Comforting seitan “beef” and barley stew

Anyone else make big old batches of seitan and use it in every damn thing?!  I used to love me a peppery beef stew when I wasn’t vegan (I can’t believe I used to eat that stuff, ewwwww), so a substitute that’s earth-and-animal friendly was very much needed for when I moved over to the “green” side.

This recipe is brilliant to make on the weekend and take to work for lunches during the week (if it lasts that long), and also freezes really well.  Another recipe where the flavours seem to get better when you leave it stewing in its own juices for a couple of days.  You can also team this stew with a variety of carbs, as it would go well alongside mashed potatoes (potato overload!), quinoa, rice or just a thickly cut slice of fresh bread with vegan margarine.

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Of course, you will need to make the seitan pieces ahead of time, but just pop them in the fridge and let them sit for a day or so.  This will ensure they remain flavoursome and delicious when you add them to your stew.

Do play around with the recipe as well – no need to put both spuds and carrots in it if you don’t want to.  Add some beans for a super protein kick, pop in some courgettes, peppers or aubergine, or you could even make some dumplings to add to the stew while it’s still cooking (excuse me while I drool a little…).  The options for this recipe are endless, and it’s a good opportunity to add whatever is in the fridge that you need to use up.

Get onto this recipe when you can, and make sure you tag me on Instagram if you make it so I can see how awesome it is!  Enjoy.

Ingredients

2 TBsp oil

2 seitan steaks (see my recipe from previous blog here)

1/2 onion, diced

3 cloves of garlic, crushed

2 small carrots (or one big one), sliced 1.5 cms thick

1 TBp dried mixed herbs (or a mix of thyme, rosemary, oregano)

salt and cracked pepper to taste

1/2 cup red wine (substitute for extra broth if you would prefer without)

1/2 tsp paprika

2 cups vegetable broth

1 TBsp tomato paste

400 grams potatoes, peeled and diced (about two large spuds, or 4-6 smaller spuds)

1 cup cooked pearl barley, per packet instructions (approx 1/2 cup uncooked – this should be made ahead of time, or while your stew is cooking)

2 TBsp plain flour

Method

Cut the seitan steaks into bite sized pieces.  Heat a non-stick frying pan and add one of the tablespoons of oil to the pan.  Once heated, add the seitan pieces and fry until sufficiently browned.  Remove from the pan and set aside

Add the remainder of the oil to a large, lidded saucepan.  Add the onions and fry on medium heat until translucent.  Add the minced garlic and stir.

After a minute or so, add the carrots, wine, herbs and paprika, and stir to combine.  Bring to the boil, then simmer for a couple of minutes, or until the wine has reduced by half.

Add the broth and potatoes and bring to the boil.  Reduce heat and simmer until the potatoes are just tender (10 – 12 minutes, depending on the size of your diced potato).

Add the pearl barley, tomato paste and seitan, and stir to combine.

Mix the 2 tablespoons of flour with 1/4 cup of water to a smooth paste.  Add to the stew, while stirring continuously.

Leave to simmer for another 5 – 10 minutes, or until the stew has thickened to your desired consistency.

Serve with crusty bread or alongside some rice and tenderstem broccoli.

This stew also freezes well – ensure the stew has fully cooled before transferring to a container and freezing.

Time to make: 5 minutes to prep the ingredients, 5 minutes to sear the seitan steaks, 40 minutes on the hob = 1 hour

On a scale of easy (1) to pull your hair out difficult (5) = 2, an easy one if you have all the ingredients and some pre-made seitan!

#nowplaying : Thom Yorke – Suspirium

 

 

 

 

 

Quinoa and sweet potato falafel

Confession time – I’ve never made a falafel myself at home that didn’t turn out terrible.  Not sure what it is exactly that I do to them but they seem to want to disintegrate whenever I deep fry them, and baking makes them taste too… healthy (you know [junk food] me).  But now folks, I have managed to make a falafel that didn’t fall apart and tasted boss.  BEHOLD.

