crispy vegan deliciousness

Inspired by Jessica + Sonja I have been meaning to make a veganized version of the crispy baked chicken tenders they have had on their blogs, multiple times.

Sonja’s Boneless Buffalo Strips

Jessica’s Crispy Honey Ginger Chicken + BBQ Chicken Fingers

The first thing I had to tackle was making vegan buttermilk.  Not a problem.

  • 1c non-dairy milk [I used plain hemp milk]
  • 1T lemon juice or vinegar
  1. Combine, stir + let sit for ~10min.

Easy, no?

(3 of 33)

Then I mixed breadcrumbs, flour, and seasonings.  Full recipe at the end.

(4 of 33)

Okay, I know this looks scary + quite gross.  I breaded Seitan [a protein substitute] strips and a few strips of tempeh.  I used to be scared of Seitan until I actually learned what it was.  Someone said the texture is rubbery and that scared me off.  It’s not rubbery!  It’s definitely somewhat similar to chicken and tastes pretty much like bread.  Yes, bread!  It’s made from whole wheat flour or vital wheat gluten.  It looks pretty easy to make at home too.  I will definitely be trying that when I get back from Ohio.

(5 of 33)

I cut a block of tempeh into strips and let those soak in the “buttermilk” mixture with the seitan.

(6 of 33)

Pre-baking.  It worked really well to set a wire cooling rack on a cookie sheet for baking in the oven.

(7 of 33)

This comes in strips or chunks.  I hate the word chunk, especially when talking about food, however I would probably get the chunks next time.  The strips weren’t the same size/thickness and the smaller pieces dried out a bit.

(8 of 33)

Oh.  Random insert, but I drank this during the day and it’s delicious.  But, it’s only delicious if you like the grassy, earthy taste of Japanese Green Sencha tea.  There are no sweeteners or flavors in this.  I love grassy sencha, but it’s not for everyone!

(9 of 33)

I also tried something new with broccoli.

(22 of 33)

I found the recipe from one of my old Cooks magazines.  It called for baking the brocc, but the oven was already busy and needed a different temp so I just sautéed it.

(28 of 33)

Seitan strips fresh out of the oven!

(30 of 33)

Breaded + baked tempeh strips.

(31 of 33)

Altogether!  With a pile of ketchup, obviously.

(32 of 33)

I really liked these + so did Chris!!  I’m not really into buying the processed vegetarian meets like tofu-dogs, and the Gardein “chicken” strips.  When I use a meat substitute I like to buy it in it’s plain/whole food form and then do something with it myself.  Just a preference! :)

(33 of 33)

Vegan Crispy Strips

  • 1, 8oz packaged Seitan
  • 1, 8oz block tempeh
  • 1.5c plain non-dairy milk
  • 2T vinegar or lemon juice
  • 2c panko breadcrumbs [I used 365 brand]
  • 1/2c whole wheat flour
  • 1t dried basil
  • 1t dried oregano
  • 1t dried garlic powder
  • 1t salt
  • ~10-15 grinds of black pepper
  • 1/8-1/4t cayenne pepper
  1. Mix non-dairy milk + vinegar and let sit for 10min.
  2. Separate seitan pieces and cut tempeh into strips. 
  3. In a shallow baking dish pour the milk mixture and add strips.
  4. Let marinate in the fridge for 2hrs, flipping 1/2 way.  **This was a step in the chicken finger recipe but I only let the strips marinate for 10min.  I’m not sure if it’s as crucial with the non-meat version, but I might try it next time.
  5. Mix breadcrumbs, flour and all spices in a large bowl.
  6. Preheat oven to 350* [I had the oven set at 450* but it dried out the strips too much].
  7. Coat the strips in the breading mixture and spray with cooking spray [I used olive oil in my Misto can].  Spraying the breading on the strips will help it stick.
  8. Gently lay the strips on the wire cooling rack [sitting on a rimmed cookie sheet].
  9. Once all are breaded, bake for 10-12min on the first side, carefully flip and bake another 10-12min on the other side.
  10. To get a crispier crust, turn your oven to broil, and broil on each side for 1-2min.  Keep an eye on them because they’ll brown fast!

*Hopefully keeping the oven temp lower will help to not dry out the seitan as much.  Even though it was a tad dry, we still both really liked them, dipped in our favorite sauce.

*I really pressed the breading mixture into the seitan to get it to stick and sprayed it while in the breading bowl, so the crumbs didn’t fly off everywhere :)

I’m definitely going to play with this recipe a bit, but as I said we gobbled up every last bite of this meal!  The tempeh didn’t dry out and the breading stuck better to it as well.  So you could definitely just use all tempeh if you want.

Let me know if you have any questions!

Crunchy Broccoli

  • 1 large head of broccoli ~1.5lbs
  • 1/4-1/2t salt
  • 1/2t sucanat [or any sugar]
  • 3T olive oil
  • black pepper
  • 1/4t garlic powder
  1. Wash and chop broccoli.
  2. Heat a large pan over medium heat.
  3. Toss broccoli with all other ingredients in a bowl.
  4. Pour into pan and cook until desired doneness is reached. [I cooked for about 5-7min]

This method will give you delicious, crunchy broccoli.  I loved it!!!  The tiny bit of sugar [which was the tip from Cooks magazine] really helped bring out the flavors.  YUM.

Happy EATing!!