After taking on cheese paninis and the cheesy oozy guacamole bean dip from my book, my friend Missi Pyle continues to explore her new kind diet. In this installment of her guest blogs, she’s branching out and experimenting with seitan:
More Vegan Adventures in Wonderland with Missi and Meredith. Aka The Vegan 15 Aka Seitan is not from Satan!
You’d think cutting out a lot of animal product from your diet would make you svelt and bodilicous. Well. Not if you are me. You see. It’s not like there aren’t a lot of options to choose from. It’s just that A. I don’t even know what most of them are- Umebochi*? What the hell is that? Miso paste? Do you brush your teeth with it? Kobacha? Whatcha? And legumes. Ok I get it. Fancy word for BEANS. But you literally have to soak them over night. And B. I am such a ridiculous procrastinator, I don’t usually think about what I am going to eat until it is already half way down my esophagus.
I tend to just go for the same not so scary vegan food that is on the counter all the time. potato chips. pita chips and hummos. corn chips and hummos. corn chips and salsa. corn chips and guacamole and hot fake cheese. Bread and pasta and more hot fake cheese and more corn chips.
And when you are out at a restaurant, like the not so vegan one at jfk, and you are starving, and where literally the ONLY vegan thing on the menu is waffle fries. And its almost midnight and you’ve already had 2 glasses of wine, you eat the waffle fries.
Hence the Vegan 15… and matching muffin top.
It was in the quest for something delicious, not scary, and not muffin top-able that I came across this recipe.
Seitan you are asking?? What the hell is Seitan?** Well other than being naughty, obviously, it’s basically wheat gluten. Or wheat meat. And its consistency is pretty dang close to that of say ground beef in a recipe. Fake Ground beef? That doesn’t sound too scary. But is it good?
Well. Wait and see grasshopper.
First you coat the bottom of a casserole dish with most of 1 qt of Marinara sauce. (preferably home made. wow. really? no. we did not do that. we let someone over at whole foods make it. Then put it in a jar. shh..)
Then you cook 1 package of polenta (about 2 cups)
and add a layer of it about 1/- 1/2 inch thick. just use half for first layer. we kind of crumbled ours on there. which was hard on our fingers because it was hot and we are mildly retarded.
Then you spread half a package of seitan (store bought. whew) and spread evenly over the polenta.
then another layer of polenta and the rest of the seitan. You put the rest of the marinara on top. Then spread a nice layer of Daiya Mozzerella fake cheese on the top top. Garnish with oregano, sea salt, pepper, evoo.
Bake at 350 for 30-40 minutes.
Open a nice bottle of red to keep you company while you wait.
Before you take this seitan dish out of the oven. Punish it for being so naughty by broiling the top for a few minutes to brown the “cheese”.
Then wait for it to cool. Which is hard for us because Frank taught us waiting is for pussies.
Then you put some in a bowl
and give it to your baby sister Meredith.
Well. I am not sure that warm and creamy are going to take away my muffin top. But this dish IS delicious. and so NOT SCARY. its like polenta lasagna. But BETTER. seriously. by far the best thing we have made from Alicia’s book. actually its not in the book. just on the website. maybe she should put it in the next book. Alicia?
Until we meet again, remember, no one goes to hell for getting naughty with seitan.***
*umeboshi are pickled ume fruits common in Japan. apparently they are really sour and salty. still not doing it for me. but most vegans think they are super rad.
**truly sorry for that pun
***and that one. i should be punished****
**** again. Sorry.
Missi has since updated me that she lost the extra weight by switching to lentil chips from Trader Joe’s (way fewer calories than corn chips). Now she says she can pretty much eat whatever veg food she wants without gaining weight. Yahoo! Stay tuned for Missi’s next vegan adventure.
What’s your favorite “cheesy” vegan dish?