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These quinoa and sweet potato falafel are a game changer.  I didn’t bother with the deep fryer and went the grilling route, instead of baking.  Oh yes, it works.  FINALLY.  Trying to get more chickpeas and quinoa into your life has never been easier.  Well, for some people it’s easy, but for me with my regular #FattyFriday’s and penchant for vegan burgers and Vego bars, it tends to be quite difficult getting the healthy stuff in me.

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Make these sexy balls as big or small as you like – they tend to stick together well with the  squishy-ness of the sweet potato.  Use whatever herbs and spices you fancy too – these ones are a touch spicy but feel free to tone the spice down and give it more of your own flavours.  Enjoy in pita, part of a salad or on their own as a snack.  SO yum.

Ingredients

1 x medium sweet potato, peeled and diced

60g uncooked quinoa

1/2 a 400g tin of chickpeas (reserve the juice to make some chocolate mousse!)

2 cloves minced garlic

1 TBsp minced ginger

1 TBsp sunflower oil (or other high smoke point oil)

1/2 tsp paprika

1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

1 tsp rice vinegar

juice of 1/2 a lime

handful of coriander or parsley (optional)

 

Instructions

Peel, dice and boil the sweet potato on the hob for 15 minutes, or until tender

While the sweet potato is cooking, cook the quinoa according to packet instructions

When the sweet potato and quinoa are cooked, set aside.

Add the oil, garlic and ginger to a fry pan and cook on low-medium heat for around one minute, ensuring the garlic doesn’t brown

Add the remaining ingredients to the fry pan, including the quinoa and sweet potato, and mash with a potato masher (or a fork if you don’t have a masher) until the mix is well combined and there are barely any chunky bits

Set aside the mix for a few minutes until it is cool enough for you to handle

Line a baking tray with parchment paper and turn on your grill to medium high heat

Roll the mix into balls of the same size (however big/small you like) and place on the parchment paper with plenty of space between them

I use either a little bit of water or oil to wet my hands with when rolling the balls, as it makes the mix less sticky on the hands and comes away easier (#toptip!)

Once all the mix has been rolled into balls, place your tray of balls under the grill for around 25 minutes, turning every 7 minutes or so.  Keep an eye on them to ensure they brown but don’t burn.

Once ready, serve with salad, avocado, tahini or in a wrap.  Enjoy!

Time to make: 10 minutes prep, 50 minutes cooking (including sweet potato/quinoa) = 1 hour

On a scale of easy (1) to pull your hair out difficult (5) = 2.5, relatively simple but with a few moving parts.  Not the quickest of recipes, but you could cook the sweet potato/quinoa in advance and heat up the balls when you need them

#nowplaying : Cabbage – Arms of Pleonexia

 

 

Seitan steaks

So this is a recipe that I really HAVE to share with you all.  I make seitan once every couple weeks on the weekend, because it lasts ages, you can freeze it, it’s a brilliant source of protein and you can do so much with it.

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There are loads of seitan recipes knocking around the internet, and I’ve tried making plenty of them.  I prefer making this one as it’s one of the easiest and I always have the ingredients ready to go.  Vital Wheat Gluten can be hard to find, but check your local Whole Foods, Holland & Barrett or health food store and you should be able to pick up a pack.  Make sure you get vital wheat gluten – if that’s not what it says, it’s not what you want!  You can also order online in bulk if you plan on making a shedload of the stuff.

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This recipe is for seitan “steaks”, so whatever you would use a steak for (if you were a meat eater…), you can substitute this for it.  Steak burgers, Philly cheesesteaks, gyros, kebabs or stew – whatever your gorgeous vegan heart desires.

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Steak, cheese and fried onion baguette. SEXXY.

It’s not a quick recipe, but it’s well worth the effort!

Enjoy 🙂

Ingredients

1 cup Vital Wheat Gluten (I used Suma for this recipe)

1/4 cup nutritional yeast

1 Tablespoon smoked paprika

1/2 Teaspoon garlic powder or granules

pinch of salt

3/4 cup of water (more if needed)

2 Tablespoons soy sauce or tamari, plus extra for marinating

1 Tablespoon tomato paste

5 cups of water

2-3 bay leaves

Instructions

Add the five cups of water and bay leaves to a large pot and bring to the boil.  Turn down the heat until the water is only just simmering.  If the water is boiling too fast this will make the seitan expand more and become more sponge-like.  We don’t want that…

While waiting for the water to boil, add the vital wheat gluten, nutritional yeast, smoked paprika, garlic powder and salt in a large mixing bowl and stir to combine.

