Friday Tips: Make your own VEGAN meat

Vegan Goodness:

Today we ate:

  • Breakfast: Green smoothies for Dad and LP.  Mom and IP got a special treat – breakfast at Veggie Galaxy with some wonderful friends!  Mom had a vegan omolette.  IP had Mom’s homefries and toast.
  • Lunch: Leftover pasta for LP and Dad.  Mom had a bowl of soup.
  • Dinner: Thai red curry over quinoa (which is a great, quick dinner, especially if veggies are pre-chopped!
  • Mom and Dad had some spiced sweet-potato cupcakes with cream cheese frosting for dessert.

Money Matters:
Today Mom’s friends treated her to breakfast (thanks!) so Mom only spent the following:

  • $7.00 on Veggie Galaxy brownies for Dad and LP (since Mom felt bad they missed out on a Veggie Galaxy trip)
  • $38.72 for gas

Friday Tips for Living Vegan and Living Cheap – with kids!:

Make your own Vegan Meat

Sometimes people ask me if eating vegan is expensive.  My answer is “it depends on what you buy, just like if you are not vegan.”  The truth is that processed vegan foods, like cheese, meat and specialty goods (hellloooo Dandies marshmallows) can be pretty pricey.  We don’t eat vegan meat substitutes much anymore, not just because of cost, but also because our palates have adapted to eating a whole-foods, plant-based diet with fewer processed ingrediants.  However, we we do want some vegan sausage for our jambalaya, or some veggie bacon for breakfast, or some veggie burgers for the grill, we make our own.  It’s cheaper, it’s healthier and it is super easy!  Here are a few tips for our favorites

Learning to love vital wheat gluten (aka seitan): Yeah, go ahead and say it.  When you say “seitan” it sounds pretty close to saying “Satan.”  But seitan is not evil – it is, in fact, delicious!  Seitan, often called “wheat meat” uses wheat gluten to create a chewy based for almost any seasoning.  To make seitan-based recipes you will need vital wheat gluten, which can usually be found in the baking aisle of your grocery store.  There are loads of setian recipes out on the web or in some great cookbooks like Vegan on the Cheap, but some of my favorite are these vegan Italian sausages and vegan pot roast.  At first making seitan can be a little intimidating, but after making it once or twice you get the hang of how the dough and the cooking process works and it becomes a breeze!

Fast flavors: Seitan can’t be beat for that chewy texture, but a lot of times I simply want the flavors that I associate with meat from my non-vegetarian days.  Personally, I think it is interesting that I never want a raw piece of animal flesh, but I do want the spice of italian sausage or the smokiness of bacon.  The reality is that the aspects of meat that I liked were all in the flavor, which can be readily replicated with lots of other great (and much healthier) food!  Tempeh bacon is one of my favorite brunch (or dinner!) dishes, and I have started making tempeh chorizo from Vegan Eats World to put on our burritos.  Both dishes involve either marinating or cooking tempeh in familiar flavors like liquid smoke (bacon) or tomato paste and paprika (chorizo).

Bean Burgers: Packaged veggie burgers are ubiquitous at cookouts these days, but this summer I discovered how much I loved making my own black bean burgers.  They are cheap, easy, and I can add in whatever flavors I want, like cumin, cayanne, or veggies like corn or bell pepper.  Here is just one black bean burger recipe you could use as a base.

While store-bought vegan meats can be easy and delicious (I love Field Roast’s brand, as well as Tofurky) it is great to be able to make your own food just the way you like it – at a fraction of the cost!

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