Saturday, November 20, 2010

Vegetarian Lunch Meat

Well well well. This was certainly an experiment out of my comfort zone. I commented on Crystal's post a few days ago about how afraid I was of vital wheat gluten. It just sounds so foreign and I'd never seen or used it before.

But just like any time I finally admit one of my fears, I seem to instantly become determined to get over it. I found vital wheat gluten in the bulk bins at the co-op, it's a silky white powder that I think was about $2.50 per pound, and you can get it packaged from Bob's Red Mill also. With this bag of strangeness staring at my from my cupboard for a few days, I decided to tackle a crazy recipe for homemade vegetarian lunch meat.

The recipe is so incredibly simple and it makes a huge loaf of veggie meat that tastes fantastic sliced on bread with mustard and pickles! I still can't wrap my brain around the concept of making meat out of wheat, then serving it on more wheat...but it tastes so satisfying and delicious that I don't really care. Plus I have heard that vital wheat gluten is super high in protein so it's probably good for me to boot.

The cooking process involves both steaming and baking. I puzzled over how to steam my loaf for awhile and then I decided to elevate it on a few canning rings from pint jars in a half inch of water over medium heat. It worked like a charm.

This fake meat tastes just like seitan, or mock duck, if just a smidge drier for easy slicing. If sandwiches aren't your thing, you could use this loaf cut into cubes for stir fries, curries, or pot pies.

Vegetarian Lunch Meat, adapted from Vegan Dad and The Life
1 can or pint of white beans, drained
1/3 cup olive oil
1/4 medium onion, grated on a box grater
2 cloves garlic, grated on a microplane
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1 chipotle pepper in adobo (from a can)
2 Tbsp poultry seasoning
1 Tbsp cumin
1 Tbsp paprika
1 Tbsp oregano
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
2 cups boiling vegetable broth
2 3/4 cups vital wheat gluten

Add beans, oil, onion, garlic, soy sauce, chipotle, and spices (through pepper) to a food processor and blend until smooth and well mixed.

Remove to a large bowl and stir in broth. It will look like a red watery mixture. Add the vital wheat gluten and mix well. It will quickly become very thick, use your hands to knead for a few seconds to ensure it's very well mixed. Add to a foil-lined loaf pan (or just wrap in foil like a burrito).

Heat 1/2 inch water in a large dutch oven over medium heat. Place 2 metal canning rings in the pot. Put your loaf (in the pan or out, doesn't matter) on the rings, cover, and steam for 1 hour. You may need to add a bit more water after 30 minutes.

Then put your loaf (again, in the pan or out) in a 350 degree oven and bake for 40 minutes. Let cool.

Tastes great on bread with mustard and pickles.

ONE YEAR AGO: Kale and Chard Panade


  1. Shoot - I mentally responded to your comment about the vital wheat gluten, but guess I never actually typed it. Oops!

    I echo your feelings on it. I love it in some dishes, but for sandwiches, I have a hard time putting bread on bread. It just doesn't seem right.

  2. I am glad that I found this because I was puzzling also how to make this with no steamer except my bamboo steamer. I was going to just use a plate and a bowl inverted but the canning rings route seems easier. I just need to get the ingredients.