Normally I consider myself somewhat anti-meat-substitute. I have always said, as a vegan with benefits–which really just means I eat Greek yogurt, let’s be honest–that if I want to eat turkey, pulled pork, or bacon, well, then I’m just going to go ahead and eat the meat rather than pussyfoot around with tofu-rsionsor scienti-minations. But sometimes my urge to know if I can do something overcomes any former reservations about whether I should. [By the way, that is the tagline for my new film: Vegan Without a Cause.*]
*Did you catch the irony there? Ever since I created Seitan Chorizo Crumbles , I had been pondering the possibility of an Italian version, one a little closer in taste and texture to pepperoni. As I had some time on my hands due to winter break–God bless the public school system–I figured why not now? I consulted Elise’s recipe for log seitan–as the inspirational guru behind my original seitan (nuggets) recipe, I figured she could guide me again–for method, as well as various pepperoni and Italian sausage seasoning recipes for the flavorings.
Did you know (SUPERSTAR!) anise is the key seasoning ingredient in pepperoni? I did not.
Then I took all of that information, stirred it up in my brain, and just made a whole bunch of highly successful guesstimates. [As is Miss Smart's way, dontcha know?] After mixing in to your vital wheat gluten (without it, you can’t make seitan) an assortment of spices and seasonings–paprika, anise, ground mustard, various dried herbs, pepper(s), onion and garlic powders–as well as nutritional yeast (naturally), in goes vegetable broth and some liquid aminos. If you can procure those liquid aminos in a honey bear, well, then, all the better. As I was aiming for a more pepperoni or summer sausage-like texture, I reduced the amount of liquid I would normally put into my seitan recipe. It looks just as weird when you are mixing it…
…and even stranger (but still good!) when you roll it into links.
Wrap up like a party popper and pop ‘em into the oven for 40-60 minutes (depending, I imagine, on how big you make your sausage).*
*Here, size matters. (?) It definitely browns up nicely, and the texture is muchcloser to the cured meat I was hoping to obtain, while still maintaining a bit of chew.
let's go ahead and get the commentary on the phallic nature of this food out of the way
The textural discrepency is perhaps inevitable as seitan is, in its essence, just bread it meat’s clothing, but it is also why I cannot 100% support calling it vegan pepperoni, and yet am conflicted about simply calling it Italian sausage either.Not that it matters what you call you it, because on pizza (perhaps on a crust made with my Whole Wheat Yogurt Ale Pizza Dough ?), with pasta sauce, or–as is my way—thrown on top of a giant bowl of randomosity, it tastes darn delicious. So yes, even though I may not generally support alterna-meats, I CAN make vegan sausage. [Which is a good thing, I guess, since before going vegan I was known for regularly declaring that I 'swooned for cured meat.']
Vegan Pepperoni [Seitan Italian Sausage]
1 cup vital wheat gluten (or ‘high gluten flour’)
1 Tbsp. nutritional yeast
1 cup low-sodium vegetable broth
1 Tbsp. liquid aminos [may substitute tamari or soy sauce]
1 1/2 tsp. paprika
1 1/2 tsp. ground mustard
1 tsp. fennel
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 tsp. dried thyme leaves
1 tsp. dried basil leaves
1 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. garlic powder
3/4 tsp. anise seed, ground [or less if you aren't a fan]
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a medium bowl, mix together wheat gluten, nutritional yeast, and seasonings.
Pour in liquid aminos and 3/4 cup vegetable broth.
Stir well until slightly wet dough forms, adding more broth if necessary. [You want it to stick together, but not be goopy.]
Using your hands, roll dough into small sausage logs. [Don't worry if they aren't perfectly smooth.]
Wrap logs in aluminum foil, tightly, and place directly in the oven.
Bake 40-60 minutes, until browned.
I may not be a fan of meat substitutes, but I AM a fan of weird food. Check out Laura ‘s Friday foodie freak show known as Strange But Good for other odd recipes and collections of crazy.