Roasted Vegetables and Seitan

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We should probably talk.

Not about the new year, because you’ve already been cutting out sugar and bread while gliding your way toward the physique you had before, say, Halloween. Who would’ve thought that coconut macaroons could be so good? Since when has a truffle tasted like heaven in a bite? You don’t even like caramel corn.

We’re all in the same boat. So you’ve joined a gym. You’re dying during a spinning class. Your clothes are really sweaty. You got a new yoga mat. You’re drinking lemon water with cayenne pepper and maple syrup for breakfast. I get it.

But I think we should talk about something else. It’s the dreaded V-word. No, not vegetarian, because you’re probably okay with that by now.

I’m talking about veganism. Yeah. I’m about to get really real. Because…veganism means no cheese. It means no butter. No eggs. I might cry just thinking about it.

But I’m doing it.

For the next two months, I am not going to eat any animal products (except for honey because…I don’t even want to get into it.), nor am I going to drink beer.

Why? Because I’m lactose intolerant. Because six pints of PBR doesn’t feel really great. Because health is important. Because my body is important.

But most importantly, because I’m really competitive and my new job (say what?) is having a get-fit showdown, and I’m about to whoop some bootylicious booty.

So I’ve already gone grocery shopping and come back sans cheese, butter and eggs for the first time…in a while. I’ve got the cook books. I’ve got the determination.

And let me tell you.

Seitan is pretty weird.

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Right? What is that? It’s like chicken. It kind of tastes like chicken and has the consistency of…chicken. It’s dubious. It’s an indescribable color.

But it’s packed with protein – more than tofu – and has less fat than its soybean cousin. And, like chicken, it sucks up flavor like a sponge.

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The pitfall of many vegetarian and vegan diets is that participants (should I call them that?) succumb to human cravings for salty and sweet food without thinking twice about the amount of carbohydrates and sugar that go along with it.

Guys. Just because it’s vegan, doesn’t mean it’s healthy.

For this vegan experiment, I will do my darndest to not only avoid the cheese and the eggs, but also the bread and the sugar.

It’ll be hard. So, so hard.

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But worth it.

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Smothered in a ginger sauce and tossed with a splash of barbecue for added kick.

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Parsley adds color and a little pinch of refreshing flavor to any dish, roasted or raw.

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Roasted vegetables and seitan.

1lb seitan, uncooked and cubed or shredded
2 zucchinis, sliced thick
1 red bell pepper, coarsely sliced
1 yellow bell pepper, coarsely sliced
10oz crimini mushrooms, sliced in half
2 tablespoons barbecue sauce
1/8 cup ginger salad dressing (or just create your own ginger salad dressing by infusing the root with olive oil and a splash of sesame oil over night)
1/8 cup olive oil
1/4 cup fresh parsley, minced
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

In a large mixing bowl, toss the seitan, vegetables and liquids until everything is coated evenly. Pour into a baking pan and roast for about 25 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes.

Once you take it out of the oven, let it cool slightly before adding the minced parsley. Add salt and pepper to taste with each bowl.

Makes about 5-6 servings.

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