Vegetarian Bar Food: Seitan Nuggets and Sweet Potato Fries

Before my husband and I left for vacation we were working longer hours, leaving us feeling tired and stressed. They were the kind of days that you really want a beer and some fatty food to smooth out the nerves. However, we were trying to eat at home, knowing we would be eating every meal from restaurants the next week in Europe. Instead of heading to the bar, I decided to bring the bar food home - vegetarian and fresh made, of course. The fridge was pretty bare, but luckily I had one lone sweet potato rolling around the drawer and a bunch of fake meat options. I don't usually fry anything in oil, but I figured since we were eating vegetarian we could let that rule slide this time. The package of seitan made way more nuggets than I expected, but they were so good we ate the entire bowl of them. 

Sweet Potato Oven Fries
Heat oven to 450F.
Cut sweet potatoes into even sized pieces. Drizzle olive oil onto a sheet pan and place potatoes in a single layer. Drizzle oil over potatoes, sprinkle with salt and pepper and a tiny pinch of sugar. Roast until crispy and browning, about 20 minutes. It helps to turn each of the fries individually at least once, so they brown evenly. 

Breaded Seitan Nuggets
8oz package Traditional Seitan
2 eggs, whisked
1/2 C flour
1/2 C Italian seasoned dry breadcrumbs
1/2 C Panko bread crumbs
1/2 tsp Dried Italian seasoning (or a pinch each (dried): thyme, basil, oregano, parsley)
1/2 tsp Adobo seasoning
Salt & Pepper
Canola oil
1. Chop Seitan into nugget sized pieces

2. Place 3 bowls in a line. Bowl 1: flour with a little salt & pepper. Bowl 2: whisked eggs. Bowl 3: Bread crumbs and seasonings. I've discovered that mixing regular bread crumbs with panko makes the perfect crispy crust that sticks in place through cooking.

3. Using tongs, transfer a few pieces of seitan at a time into bowl 1 to dredge in flour. Transfer to bowl 2 and moisten in the egg. Roll each piece in bowl 3 to coat with crumbs. Place on a plate to await frying. 

4. In a deep skillet, pour canola oil to come 1/2" up the sides. Turn heat on medium-high. Drop a test bit of egg/crumb mixture - when it begins to sizzle and brown the oil is ready. Or insert a wooden spoon into the oil from time to time - it will release bubbles when the oil is hot enough. Reduce heat if oil starts to smoke at all.

5. Using clean dry tongs, transfer nuggets to oil and fry in batches, turning once, until golden and crispy. It should take about 5-7 minutes per batch - taste one from the first batch to make sure the seitan is neither too moist or too dry inside and adjust cooking time if needed. Drain on paper towels.

6. Serve with dipping sauce like honey mustard, bbq, or buffalo sauce.

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