Vegan-friendly crowd-pleasing kid food exists, in this case mostly due to mustard. My friend Jess makes this recipe at home and it was always my answer to her "do you want me to bring anything?" I love the mustardy flavor, but it also has two other ingredients that will get your vegetarian friends to offer to do the dishes if you use them together: seitan and nutritional yeast.
If you eat meat, these probably aren't in your house, and you may not have had them at all before. Seitan is prepared vital wheat gluten and has a great texture as far as meat substitutes go. The hair shirt variety make their own, and it's good, but you can buy it in most groceries either fresh or as canned "mock duck." Nutritional yeast is simply flakes of prepared yeast. It's full of vitamins and protein while being so delicious it should be a controlled substance. I put it on everything but my breakfast cereal.
So, the recipe is basically that you get all this nutritious stuff together ... and fry the bejesus out of it. Health food is normally what people serve vegetarians that come over for dinner, but I feel I should note that it's harder to win people over with health food. We too like unhealthy things in a bun with coleslaw or dipped in barbeque sauce or ketchup. Fry something: winning people over is good for you.
- 2 tbsp mustard*
- 1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp flour
- 2 tbsp soy milk
- 1/2 cup cornmeal
- 1/2 cup nutritional yeast
- 1 tsp to 1 tbsp ground cayenne
- 1 tbsp cajun seasoning, or
- 1 tbsp poultry seasoning, or
- 1 tbsp garlic powder
- 1/2 cup oil for frying (peanut oil recommended)
1. In a bowl, mix together the two tablespoons mustard, flour and milk and set aside. It'll be very thick and rather pasty looking; this is good.
2. In a separate bowl, mix the cornmeal, nutritional yeast, 1/2 cup flour, cayenne, and other spice(s) of choice.
3. Cut seitan into chunks about the size of walnuts.
4. Coat in mustard mixture and then dredge in dry flour mixture 'til well coated.
5. Add oil to a large saucepan at medium-high heat.
6. Add seitan nuggets in a single layer and fry 'til browned. Serve immediately.
* Jess normally makes hers with regular yellow mustard and it's awesome. It's great with the whole grain stuff too, but the flavor profile is really different. Use whatever you have in the fridge.