Today’s Freaky Friday post takes the freaky weird to a whole new set of levels. [Yes, levels, in the plural.] First, there’s the oddity of discovering this box tucked in the back of Papa and Stepmama Smart’s pantry.
And second, there’s the bizarre and, quite honestly, off-putting appearance of the concoction I made with it.
Sure, Stepmama Smart probably used it to add lightness and elasticity to whichever Cooking Light baking recipe had struck her fancy (or to soften up her perfect pizza dough).But to me, the “vegan with benefits” [and too lazy of a baker to ever worry about adding gluten to (never) homemade bread], the only thing I could think was, “Have Papa and Stepmama Smart been riding with the devil?”*
*And consequently, been cavorting with Tobey Maguire, Skeet Ulrich, and Jewel.^
^Who will save your soul, indeed.
Of course, I’m referring not to Satan, but the wheat-meat(-treat?) that bears an awkwardly similar name: seitan. [Emphasis on the -an, so as to avoid any awkward images of you devouring hooves and horns.]A source of vegan an vegetarian protein, seitan is often used as a replacement for chicken in stews, stir-fries, and the like, due to its similar texture.
Sure, it might look a little freaky…but when you think about it, so does chicken.
It’s also just as inexpensive (if not more so) and easy to prepare as thawing and baking a frozen chicken breast.*
*Without any threat of salmonella contamination. Bonus!Start with 1 cup of wheat gluten. [Yes, Johnny, I’m sorry to tell you that does mean seitan is not gluten-free.] Add 1-2 Tbsp. of nutritional yeast, based on your love for the stuff.*
*Or not. I’m quite partial, but I only went with one.
Garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and pepper are the most basic seasonings. You could make an Italian herb-flavored seitan, or a Cajun version. I simply added cumin. Because I add cumin to everything.
The nuggets will last for quite awhile in the fridge.
Cover them in more broth to maintain soft and chewy texture until you can use them up in a stir-fry, sautee, or seitan pot pie.Although I would recommend one more thing, if I were you.Label them to prevent the more saintly among us from throwing something so freaky directly into the trash.
[Makes about 18 nuggets]
- 1 cup vital wheat gluten
- 1-3 Tbsp. nutritional yeast
- 1/4 tsp. garlic powder
- 1/4 tsp. onion powder
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 1/8 tsp. ground black pepper
- 1/8 tsp. ground cumin
- 2 cups vegetable broth, separated
- 1 1/2 tbsp. low-sodium tamari or soy sauce
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- In a large mixing bowl, stir together wheat gluten, nutritional yeast, and seasonings.
- In a separate glass or bowl, combine 1 cup broth and soy sauce.
- Pour vegetable broth mixture into dry ingredients. Mix well until an elastic dough forms.
- Form 18 nuggets from the dough and place into a glass baking dish (or two).
- Pour remaining broth into dish(es) and bake for 15 minutes.
- Remove pan from the oven, flip over seitan nuggets, and return dish to the oven.
- Bake another 15 minutes.
- Store seitan in the fridge, covered with more broth to maintain soft chewiness.
[I have to thank Elise for the inspiration, as it was she, the Hungry Hungry Hippie, who taught me all about this freaky , creation last fall, and making me feel ready to tackle it for the first time on my own.]