Vegan Sandwich Bologna and Sage Roast Seitan
Sandwich Meat Substitues
I have long been searching for just the right vegan substitutes for those great sandwiches I used to know and love. It wasn’t the thinly sliced meats that I miss the most. It was the convenience of stacking just the right mix of flavors to achieve a great nutritious sandwich. Whatever is easiest.
After two years I have compiled my favorites that work great and taste best.
This is the summit of my search and I don’t mind starting at the top. I have to say that getting just the right mix of flavors and texture was the bear I had to cross. The best vegan sandwich meat is made with seitan. Seitan is a firm meat-like vegetable patty. The key was vital wheat gluten. If any of you have ever used this ingredient you will testify that it is a bit tricky. My first introduction was something called Vegan Chicken Tenders. Very misleading. They weren’t chicken and they weren’t tender. The taste was not bad but the texture was so tough and chewy that I swore I’d never use this recipe or this vital wheat gluten again. Famous last words. I found several recipes over the next few months that boasted using vital wheat gluten to mimic steak, chicken, and meatloaf. I tried a couple and was just as disappointed as the first time.
What made me try it again was the explanation that when you mix enough other ingredients to the gluten, it cuts down on the chewy factor and makes the outcome more tender. So when this recipe for bologna came up I was ready to try again. It calls for tofu, ketchup, seasonings, and vital wheat gluten. I started with a recipe I found online on It Doesn’t Taste Like Chicken by Sam Turnbull, which I will link but I made a few changes to mine. For one thing, I reduced the amount of vital wheat gluten, mostly because I ran out but also because I think it makes the product too chewy anyway. I also used less smoked paprika because that can tend to be very hot.
1 block of extra-firm tofu, drained
½ cup ketchup
¼ cup nutritional yeast
3 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons onion powder
2 tablespoons garlic powder
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 tablespoon ground mustard
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
1 cup vital wheat gluten
½ cup flour
1. Put several inches of water in a large pot with a steamer basket and set to boil.
2. In a food processor (or use a mixer if it’s all you have) add tofu, nutritional yeast, ketchup, onion powder, garlic powder, smoked paprika, ground mustard, and nutmeg. Mix until as smooth as possible, scraping the sides often.
3. Add the vital wheat gluten and flour and mix until it makes a crumbly dough.
4. Turn out onto a surface and knead together to form a dough. Shape into a log that will fit in your steamer basket. Roll the log in aluminum foil and twist the ends tightly to make a large candy shape. Place into the steamer basket and steam for 1 hour with the lid on.
5. Remove from the steamer basket and allow it to cool. Place into the refrigerator and chill completely before slicing and serving. Store in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 1 week.
It is amazingly easy to slice and perfect for sandwiches.
Whole Wheat Rolls
I got a breadmaker some years back when the colonoscopy doctor told me I needed to lay off of white bread because I was at risk. Apparently cancer cells like white bread. Who knew? So I make my own bread to be sure I know exactly what is in it. I still love bread; whole-wheat raisin bread for breakfast, whole wheat oregano rolls for sandwiches and dinner rolls, and whole wheat molasses rolls.
1 teaspoon breadmaker active yeast
1 cup warm water
½ cup molasses
1 ½ cups whole wheat flour
1 ½ cups unbleached flour
¼ cup coconut oil
1 teaspoon salt
½ cup brown sugar (optional)
1. Preheat the oven for 375 degrees. Place the first three ingredients into your bread maker pan and wait for 10 minutes to allow the yeast to soften.
2. Add the rest of the ingredients and turn the bread maker controls to dough.
3. When the dough is ready, turn out and shape into rolls on a greased cookie sheet. They can be shaped round or oblong as you desire.
4. Bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes or until the top is browned nicely. Cool and store in an airtight container.
Do you like vegan sandwich "meats"?
Vegan Christmas Roast
For Christmas, I found a vegan roast idea from The Virtual Vegan by Melanie McDonald that follows the same principle as the seitan bologna with a few alterations and more sage, thyme, and rosemary as seasoning. This roast makes a terrific sliced sandwich “meat” as well as the bologna. It is well worth trying.
In my recipe, I used white kidney beans and didn’t really chop the garlic and beans thoroughly so chunks were still visible in my roast slices. Also, I steamed my roast for an hour instead of baking it in the oven. Because I didn’t have any artichoke hearts, I used about 3 fresh chopped mushrooms instead and added a tablespoon of olive oil.
Both of these seitan recipes suggest using a food processor. I don’t have a food processor yet. Maybe someday, but not today. I often have to do my chopping by hand and then use a portable mixer. This means that my bologna and roast are not as “smooth” as the photos in the original recipe but they are still pretty tasty.
Finding alternatives for my favorites meals has been more fun than I would have thought. It makes the last two years of exploring the vegan menu a challenge sometimes, but mostly a real treat. Have you ever thought of a more sustainable menu for your table? Do you think you could live without meat? It is easier than you would think. The benefits to my health are more than I could list here, not to mention the added pleasure of know I’m not eating someone’s mother. In a world where the economy and the ecology are in question, what would you be willing to give up to help? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.