Seitan “Chorizo” Crumbles

by Sarah on May 3, 2012 · 13 comments

Every month has its signature holiday. May, the month that is also a helping verb, might have the shortest spelling, but it gets not one, but TWO holidays. For the sentimental card-givers and elementary school children among us, there’s Mother’s Day. For those of us who like tortilla chips and any excuse to down margaritas and guacamole…there’s Cinco de Mayo.

Considering my love for Hispanic and Latino culture and food, I’ve got a bunch of recipes you could make on Saturday, from Migas-agna to use up leftovers……to Southwestern Brunswick Stew, in case you encounter a freak cold front or rainstorm.But as I’ve gone vegan (with benefits), eggs and chicken won’t do. Yet, goodness knows, even a vegan misses chorizo. (Especially when she live in Texas for over a year and where one might typically utilize bacon in a recipe, chorizo is used instead.)

So I did what Miss Smart always does: I made my own (vegan) version.

Way back when I taught my “How to Make Seitan” Health Starts Here cooking class at Whole Foods, I commented to my (obviously) captive audience that the next version of seitan I wanted to try would be Mexican-style, lending itself beautifully to fajitas or other Mexican dishes.

Consider it done.

This recipe  starts off the same way as my Herbed Seitan, but instead of using dried herbs to season the basic vital wheat gluten-and-nutritional yeast mixture, I scattered in an assortment of ‘traditional’ Mexican chorizo spices.Oregano, chili powder, ground coriander (cilantro), cumin, onion powder, garlic powder, and smoked paprika added just the right amount of subtle spice. [I would even suggest upping the proportions if you want it to be SUPER seasoned.]Instead of adding tamari to the vegetable broth, I added Tabasco….although if you had Cholula, I’d bust that out in true Mexican restuarant style.Through the powers vested in me by the glutinous gods that be….I now pronounce you….SEITAN!

Break it off into little nubbins of dough, and place in an ovenproof dish with some extra broth or water, and bake off for about 20 minutes, turning and tossin once.Depending on the size of the dishes and pans you have available, your ‘crumbles’ might end up sticking together as they bake. But that’s nothing a little chop-chopping with a spatula won’t fix. :)I will say, straight up, that this doesn’t have the crumbly, slightly dry, meaty texture of true Mexican chorizo…nor is it ever going to be as stiff and sliceable as the cured, Spanish version, but for all intents and purposes, it functions quite nicely.Sauteed with some onions and peppers–plus a whole bunch more cumin…because I can!–and thrown onto a sweet potato, I’ll say this makes for quite the delicious meal.

Cinco de Mayo or Cinco de May-NO.Seitain “Chorizo” Crumbles

  • 1 cup vital wheat gluten
  • 2 Tbsp. nutritional yeast
  • 2 tsp. chili powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1 1/2 tsp. dried oregano leaves
  •  1 tsp. ground coriander
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 3/4 tsp. smoked paprike
  •  1/2 tsp. onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 cups vegetable broth, separated
  • dash (or five) of Tabasco or other hot sauce
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine wheat gluten, nutritional yeast, and spices.
  3. Whisk together 1 cup vegetable broth and Tabasco.
  4. Pour into dry ingredients.
  5. Use a wooden spoon to combine wet and dry ingredients, stirring until an elastic dough forms.
  6. Pull little “crumbles” of dough off and put them into a glass baking dish.
  7. Pour enough remaining broth into dishes to cover bottom of pans (not the crumbles).
  8. Bake 20 minutes, stirring and breaking up crumbles after 10 minutes or so.

Note: Depending on the size of your baking pan, the crumbles will probably end up sticking back together while baking, but they will break apart very easily!

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