Tag Archives: sandwich

Seitan Gyros Recipe

seitan gyros recipe

A lot of vegan gyros recipes on the web use plain seitan. I think they’re missing the things that make a gyro so great: the delicious things happening in the meat. This gyros loaf is spiced, herbed, and baked seitan. It’s sliced thinly and grilled until it has deliciously crispy edges.

For the tzatziki sauce, you can’t do much better than the recipe on vegweb.com, which uses Tofutti sour cream instead of yogurt (my preference).

Seitan Gyros

Vegan Seitan Gyros

One loaf; enough for about 6 sandwiches.

Ingredients:
1 1/4 cups vital wheat gluten
4 tbsp nutritional yeast flakes
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp crushed dried rosemary
2 tsp oregano
1/2 tbsp lemon zest
1 1/4 cup water
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp sesame oil
1 tsp liquid smoke
2 tbsp ketchup

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a large bowl, combine dry ingredients: wheat gluten, nutritional yeast, salt, pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, rosemary, and oregano. Grate in lemon zest. Stir until evenly blended.

In a small bowl, combine liquid ingredients: water, soy sauce, sesame oil, liquid smoke, and ketchup. Mix well. Pour liquid ingredients into dry ingredients. Knead until combined.

Shape into a loaf approximately 8 inches long. Wrap in foil. Bake for one hour.

To serve (single gyro):
Let loaf cool completely for best results. Slice seitan thinly. Heat 1 tsp olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Fry seitan strips until lightly browned.

Serve strips in a pita. Top with cucumber, tomato, and onion slices, and tzatziki sauce.

The Red Herring is Back!

The Red Herring Vegetarian Restaurant is back in the lunch business after a long summer vacation. I ate a lot of vegetarian meals in college, but never visited the Herring until last year. What a shame! I guess I need to make up for lost time.

The Herring’s menu features a popular array of delicious vegetarian options, most of which are vegan or could easily be ordered as vegan. The sandwiches are served on hearty, homemade breads or pita. Portions are generous, and prices are very reasonable for fresh made (and often local and organic) fare.

Salads are topped with homemade dressings. A daily soup offering (vegan Cream of Broccoli on the day I visited) and vegan chili are great if you need a warm-up, and are served with moist, delicious cornbread. They also offer falafel plates, rice and beans, breads, a daily special entree, fair trade coffee, tea, juice, sodas, and desserts.

Red Herring Vegetarian Restaurant menu

Red Herring Vegetarian Restaurant menu 2

Red Herring Vegetarian Restaurant menu 3

I chose the BBQ Seitan sandwich because I really missed it this summer. It’s tender strips of seitan, dressed with a homemade barbecue sauce and topped with lettuce, tomatoes, onions, and vegan mayonnaise. It was served atop a little nest of popcorn with a pickle spear. Lance ordered the PB&J, and devoured it before I could take a picture. The raspberry jam tasted like it could have been homemade, and the bread was the same fluffy and hearty whole wheat english muffin bread pictured with my seitan.

Red Herring Vegetarian Restaurant BBQ Seitan sandwich

Though their processing machine was not working when we visited, the Herring now accepts credit cards. I don’t usually carry cash, so now I have yet another option for a great vegan meal on campus.

Be sure to “like” The Red Herring Vegetarian Restaurant on Facebook to get all the latest specials and up to date hours. You can also give them some love on Yelp.com. They’re located at 1209 W. Oregon Street in Urbana, IL. Here are some more pictures of the Herring’s funky and friendly atmosphere.

Red Herring Vegetarian Restaurant - welcome locavores!

Red Herring Vegetarian Restaurant artwork - let's make pie!

The monkey on the left says, “let’s make pie.” I’m down with that.

the john, aka think tank

the divine throne room - the seat of revelation

you are here.

