|Grilled Seitan Sausage on a bed of sweet potatoes, corn, peppers, and black beans
My family is not vegan. They are not vegetarian. In fact, if I had to described a typical meal growing up, it was definitely meat-centric. However, as the years have passed, I watched my family welcomed more plant-based meals into their lives. Despite eating more plants, my dad remained steadfast that meat was not only delicious, but necessary for daily life.
Which is why I was surprised to see a Facebook status from my mom saying my Dad was eating a stew with seitan in it. It shocked me! My mom claimed that my dad would eat anything, but I just couldn't imagine that tall Hungarian with the bush head of hair and tough exterior sitting down to a vegan dinner.
The thought made me smile, remembering when I was in high school and announced I wanted to be vegetarian. My dad smirked, chuckled, and said that they wouldn't be buying any fancy vegetarian food. I would have to figure it out with what was in the house. So I ate lots of bowls of baked potato with cheese. Not the healthiest way to eat... and eventually I gave up.
Since then, I have learned how to create delicious vegetarian and vegan meals. I thank the bloggers out there who have made it easy for me, and others like me, to learn. And when my mom wanted to prepare something vegan for Christmas, I sent her links to some of these fabulous blogs.
My mom opted to make Seitan Roast Stuffed with Shiitakes and Leeks from the Post-Punk Kitchen. She served it up and both my dad and uncle scooped some up. I think they thought it was a stuffing roll? They loved it! And my mom was turned on to a new food product.
I forgot how delicious homemade seitan was. And so using the base recipe from PPK for the seitan, I began to play around over my holiday break. The following is the recipe for seitan sausages I ended up with. The sausages are full of flavor and have a multitude of uses from eating as is, to adding to pasta sauces.
3/4 cup canned white beans
4 cloves of garlic
1 1/2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
3 tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp liquid smoke
2 cups vital wheat gluten
1/3 cup nutritional yeast
1 tsp fennel seeds
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp dried sage
1 tsp dried thyme
1/4 tsp black pepper
Using a mortar and pestal (or a sandwich bag and hammer), blend the fennel seeds, paprika, sage, thyme, and pepper. You don't want to grind the seeds into a powder, but just break them up a bit.
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Cut foil into 16 squares about 8x8 inches.
In a food processor, using a metal blade, blend beans, garlic, broth, soy sauce, oil, and liquid smoke. This may take a couple of minutes to break down the beans and garlic. In a separate bowl, mix vital wheat gluten, nutritional yeast, and spice blend.
Switch the metal blade out for the dough blade. Add dry mixture in batches to wet mixture and knead. You can also do this in a mixing bowl if you don't have a dough attachment.
Divide the dough into 16 balls (I weigh them for consistency). Roll each dough ball into a long tube. Wrap the tube tightly in foil, like rolling a tortilla of foil around it. Twist the two open ends of the roll shut. You want the roll to be tight, or the shape will not hold when cooking.
Bake for 40-50 minutes until desired doneness. You want a firm skin and depending on your taste will decide how firm you want the sausage through the middle. You can press firmly on the outside of the roll to determine doneness.
Each sausage: 105 calories, 2g fat, 7g carbs, 1g fiber, 14g protein