The future of food is Vegan. Plant Based food companies, including nut milk and meat replacement companies, are on the rise and major organizations such as Tyson Meat and McDonalds are investing in plant-based products. New research emerges every day revealing that plant-based eating is best for the people, the planet, and the animals. Project Drawdown, a NYT bestseller and the most comprehensive book ever written about climate change solutions, posits that the #4 solution (out of 100) for helping to resolve our climate crisis (and the most actionable step any individual person can take) is to adopt a plant-based lifestyle. (According to Science Journal, it’s the #1 solution.) More and more people are hungry for a change and hungry to learn how they can begin transitioning to this sustainable way of living and eating.
While some people can easily adopt and adapt to a new way of eating, the truth is that it can be extremely difficult for many people to change their diets. Often people start out with great intentions, but then their taste buds and old habits get the best of them and they quickly fall back into old patterns. Jumping from meat and potatoes straight into kale and lentils can be a difficult switch for people both emotionally and in terms of digestive comfort. Transition foods in the Vegan and Plant Based repertoire are foods that look and taste like the meat based options that people are used to eating. Veggie meat companies such as Beyond Meat and Gardein offer meat replacement solutions such as veggie burger patties, veggie meat balls, and “chicken” strips and patties. These meat replacements help people to continue making the dishes they are used to preparing without having to learn a lot of new recipes.
While these transition foods have their place, they do have a few disadvantages. They are not the type of foods one will want to eat every day multiple times a day (they are still processed and packaged foods and not whole foods), and they are sometimes more expensive than their meat counterparts. The goal should be to begin using them to ease the transition while one is learning new recipes and trying new foods.
A more economical option can be to make your own veggie transition foods. My husband Josh made this Simple Seitan recipe at our New Year’s Eve festivities this year, and it was a crowd pleaser! The meat eaters and the vegans both devoured these delectable bites. Seitan is a wheat gluten product, so those with gluten allergies and sensitivities should avoid. But if you are able to eat gluten, gather your favorite dipping sauces (maybe a BBQ sauce or Franks Red Hot!) and know that with each bite you are working towards a healthier you and a healthier planet! This recipe takes over an hour to complete, but it is mostly hands off. You can start the seitan simmering while you roast a few veggies, or read through your favorite Peaceful Dumpling articles online!
- 1 ½ cups Vital Wheat Gluten flour
- ½ cup Nutritional Yeast
- 1 cup Vegetable Stock
- ½ cup Tamari
- 2 cloves Minced Garlic
- 1 tsp Mango Habanero Seasoning (or other favorite seasoning)
- 1 tsp Onion Powder
- 1 tsp Fresh Rosemary
- 1 tsp Fresh Savory
- 3 cups Vegetable Stock
- ½ cup Tamari
- 1 cup Water
Mix all dry ingredients with a fork until blended (vital wheat gluten, nutritional yeast, Mango Habanero Seasoning, Onion Powder, Rosemary, Savory).
Then add wet ingredients (Vegetable Stock, Tamari, Minced Garlic) and mix with clean hands into a ball. Knead the dough until stringy when pulled apart. Separate into 3 equal balls.
The Simmer Sauce:
Bring the simmer sauce to a boil, reduce heat, and place the 3 seitan balls into the simmer sauce. Simmer covered, with the lid propped open to release steam, for 1 hour.
Remove the balls from the simmer sauce and slice into strips.
Josh fries the strips in a non-stick pan until crisp on the outside.
Then, he drizzles the strips with a favorite sauce (Frank’s Red Hot for Buffalo Style strips, General Tsao’s Sauce, or Peanut Sauce).
Photo: Angie Follensbee-Hall