Add the 3/4 cup water, soy sauce and tomato paste to the dry ingredients and mix until a dough forms.  Add a little bit more water here if needed (if all the wheat gluten hasn’t mixed in properly).

Knead the dough for about a minute and then let it rest for five minutes or so.

After five minutes, return to the dough and knead again for another minute.

Split the mixture into four or five steaks.  The seitan will expand a bit, so make sure your steaks aren’t too big to start with!  Try to flatten them as much as possible – use a floured rolling pin if that helps.

Add your steaks to the simmering pot of water and bay leaves, cover, and allow to simmer for 30 – 40 minutes.

While your steaks are simmering, add about a tablespoon of soy sauce or tamari to a bowl.

When the steaks are ready, allow to cool for 10 minutes or so.

Once cooled, dip the steaks into the soy sauce and press to allow the sauce to penetrate the steaks.  You can leave them in the fridge at this point, or cook straight away.

Heat a fry pan or grill pan on medium high heat and carefully place the steaks in the pan.  Cook for a few minutes on each side, until crispy edges start to form, or if using a grill pan, until you get those black lines along the steaks.

Use as you wish… try not to eat a whole one right after they come out of the pan 😉

Time to make: 5 minutes to mix the ingredients, 5 minutes to knead and let the dough breathe, 40 minutes simmering, 5 minutes dipping in soy sauce, 5 minutes in the frying pan = 1 hour

On a scale of easy (1) to pull your hair out difficult (5) = 2.5, relatively easy to mix and assemble but there are a few different steps… and plenty of dishes!

#nowplaying : Hookworms – Static Resistance

 

 

Spicy tofu & brussels sprout fried rice

Here’s a combo that you might not think goes together, but it really does.  Brussels sprouts and fried rice?  Nah.  Oh, but YEAH.

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Many people aren’t keen on that stinky little vegetable, but I’m a huge fan of sprouts.  They’re usually only found as part of a roast dinner (hidden under the gravy), but after trying this recipe it’s clear that they’re a lot more versatile than just being a side dish.  One cup of these little green machines gives you over 100% of your recommended daily intake of vitamin K and C, as well as containing high amounts of folate and fibre.  Ugly vegetable, yet very good for you.

The combination of agave and sriracha on the crispy tofu gives it a sweet-but-spicy edge and I try to crisp up the tofu in the oven as much as possible without over cooking.  The tofu can be pan fried too if you prefer that method.  I like to just stick it in the oven and forget about it.

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Try not to overcook your sprouts also – I know it’s quite a British thing to do (sorry Brits!), but let’s leave some of the nutrients intact, shall we?!  Add some carrots and some seeds and you have a healthy as hell meal.  You’re welcome 😉

Enjoy!

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Ingredients

Sprout Fried Rice

2 cups of cooked, day old brown rice (white is fine if that’s all you have)

1.5 cups sliced Brussels sprouts (as thick or as thin as you want, just cook longer if you cut them quite thick)

1 large carrot, cut into half rounds

2 tablespoons of soy sauce

1 tablespoon of agave (or maple syrup)

1 tablespoon oil (any vegetable oil)

1 teaspoon sesame oil

2 cloves of garlic, minced

1 Tbsp ginger (I used the stuff in a tube – lasts forever and it works well!)

Optional – sesame seeds, chopped peanuts, chopped roasted cashews

Spicy Tofu

1 pack (280g) Tofoo tofu (I love this stuff – no need to press the water out, just pat dry with a couple of handy towels and you’re good to go)

1 tablespoons soy sauce (or tamari)

1 tablespoon hot sauce (I use Sriracha, but you can use Frank’s or any other hot sauce)

1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

1 tablespoon agave (can also use maple syrup)

1 teaspoon sesame oil

Method

Prepare your tofu first so you can put in the oven and work on the fried rice.

Preheat oven to 200C

Prepare a baking tray with baking paper.

Mix all of the tofu ingredients apart from the tofu in a small bowl to make a marinade.

