So is everyone tired of holiday sweets & treats yet? I’m not (at least, not yet), but it is rather off-putting when practically every food site is shoving cookies, roasts, and stuffing in one’s face. Don’t get me wrong, I am in FULL holiday mode, complete with garlands in my living room, jingle bell earrings on my ears, and Christmas-themed spatulas in hand so I can mix my Christmas goodies; however, holiday overload can be just that: overload. With all the cranberries, turkeys, baked goods, etc, out there, it’s almost hard to remember what exactly one eats when it’s not Thanksgiving-through-Christmas. Fortunately you have me, someone who is constantly mindful of these things, if only for the selfish reason of not having to subject myself to TOO much holiday goodness, so I thought I’d share a super simple recipe that most folks can enjoy as a “real world” departure from Holidayland.
Now, when I first posted about seitan, I honestly thought I’d start losing readers because it’s just not the sort of thing most food bloggers post about. I mean, really; it’s not the most attractive food at first, and the thousands that are afflicted with some sort of wheat allergy cannot partake of this great protein source, making it difficult for everyone to enjoy. However, after seeing that a lot of my recent traffic is actually driven by seitan searches, I realized I was not quite as crazy as I thought and decided to share another of my favorite ways to use seitan: Sweet & Sour! I think EVERYONE likes sweet & sour something for one reason or another: the sweet and/or the sour; the peppers; the sauce; the crispy chicken/pork/etc. in sauce. It’s so not the best thing for you but so delicious anyhow. Because I’m bare-bonesin’ it until sometime in January (or until Mommy spoils me, whichever comes first), I have a very short list of items that are currently gracing my refrigerator: a package of chicken style seitan; some navel oranges; baby spinach; stone ground mustard; rice vinegar; and a package of lavash bread. Not exactly the type of ingredients that will become something fabulous in the future, even with MY creative brain. I had to do something, so I turned to my freezer and cupboards, which was ever so kind in showing me things like pepper strips and brown sugar, respectively. I had soy sauce, some rice, even a can of pineapple; I was set.
Though this is not your typical Asian-food fare, it’s still rather tasty and harkens up memories of Chinese takeout without being anywhere NEAR as bad for you. Using seitan, far less sodium and a lot less fat, this is one sweet & sour dish that won’t leave you feeling guilty. And at just about $2.25/serving, you can safely tell Santa that you’ve been nice this year, no matter how naughty this tastes!
Sweet & Sour Seitan (serves 4; total cost per serving [including rice]: $2.45)
1 small yellow onion
1 c assorted color pepper strips)
½ can pineapple chunks, juice reserved
¼ c cornstarch
1 T granulated garlic
2 T soy sauce
1 ½ T cooking oil
¼ c low-sodium soy sauce
1/3 c brown sugar
½ t granulated garlic
½ can tomato paste
2 T rice vinegar
Prepare the sauce by combining all the sauce ingredients in a small saucepan and whisking together over medium low heat until slightly thick. Cover and set aside.
Cut the seitan into 1½“strips and marinate briefly in the soy sauce. Add the garlic and the cornstarch and toss until the seitan is completely coated. Heat the oil over medium high heat in a large skillet, then add the seitan. Pan fry until the seitan has turned a golden brown and is crispy on the outside. Add the pepper strips and onions and cook until heated (about 2 minutes). Add a generous amount of sauce and the pineapple chunks and stir until combined & heated through.
Serve over white rice or noodles with extra sauce if you like, and enjoy!