Side Dishes · Vegan Essentials

Vegan Chipotle Mayo

I don’t know about anyone else, but I’ve tried a number of vegan mayonnaise’s and I tend to find they taste more like salad cream than a  creamy mayo. Luckily its pretty simple to make a homemade vegan mayo, just blend together 2 parts oil to 1 part soy milk and add a dash of white wine vinegar to cut through the oil taste. From this base you can make a garlic aioli, a burger sauce or what I’m going with here, a chipotle mayo. Just try not to eat it out of the tub with a spoon…… Use my Seitan nuggets recipe instead šŸ˜‰


Ingredients 

  • 1/4 cup soy milk
  • 1/2 cup sunflower oil
  • 1/2 tsp garlic puree, oregano, pepper, chillies 
  • 1 tbsp cider vinegar, lime juice 
  • Dash of liquid smoke
  • 1 tsp chipotle, paprika 

Simply blend together the oil and soy milk by pulsing with a hand blender until combined. Once mixed add in all additional ingredients and blend. Simples.

Vegan Essentials

Cajun SeasoningĀ 

I can’t decide if I prefer this seasoning shaken over homemade fries, or incorporated into Seitan chicken bites. Maybe it’s both together, either way it’s stupidly simple and easy to keep in the spice rack! 

Ingredients 

  • 1tsp salt, onion powder, thyme 

  • 1/2 tsp ground pepper, red chilli flakes

  • 2tsp paprika, garlic powder, oregano and cayenne pepper (I like a good kick!)

Just mix together and store! 

Fakeaways

Cajun Seitan Bites

When I first went Vegan I said I needed to know how to make the ultimate childish comfort food….. Chicken nuggets. I first discovered Fry’s nuggets, then Quorn started to bring out more Vegan options like their nuggets and spicy ‘chicken’ burgers. However, as I’ve said before I always like to try and make things at home if possible. This recipe has taken a few attempts to ensure the taste and texture is there without the end product drying out, but this recipe is finally here! You can make the Seitan in batches and freeze for a quick dinner, but be warned I’ve made two batches this evening and Accidentally eaten them both… 

Chicken Seitan 

Dry Ingredients 

  • 1 cup gluten flour 
  • 1 tbsp chickpea flour
  • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1/2tsp onion powder 
  • 2 tsp cajun seasoning, sage
  • 1 tsp garlic powder, paprika, thyme parsley 

Wet Ingredients 

  • 3/4 cup vegetable stock
  • Dash liquid smoke
  • Drop of hot sauce 
  • 2 tbsp BBQ sauce 
  • 1 tsp mixed herbs 

Stock ingredients 

  • 2 1/2 cups vegetable stock
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce, BBQ sauce, tomatoes Ketchup, mixed herbs
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder, onion powder

Method

  1. Mix the dry ingredients together in a large mixing bowl
  2. Mix the wet ingredients in a measuring jug
  3. Gradually pour the wet ingredients into the dry, stirring until a dough is formed,  you may not need all the wet ingredients. 
  4. Kneed the dough for 3-5 minutes, until you can see the strands of gluten when it’s stretched 
  5. Add all the stock ingredients to a small saucepan and bring to a simmer
  6. Roll the Seitan into small balls (they will double in size in the pan) and add to the stock
  7. Simmer for 30 – 45 minutes, until when cut the inside of the Seitan balls is a cooked dough texture 
  8. Take out to cool, can be left in the fridge overnight or frozen 

Batter Ingredients 

  • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs mixed with 2 tsp cajun spice mix
  • 1/4 cup plain flour mixed with 2/3 cup soy milk to form a batter 

Method

  • Take each nugget and dip in the batter then breadcrumbs, place on a greased baking tray 
  • Bake for 20 mins at 180Ā°C

Goes fantastically with my chipotle mayo, just try not to scoff it all at once! 

Fakeaways

Vegan Big Mac!Ā 

I honestly don’t only cook homemade versions of takeaways…But this one is just too tasty to pass up. One thing I struggled with after moving to vegan is was how to satisfy that urge for naughty comfort food, most things are naturally low in saturated fats and as much of a fan I am of bean burgers I found they lacked the bite to replicate a burger.

