Happy Monday, everyone!
In case you haven’t heard – the WHO announced recently that processed meat (including bacon) can cause cancer. While it seems that the list of things that will cause cancer vs. the ones that will not is growing by the day, I’m hoping that this announcement will cause people to begin to really think about the food that they are putting in their bodies.
I am a fairly recent “almost vegan” by my own choice (my parents became vegetarian and vegan when I was around 13), only going for just over 3 months now. Because I am also bringing my family along on this journey, I need to get really creative in my family friendly meals – some of which that use vegetarian/vegan versions of meat products. Many people I see on the internet are of the mindset that substituting meat-like products for meat is pointless. Why not just eat meat?
Because, I like variety.
I didn’t originally choose this lifestyle for the animals – I actually quite enjoyed the taste of meat. No, it started out more as a necessity to our overall health, and over a short amount of time, turned into also being about the animals. I always knew that meat/dairy wasn’t good for me, but once I gave it up, I needed another reason to keep going with it. This is not always an easy lifestyle, and the mind can play some terrible tricks on your emotions. I don’t have any desire to eat meat again (don’t even miss it at all), but I do want certain foods to be in my life in some way.
Pretty much the holy grail of meat, so many die-hard carnivores can never give up their bacon. It was actually the very last thing I ate as a meat-eater (when Tim Horton’s didn’t hear the “no bacon” part of my order, and I was barreling down the highway when I dove into my sandwich), and even my daughter (who was never really a meat eater) talks about eating bacon again.
The best part? As an “almost vegan”, we don’t actually have to stop eating it.
Vegan food has come so far. You can get or make just about anything you like or miss about your own meat eating days. And, if you don’t have any desire to eat meat-like products at all, then that’s ok too. You do you!
But, until my family fully embraces this lifestyle, then I will quite happily substitute the things they know and loved with new things that taste just as good and are animal free. You know it’s a parenting win when both kids are begging for what they call “tofurky” (which is actually the Gardein brand of turkey cutlets) for dinner, and Dave would “easily eat the whole tray to himself”.
Today I am sharing a recipe for seitan bacon. I found this recipe when I was stuck at Canadian Tire for 3 hours while they put my new tires on, and couldn’t wait to try it. It looked so convincing, and the reviews told me it was going to be a hit.
Seitan, or “wheat meat” is the basis for a lot of imitation meat products on the market today. You can bake it, steam it, boil it, bbq it, fry it, etc. Each method gives it a different texture and I’ve seen some seriously creative seitan products out there.
The main ingredient in seitan is Vital Wheat Gluten, which is the devil if you’re sensitive to gluten, but also the ingredient in wheat that gives bread it’s elasticity.
This version of bacon has a smokey, maple flavour, just like the meat version. It pan fries beautifully, and can be thick cut, sliced thin, diced, and enjoyed just like any pork bacon. My house smelled amazing while it was baking.
It has a few steps, and I eventually stopped trying to keep my hands clean, and got in there to knead it by hand, but it helps to keep it looking like pork bacon. I was pleasantly surprised at how quickly and easily it all came together – and oh so much cheaper than store bought.
- 1 c. Vital wheat gluten
- 2 tbsp Nutritional yeast flakes
- 2 tsp Onion powder
- 1 ½ tsp Smoked paprika
- 1/2 tsp ground pepper
- ½ cup water
- 3 tbsp Brown sugar
- 2 tbsp Tamari or soy sauce
- 2 1/2 tbsp Liquid smoke
- 1 tbsp Red miso OR tomato paste
- 1 tbsp Worcestershire Sauce (Vegan)
- 1 tbsp Olive oil
- 1/3 c. Vital wheat gluten
- 1 tbsp Garbanzo bean flour
- 2 tsp Garlic powder
- 1/3 c. Water
- 1 tsp Salt
- 1 tbsp Olive oil
- Mix together all wet ingredients in small bowl, or measuring cup.
- Whisk together all dry ingredients in medium bowl.
- Pour the wet into the dry and mix until combined. You may also want to knead a little on a cutting board.
- Cut into 3 pieces and set aside.
- Repeat the same steps as dough 1, but cut into 2 pieces instead.
- Preheat oven to 325F.
- Spread out large piece of tin foil on flat surface
- Roll out 1 piece from dough 1 until about 1/4″ thick (shape doesn’t matter)
- Repeat for each piece, alternating between dough 1 and dough 2 (make sure dough 1 goes down first, then top with dough 2, etc)
- Once all pieces are stacked on top of each other, press the dough down to about an inch thick.
- Brush with about 2 tbsp maple syrup and top with fresh cracked pepper.
- Carefully wrap the dough in the tinfoil, like a package.
- Bake 90 minutes.
- Once cool enough to handle, slice. Thick for chewier pieces, thin for crispy pieces.
- To pan fry, heat some oil over medium heat and cook until slightly crispy. Don’t overcook or it will become really hard.