This Week’s Random Food

Here’s another installment of random things I have eaten this week.

vegan curry udon with tofu and vegetablesBest photo first! This is Curry Udon Noodles with Tofu and Vegetables, from Cravings Restaurant in Champaign. “Meat-Free” Mike from Food For Thought suggested this, and it was excellent. I love the shape of the carrots. Thanks, Mike!

vegan macaroni and cheese with beer cheese sauceNext on the carb parade: Macaroni with Beer Cheese Sauce. We made fondue last weekend, and I tossed the leftover vegan beer cheese sauce with some hot pasta and seasoned it with black pepper. The beer cheese sauce is based on Classic Fondue from The Uncheese Cookbook. It was delicious as a fondue, but subbing all beer for the wine in the original recipe meant the beer flavor was a bit too strong. Next time I’ll go with half veg broth and half beer. Very creamy, cheesy, and easy to make in a blender.

vegan tofu, lettuce, and tomato sandwich with olive saladHere’s a version of one of my favorite vegetarian sandwiches, the Tofulatta from Strawberry Fields in Urbana. The original sandwich contains grilled tofu, lettuce, tomato, provolone, and olive salad. No provolone here, but plenty of yummy olive salad. It’s the Tofuletta!

I am thrilled to have successfully grilled tofu. And now I can’t stop eating it. I used an indoor panini maker, and it was fast and easy.

tofu on the grill

The Best Tofu In The World is from the deli case at Common Ground Food Co-Op, sold in bulk. Thank you to Sarah, my vegetarian friend and colleague, for the suggestion. It’s the perfect firmness, and requires very little pressing. I slice it about 1/2 inch thick, press it briefly between towels, spread it out on a plate, and brush it with a soy/garlic marinade, then grill for about 3 minutes. The texture is great for sandwiches: chewy and a little crisp on the edges. I’m working on a post featuring several marinades. I prefer these a lot over vegan deli slices.

vegan smoky white beans and kaleThese smoky white beans and kale were awesome, and so easy to prepare. I started with roughly-torn kale, sauteed in some olive oil, with garlic and black pepper. When the kale was slightly wilted, I added about 2 cups of leftover canellini beans I had slow-cooked earlier this week, and 1/2 cup of vegetable broth with a few drops of liquid smoke mixed in. I also added vegan bacon bits. In about 10-15 minutes, the kale was tender but not completely mushy – just right.

vegan zucchini pasta with white bean basil sauceThis is a weird late-summer combination resulting from excessive heat and too many produce odds and ends.

The corn is topped with mayonnaise and lime juice, like elotes served from a local Mexican food truck. I’m really not a fan of mayonnaise on corn, but at least I tried it. The tomatoes have bacon bits on them, because I really wanted something with tomato and bacon flavors. The zucchini is sliced into ribbons with a vegetable peeler. This is the first time I have tried that, and I found that I liked slicing off the outer part of the zucchini only, just down to the seeds. I sliced the leftover seedy “core” I was left with and saved it for smoothies later. Let no vegetable go to waste, right?

The sauce on the zucchini isn’t very visible, but it’s a leftover white bean and basil dip that I made over the weekend. I will definitely post this recipe later, because it’s AWESOME. I was surprised how well it transformed into a creamy sauce over the warm zucchini. I think serving it over wheat pasta would be too bland, but the zucchini “pasta” really works.

vegan Doodles cup: ramen, tofu, bok choy, marinated carrotsThis cup of noodles is from Doodles in Champaign. It’s a little restaurant on campus serving customized bowls of ramen noodles. You can choose your broth flavor (a few flavors are vegan, most surprisingly the “beef” flavor; must be a hydrolyzed soy-based flavoring) and top it with whatever you want. There are a number of meats, of course, and plenty of vegetable options, including vegetable gyoza (not sure if they’re vegan, though).

A Batch of Breakfast Burritos, and Mexican Rice

breakfast burritos

I made ten breakfast burritos last weekend, which I froze or refrigerated for future grab-and-go breakfasts. Each burrito contains:

  • a flour tortilla
  • a smear of vegetarian refried beans
  • Mexican Rice (see recipe below)
  • basic scrambled tofu
  • breakfast potatoes
  • a little hot sauce (Cholula is good)
a batch of breakfast burritos in a bag
Why not use the tortilla bag to hold them together in the freezer?

The process took about an hour. All components except the refried beans were prepared from scratch. A lot of the time was not hands-on, such as when the rice was simmering. I could have used two separate skillets for potatoes and scrambled tofu and cooked them simultaneously, but I wanted to keep dirty pans to a minimum. I cooked the breakfast potatoes in the skillet, followed by the scrambled tofu.

The breakfast potatoes are simply diced potatoes sauteed in olive oil, seasoned with salt and pepper.