I was really excited by the new Linda McCartney 1/4lb Ā burgers, but found the soy base had a tang to it which didn’t feel quite right. Now I know mock meats aren’t for everyone, and maybe replicating something from a company like McDonalds isn’t massively ethical, but the recipe is entirely vegan, and I can’t think of a word good enough to describe how this recipe tastes!

Vegan Big Mac’s – Makes 6 pattiesĀ 

Vegan Big Mac SauceĀ 

  • 3/4 cup soya milk (non-sweetened)Ā 
  • 1 cup sunflower oil
  • 2 tbsp White wine vinegar
  • 2 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp chipotle paste, garlic puree, salt
  • 1 sliced gherkinĀ 
  • Small dash of liquid smoke

Blend together the soy milk and sunflower oil, pulsing from the bottom to the top of the container

Once combined add all other ingredient and blend until smooth. If the sauce lacks bite add a dash of white wine vinegar. Leave to set in the fridge for 2-3 hours.Ā 

Big Mac PattiesĀ 

  • 225g Seitan (1.5 cups of flour)Ā 
  • Half a red onionĀ 
  • 80g mushrooms (5-6)
  • 120g mix of red kidney and black eyed beansĀ 
  • 1 tsp paprika, cumin, garlic, mixed herbs
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder, pepper, salt
  • 1 tsp liquid smokeĀ 
  • 1 tsp Worcester sauce (I like chipa for a good vegan version)Ā 
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 1 tsp ground chia seed mixed with 2 tbsp water

Roughly chop the Seitan, mushrooms and onion. Blitz in a food processor or hand chopper until is ground, but remains some texture, as below:


Set aside in a large mixing bowl. Pulse the beans in a similar manner. Add in all the spices, flour, liquid smoke, Worcester sauce and chia seed mix and combine with a wooden spoon. Take out a small handful and mould into a pattie, thinner patties tend to cook better and you can double up without it being too filling! There should be enough mixture to make 6 patties, if you have time leave in the fridge for an hour to firm:


Shallow fry the burgers in a tbsp of oil until crispy both sides, near the end of cooking add sliced cheese to the top of the burgers, if you have a lid to your frying pan then putting it on will help your cheese to melt. Serve in a seeded bun with iceberg Lettuce, diced onion, gherkins and big mac sauce, and let me know what you think!

Side Dishes

Garlic Soy Pak Choi

This is far too simple, but makes an amazingly tasty side dish for Chinese main dishes like 5 spice ribs and crispy chilli beef. It’s one of those where you find you’re fighting each other for the last veggie rather than the last chip!

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Ingredients

  • 2 Pak choi
  • 3 tbsp soy sauce (preferably dark)
  • 1.5 tsp garlic puree
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp sesame seeds

Method

  • Take the individual leafs from the Pak choi
  • Heat the seaseme oil in a frying pan
  • Add the garlic, stir fry for a minute or until fragrant
  • Add the Pak choi and pour over the soy sauce
  • Stir fry for 5 minutes
  • Toss in sesame seeds and serve
Chinese · Fakeaways

Crispy Chilli ‘Beef’

The one dish I always used to order from the chinese was crispy chilli beef, because lets face it, where can you go wrong with deep fried food smothered in a sweet chilli sauce?!

I’ve found it pretty hard to get a clear answer from any of my local Chinese’s whether their vegetarian dishes are egg and dairy free, so I decided to try and make my own. Before going Vegan I never considered the possibility of actually cooking a homemade Chinese, and now I realise I’ve been seriously missing out. Swap egg noodles for rice noodles and the possibilities are endless, since I’ve made vegetable chow mein’s, raw and fried vegetable spring rolls, peanut satay soy skewers and five-spice seitan ribs. However my firm favourite is still crispy chilli seitan beef. This recipe has gone down well with both my vegetarianĀ  and meat-eater friends (there’s nothing more satifying than someone trying your food and genuinely not being able to tell the difference from the meat version), and best of all it’s so simple. If you cook a bach of ‘Beef’ seitan and keep it in the fridge this meal can be put together in 20 minutes, and goes fantastically with some garlic soy Pak Choi!