Drain the tofu and dice evenly.

Place the tofu into the marinade bowl and stir to combine, ensuring all of the tofu is coated.

Carefully place your tofu pieces one by one onto the baking paper.  Keep the remaining marinade to coat the tofu halfway through.

Bake for 15 minutes.

After 15 minutes, turn over each piece of tofu individually and coat with the remaining marinade.

Bake for another 15 minutes or until browned, or as I like it, slightly burnt!

Now for the stir fry…

Add the vegetable oil and sesame oil to a cast iron skillet (or wok) and heat on medium high heat.

Add to the skillet the minced garlic and ginger, stirring occasionally for about a minute.  Be careful not to burn the garlic!

Add the sliced sprouts and carrots, and fry for around five minutes (longer if your sprouts are cut quite chunky), stirring occasionally.

Add the rice, soy sauce and agave to the skillet and stir to combine.  Stir fry for another five minutes or so, until everything is heated through and the rice becomes dry.

Serve immediately and top with the tofu.  Add some sesame seeds or crushed cashews.

Time to make: 20 minutes prep (because sprouts take AGES to prep!), 15 minutes to cook the rice and 30 minutes for the tofu = 55 minutes

On a scale of easy (1) to pull your hair out difficult (5) = 2.5, the rice is really quick and easy but when you add the tofu it becomes more complicated.

Serves 2 (but honestly, keep some for leftovers as this is hella tasty the next day!)

#nowplaying Baxter Dury – Price of Tears

BBQ pulled tempeh sloppy Joes

In my quest to veganise anything and everything, I’ve given Sloppy Joes the positivelyjen vegan once over.  I missed out on the “joy” of Sloppy Joes before becoming vegan, because I was never really a fan of mincemeat (no surprises really considering what’s in the stuff…).  Now that tempeh is on the scene there’s no turning back.

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I remember the first time I tried tempeh… please don’t make my mistake and try it uncooked and not spiced – put me off the stuff for months.  I persisted however, and now I’m picking up a packet every time I pay Whole Foods a visit.  Not as versatile as tofu, but packed with more protein (19g per 100g – that’s EPIC) and more fibre than it’s more-processed cousin.

You can use vegan mince if you’re not a fan of tempeh (Fry’s do an awesome vegan mince), but in trying to keep things a bit healthy in the house, tempeh has slipped in there for the foreseeable.   If you’re anti-spice too then feel free to leave out the jalapeño and chilli powder. Top with some green stuff (for the health), pickles, coleslaw (try my recipe here!) or your favourite vegan cheese.

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Let the sloppiness begin.

Serves two people/four small burgers (or serves one if you’re really, really hungry)

Ingredients

1 Tbsp olive oil

2 cloves minced garlic

1 Tbsp cup chopped jalapeños (I use ones from a jar – you can use fresh if you have them)

1/2 medium sized brown onion, finely chopped

200g packet of tempeh (I use Impulse Foods, which is organic and produced locally in the UK)

2 Tbsp soy sauce

1/4 cup ketchup

2 Tbsp BBQ sauce

1 Tbsp tomato paste

1 Tbsp sriracha

1 tsp chilli powder

½ tsp cumin

salt & pepper to tastse

1/3 cup water

4 small hamburger buns

Instructions

Heat the oil in a fry pan/skillet over medium heat and add jalapeños and onion.  Stir to combine and continue cooking and stirring occasionally for around five to eight minutes, or until onion is translucent.

Add the garlic to the pan and stir for one minute until garlic is heated through.

Add the tempeh and water to the pan and break up the tempeh with a wooden spoon.  Mix to combine with the onions and heat through (about five minutes – keep stirring every so often).

Add the remaining ingredients minus the buns, and stir to combine.  Add more water here if needed – you want a sloppy but not runny consistency!  Cook for a further five minutes or so, until everything is heated through.

Spoon onto your hamburger buns and add your favourite toppings.

Time to make: 5 minutes prep, 10 minutes cooking time = 25 minutes

On a scale of easy (1) to pull your hair out difficult (5) =  1.5, quick and easy this one.  GET IN.

#nowplaying Radiohead – Man of War