it to a cutting board and finely mince it. Add the minced chile, along with the remaining ingredients to the saucepan and stir well to combine. Reduce the heat to low and simmer the sauce for 20 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasonings, to taste. Use as a sauce for sandwiches and main dishes, or to add flavor to sauces, grains, vegetables, or side dishes.

Yield: 4 Cups

 

Pepper Divider

 

ABC Nut Loaf

3/4 cup onion, finely diced
1/3 cup celery, finely diced
1 T. olive oil, plus additional for oiling pan
1 T. garlic, minced
1/2 cup almonds, finely chopped
1/2 cup Brazil nuts, finely chopped
1/2 cup cashews, finely chopped
1/4 cup freshly chopped parsley
1/2 t. dried thyme
1/2 t. rubbed sage
1 1/2 cups breadcrumbs
2 T. nutritional yeast flakes
1/2 t. salt
1/4 t. freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup water
2 T. Ener-G Egg Replacer

In a non-stick skillet, saute the onion and celery in the olive oil for 5 minutes or until almost tender. Add the garlic and saute an additional 1 minute. Add the almonds, Brazil nuts, cashews, parsley, thyme, and sage, stir well to combine, and saute the mixture an additional 2-3 minutes or until the nuts are fragrant. Remove the skillet from the heat. In a medium bowl, place the breadcrumbs, nutritional yeast flakes, salt, and pepper, and stir well to combine. In a small bowl, place the water and egg replacer, and whisk vigorously for 1 minute or until very frothy. Add the nut mixture and egg replacer mixture to the breadcrumb mixture and stir well to combine. Using a little olive oil, lightly oil (or mist with oil) an 8 x 12-inch baking pan. Transfer the nut mixture to the prepared pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown and firm to the touch. Remove the pan from the oven and allow the loaf to cool for a few minutes before cutting into pieces. Serve as a main dish, sandwich filling, or add to soups, salads, and side dishes.

Yield: One 8 x 12-inch pan

 

Pepper Divider

 

Grain and Garden Vegetable Mosaic Loaf

1/2 cup onion, finely diced
1 T. safflower oil, plus additional for oiling loaf pan
1/2 cup carrot, finely diced
1/2 cup celery, finely diced
1/2 cup red pepper, destemmed, deseeded, and finely diced
1/2 cup zucchini, finely diced
4 t. garlic, minced
1/2 t. dried basil
1/2 t. dried oregano
1/4 t. dried thyme
1/2 cup millet, rinsed, and drained
1 t. salt
1/2 t. freshly ground black pepper
2 2/3 cups water, divided
1/3 cup basmati rice, rinsed, and drained
1/3 cup quinoa, rinsed, and drained
1/4 cup freshly chopped parsley

In a medium saucepan, saute the onion in the safflower oil for 3 minutes to soften. Add the carrot and celery and saute an additional 3 minutes. Add the red pepper and zucchini and saute an additional 2 minutes. Add the garlic and dried herbs and saute an additional 1 minute. Add the millet, salt, and pepper, stir well to thoroughly combine it with the vegetable mixture, and then add 1 1/3 cups of the water, and bring the mixture to a boil. Cover the saucepan, reduce the heat to low, and simmer for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, in another medium saucepan, place the remaining 1 1/3 cups water, and bring it to a boil. Add the basmati rice and quinoa, stir, cover, reduce the heat to low, and simmer the mixture for 15 minutes. At the end of the cooking time, remove both saucepans from the heat, leave the saucepans covered, and set them aside for 5-10 minutes to allow the grains to steam.

Using a little safflower oil, lightly oil (or mist with oil) a 9 x 5 x 3-inch loaf pan, and set aside. Add the cooked basmati rice-quinoa mixture to the millet-vegetable mixture, along with the chopped parsley, and stir well to combine. Taste and adjust the seasonings, to taste. Transfer the mixture to the prepared loaf pan and pack it down firmly into the loaf pan. Bake the loaf at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until lightly browned on top. Remove the loaf pan from the oven and allow it to cool on a rack for 10 minutes. Invert the loaf onto a plate or serving platter, remove the loaf pan, and allow the loaf to cool a few minutes before slicing with a sharp knife. Serve slices plain or topped with your choice of gravy or tomato sauce.

Yield: One 9 x 5 x 3-inch loaf or 4-6 servings

 
 

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