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Crispy Chilli Beef – Serves 2 as a main dish, 4 with rice and extras

Ingredients

  • Ā Beef seitan – double batch (2 cups of flour) (Recipe here)
  • 1 Red pepper
  • 1 Red onion
  • 2 Spring onions
  • 2 tbsp cornflour
  • 2 tsp Chinese five-spice
  • 2 tsp garlic puree
  • 1 tsp ginger puree
  • 3 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 2 1/2 tbsp tomato puree
  • 1 tsp soft brown sugar
  • 3 tbsp sweet chilli sauce
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • Oil (I use garlic infused oil)

Method

  • Thinly slice the seitan
  • Heat a good lug of oil in a frying pan
  • Coat the seitan in the cornflour and five-spice, ensuring all slices are evenly coated
  • Fry for 5 minutes until crispy, if it burns rather than crisps add extra oil
  • Set aside the crispy seitan
  • Add a tbsp of oil to the pan, allow to heat and then add the pepper and red onion, stir fry for a couple of minutes until soft

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  • Whilst the pepper and onion are cooking mix the tomato puree, white wine vinegar, sugar, sweet chilli, onion powder together in a jug
  • Add the garlic and ginger, stir frying for 1 minute until it becomes fragrant
  • Pour the sauce mixture in, cooking for 2 minutes, until it starts to bubble
  • Add the seitan back into the pan, toss to coat thoroughly
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Ensure the beef is thoroughly coated
  • I like to sprinkle some spring onions and seaseme seeds on to serve, and then scoff the lot!
Vegan Essentials

Seitan

Discovering Seitan was a massive step forward in my Vegan cooking. Before I had tried soy and quorn (where they had made it vegan friendly), but I’ve never been someone to cook out of a packet and it didn’t feel right to start now. Tofu is fantastic, but it’s never going to make a mock meat to satisfy someone whose been eating it for years. After some googling, putting all those years at uni to *good* use, I came across Seitan. It was slightly mindboggling to me to start, and I’ll admit I was highly sceptical that it would make a decent substitute, but I was intrigued none the less.

Turns out, it’s pretty hard to get hold of such a mysterious product in the depths of the southwest. Luckily my local healthfood store stocks the flour, and it just so seems that it is most definitely the best way to play with Seitan. Cooking it from scratch allows complete control over the flavours, instead of buying multiple types you have one bag of flour and indefinite possibilities!

This little bag of flour (or 6 when the healthfood store runs out of stock and you panic buy on Amazon…) is mixed with nutritional yeast, stock and whatever herbs and spices you wish and then baked or simmered. So for a chicken type flavour I add more sage and thyme, for ribs I mix in 5 spice, for chorizo I chuck in some hot pepper sauce, for kebabs I integrate cumin, and for beef I use Worcester sauce and beef gravy – it still amazes me beef bisto is vegan!

Anyway, I use Seitan in so many of my dishes it seems like the most logical place to start. Here’s a simple, but tasty way to make beef flavoured Seitan:

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Beef Seitan – Serves 2

* DryĀ IngredientsĀ 

  • Ā 1 cup wheat gluten
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1/4 cup gram flour
  • 1 tsp garlic powder, mixed herbs, thyme
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder, ground Ā pepper

* Ā Wet IngredientsĀ 

  • 1/2 cup vegetable stock (can just use half a stock cube in boiled water)
  • 1/2 cup beef gravy
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp Ketchup and 3 tbsp of BBQ sauce
  • 1 tsp liquid smoke
  • 1 tsp garlic puree

* Ā StockĀ 

  • 1/2 cup vegetable stock
  • 1 cup beef stock
  • Half chopped red onion
  • 1/2 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tbsp parsley and thyme
  • 1/2 tsp liquid smoke
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup BBQ sauce
  • 1 tsp mustard

* Mix together all the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl

*Mix the wet ingredients in a jug

* Slowly incorporate the wet ingredients into the bowl, stiring it into a dough. Be careful as you may not need all of the stock. Once the dough is formed, kneed for 5 minutes until you can stretch the dough and see the strands of gluten.

* Mix together all the stock ingredients and pour into a deep oven dish. Break the dough into 2-3 balls and place in the stock.

* Bake for 30-45 minutes, a longer bake and longer kneeding will result in a tougher, denser end product. Turn the Seitan during cooking to ensure even coating of the stock

* Can be kept in the fridge for a week, or frozen for later use