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Vegan Sandwich Bologna and Sage Roast Seitan

Updated on January 23, 2020
PAINTDRIPS profile image

As a newly confirmed vegan, I have found a few recipes that are excellent and make me feel great. I'd love to share my findings with you.

My vegan bologna.  Without a food processor, my bologna is less smooth and more chunky looking.
My vegan bologna. Without a food processor, my bologna is less smooth and more chunky looking. | Source

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.

My vegan bologna sliced
My vegan bologna sliced | Source

Bologna

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.

The mixture before steaming
The mixture before steaming | Source

Vegan Bologna

Ingredients

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

Instructions

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.

Vegan bologna in the steamer
Vegan bologna in the steamer | Source

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.

Ingredients

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)

Instructions

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"?

See results
Vegan Christmas Roast
Vegan Christmas Roast | Source

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.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Roast mixture before steaming or roastingRoast after roasting in the oven
Roast mixture before steaming or roasting
Roast mixture before steaming or roasting | Source
Roast after roasting in the oven
Roast after roasting in the oven | Source

Final Thoughts

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.

Comments

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    • PAINTDRIPS profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise McGill 

      2 weeks ago from Fresno CA

      William Kovacic,

      I actually have tried it and thought it was okay. The Carl's Jr veggie burger is better, and better still (in price at least) is the Subway veggie patty sandwich. I thought it was good especially given it was half the price of Burger King's and Carl's Jr's alternative meat sandwich. Thanks for asking?

      Blessings,

      Denise

    • PAINTDRIPS profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise McGill 

      2 weeks ago from Fresno CA

      Linda Crampton,

      You have a good point. I've tasted some "vegan meats" that taste and feel more like cardboard than vegetables or meats. That's probably why I have spent so much time making my own. I finished my last bologna slice yesterday and so it's time to make more today. I hope you enjoy it. Thanks for commenting.

      Blessings,

      Denise

    • lifegate profile image

      William Kovacic 

      3 weeks ago from Pleasant Gap, PA

      So, Denise. What's your take on the Impossible Whopper? I tried one once, and there were so much lettuce and tomato, I couldn't taste the whopper. I thought maybe that was the reason for all the veggies. Your stuff sounds and looks delicious.

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 

      3 weeks ago from British Columbia, Canada

      Your recipes sound and look great. I couldn't vote in your poll because although I've enjoyed some vegan "meats" that I've tried, I haven't liked others. The thought of making my own by following one of the recipes that you've shared is very appealing.

    • PAINTDRIPS profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise McGill 

      3 weeks ago from Fresno CA

      Linda Lum,

      Yes, I know fried bologna and I just fried some for my lunch yesterday, along with some grilled zucchini and onions. It was good. It doesn't curl up like the real thing though and that's a good thing. Phony bologna! I should have titled mine with that handle. Ha. Thanks for commenting.

      Blessings,

      Denise

    • PAINTDRIPS profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise McGill 

      3 weeks ago from Fresno CA

      Devika Primić,

      I certainly eat a lot of it and I really like it. I'm happy you think it is good too. Thanks for commenting.

      Blessings,

      Denise

    • PAINTDRIPS profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise McGill 

      3 weeks ago from Fresno CA

      Bill Holland,

      It takes a little time to prepare but I think you will find it a good alternative to bologna. Thanks for commenting.

      Blessings,

      Denise

    • PAINTDRIPS profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise McGill 

      3 weeks ago from Fresno CA

      Lorna Lamon,

      Like you, I struggle with the texture of many things as well. I have a cheese sauce alternative that tastes great but doesn't have the texture of cheese. That's one of the reasons I like the bologna recipe so much. It really has a nice bologna texture and the catsup gives it that pinkish coloring too. Thanks for commenting.

      Blessings,

      Denise

    • PAINTDRIPS profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise McGill 

      3 weeks ago from Fresno CA

      Liz Westwood,

      Thank you. It takes a lot of experimentation really. Some things work out and some don't. But I do get tired of salads day after day and want to mix it up with sandwiches from time to time. Thanks for commenting.

      Blessings,

      Denise

    • Carb Diva profile image

      Linda Lum 

      3 weeks ago from Washington State, USA

      I'm not much of a sandwich lover, but my vegetarian daughter packs a lunch every day. She has been veg for 20 years and is always looking for new ways to expand her menu. I'll definitely share this with her. You've done all the research and make it look very easy.

      I grew up in a household with limited financial resources (in other words, we were poor). A common item on the menu was bologna fried with potatoes. Do you know if your phony baloney (sorry, I couldn't resist) will hold up to heat? I no longer eat bologna (I know what's in it) but I can see myself eating this.

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 

      3 weeks ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      This recipe looks delicious and for a vegan dish it sounds an easy to make dish. These pics are attractive. Food such as this on the menu will definitely make a perfect meal for vegans.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      3 weeks ago from Olympia, WA

      You are talking to a kid who grew up on bologna. Although I no longer eat it, I'm not quite ready to jump over to vegan, but I will pass this along to Bev. Blessings always!

    • Lorna Lamon profile image

      Lorna Lamon 

      3 weeks ago

      I will definitely try these recipes Denise as they sound so delicious. I don't eat red meat at all, however, I still struggle with the texture of vegan alternatives. A great article with healthy alternatives.

    • Eurofile profile image

      Liz Westwood 

      3 weeks ago from UK

      I need to bookmark these recipes for my daughter, who is a vegetarian and occasional vegan. I admire your resourcefulness in creating these healthy meat alternatives.

    • PAINTDRIPS profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise McGill 

      3 weeks ago from Fresno CA

      Eric Dierker,

      I used to cringe at the thought of tofu in a sandwich. It must be about all the jokes I heard all my life. That's why the seitan sounded so much more appetizing. Thanks for commenting.

      Blessings,

      Denise

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 

      3 weeks ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      This sounds good. As soon as I got over expecting vegan burgers being what they are I like them. I am sure the same as here.

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