These burritos are very filling. I prefer to let them thaw a little in the refrigerator overnight (or longer) before microwaving. I heat them on medium power to avoid hot ends and a cold middle.

I tossed one in my bag this morning and it was an excellent post-run breakfast.

Mexican Rice

This recipe makes more than double what you need for ten breakfast burritos, but reheats well. Use any type of rice you prefer, including long-grain or basmati. I used a medium-grain rice because that’s what I had on hand.

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups medium-grain rice
  • 1 tbsp canola oil
  • 1 8-oz can tomato sauce (not spaghetti sauce)
  • 2 tsp vegetable stock concentrate (Better Than Bouillon is what I use, or substitute 2 cups of broth)
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper

Directions:
In a deep saucepan, heat canola oil over medium heat. Add rice and stir to coat. Toast rice for a few minutes while preparing liquid mixture, stirring occasionally.

Meanwhile, in a 4-cup measuring container, combine tomato sauce, spices, and vegetable stock concentrate or broth. Add enough water to make a total of 4 cups of liquid.

Stir liquid into rice. Cover, reduce heat to low, and simmer 20 minutes. (Be sure to follow cooking time guidelines for the rice you’re using.)

Uncover rice and remove from heat. Stir to separate grains and let stand for about 10 minutes before serving.

Tip: When reheating rice, it helps to sprinkle a little water on it before microwaving, in a covered dish. It keeps the rice moist.

Chickpea Salad Wrap with Hot Cherry Peppers

chickpea salad wrap, arugula salad with grapes and sesame

Chickpeas are my Swiss Army Legume.

Steep them in spiced tomato sauce for channa masala. Mash them up with Vegenaise and whatever you fancy for a Chickpea Salad sandwich or wrap. Roast them for a crispy snack. Bake them into burgers. Grind them smooth to make hummus. (I made a wonderfully spicy southwestern-style hummus last week that I’ll post very soon. It disappeared before I could take a pic.)

I could go on, but… Chickpea Salad. This is a new family favorite. My son asked for this wrap in his lunch today, with the hot cherry peppers and everything. He’s six, and he has always liked spicy foods.

I don’t follow a recipe for this salad, but I’ll try to give some general guidelines. The result is something like tuna salad. I love to serve it with hot cherry peppers because it reminds me of the Jimmy John’s Totally Tuna sandwiches I used to order, “with pep”. It disappears instantly.

Today’s lunch: Chickpea Salad Wrap with Hot Cherry Peppers, and Arugula and Grape Salad with sesame seeds and sweet onion dressing.

Chickpea Salad

Ingredients:

  • One 32-ounce can of chickpeas, drained
  • 4 tbsp Vegenaise
  • 4-5 slices white onion, finely diced (about 1/4 cup)
  • 1/4 cup sweet pickle relish
  • 1/2 tsp Old Bay Seasoning
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • a few twists of black pepper

Directions:

Coarsely mash chickpeas in a bowl. Add remaining ingredients and stir until combined. Serve on bread, in a wrap with baby arugula and hot cherry peppers (as shown above), or on crackers.

Edit: Makes about 5 large-sized wraps with Mission Spinach Herb tortillas.

Tempeh Salad & Carrot-Ginger Soup

Since becoming vegan, people around the office are curious about what I’m eating. I suspect that one person makes a trip down the hall daily just to check out my lunch. I am totally ok with this! I’m happy to report that the interactions have progressed from strange looks, to ingredient questions, and finally, to recipe requests. I love my colleagues.

Today I picked up a soup and sandwich from The Red Herring Vegetarian Restaurant. It was worth the trip across post-blizzard snow and ice, in sub-zero temps.

This is a Tempeh Salad Sandwich, and I’m happy to report, my first positive tempeh experience! I want to like it, since fermented soy products like tempeh have numerous health benefits. The salad is a blend of tempeh, Vegenaise, peppers, onions, and a bit of lemon juice. It’s served with spinach and tomatoes on a whole wheat pita, but nine-grain bread is also an option.

The vivid green pickles in the background are Green Oil Pickles, made and canned by my mom. They’re a sweet pickle flavored with cinnamon and clove oils, and were a nice accompaniment to the sandwich.

The moist, lightly-sweetened cornbread goes with this Carrot-Ginger Soup.

Carrot Ginger Soup

This was perfect for a cold day like today: sweet, spicy, and just a little bit creamy. Excellent.