It’s leap year – the perfect time to serve vegan frog legs to your friends, especially people who are vegan-curious or don’t know anything about vegan cuisine. You might get the result I did; he said: “These are great! Can you get the restaurant in town to serve these?”
We get a lot of lake-effect snow at my house. Frequently we shovel the bottom of the driveway, especially after the town snowplow comes. One day a man who works at the barn up the street stopped and introduced himself as Bob. He offered to push my snow with his truck’s plow. I appreciated the offer, but I didn’t want to feel I was taking advantage of his kindness, so I said, “Please just push the snowplow’s hard icy snow into the pile. I can do the easy stuff. Thanks!”
For the next month on each day that it snowed, the snow next to the road was pushed out of my way, but I never saw Bob. Finally, I visited the barn and left some vegan cookies and a note for him. When we conversed, I invited him to dinner. I asked his three favorite vegetables. I made lots of courses he liked using his favorite veggies and his favorite dessert—cherry pie! But what everyone remembers from the evening was the Frog Legs.
What could I possibly serve someone who is in the business of making cows become hamburger? How could my vegan food satisfy a meat-and-potatoes man? I had an arsenal of recipes from the book Dating Vegans, but this man is in the meat business!
When he asked for a third helping, he said, “I’ve never had frog legs before. These are great! Can you get the restaurant in town to serve these?”
The seitan recipe is from American Vegan magazine winter 2017 copied here with permission and slight edits. Seitan was formed into frog-leg shapes or lumps of V for vegan depending on how you see it. I threw together my super-easy version of BBQ sauce inspired by a recipe I read in the summer 2017 issue and added a can of beans to the BBQ before baking.
BBQ Frog Legs
Made from seitan and BBQ sauce with a can of cooked beans. Make the seitan and sauce. Assemble seitan and beans into a casserole pan. Pour BBQ sauce over seitan. Cover and bake for an hour. If thicker sauce desired, the last few minutes can be uncovered after the seitan has soaked up some of the sauce, but I like to ensure no sauce splatters in the oven while cooking.
Have fun making incredible high-protein meaty dishes with seitan!
Yield: a large loaf, approx. 9x12x1”
3 cups vital wheat gluten (VWG)*
1 cup nutritional yeast flakes
1 cup dried herbs & spices: pick 4 favorites in approximately equal amounts (¼ cup each) such as basil, cumin, paprika, oregano. Sounds like a lot, but it gives great flavor. Or plan to make a kickin’ sauce.
Two handfuls of favorite veggies such as carrots, celery, onions, bell pepper (to make 1-2 cups finely chopped)
½ cup soy sauce
6 oz. (1 small can) tomato paste
2 Tbsp mustard
3 cups water
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Use food processor or finely chop vegetables. Place all wet ingredients in pot and simmer 10 minutes. (Alternate method: Sautée veggies with oil 10 minutes, especially if using mushrooms, then add the other wet ingredients; use water heated to warm.)
Meanwhile, mix together all dry ingredients.
Add hot wet ingredients to dry ingredients. Mix until it is absorbed, and no dry remains. (If too wet and the mix is puddling, gradually add more VWG until it makes a damp dough. Add water if too dry.) Knead and fold the mixture for about 2 minutes.
Place aluminum foil on a baking sheet, leaving enough to completely wrap the seitan as a large loaf. Slide the seitan to the middle of the foil and shape to a big rectangle, approximately 9×12” and 1” high. If making something special such as frog legs, roll smaller pieces into balls, shape them as desired, then gently pack them together—they will pull apart to use. Wrap, crimping edges closed. Bake 45 minutes per side.
Let cool at least 20 minutes and remove from foil before slicing or pulling apart.
Sautée to crisp up and serve for sandwiches or stir-fry recipes, or ready to use in other dishes that will be further baked such as BBQ Frog Legs. Stores in refrigerator up to 10 days or freeze up to 6 months.
*Notes: VWG is difficult to scrub clean after it dries, so wash your mixing items relatively soon. Seitan could be made from wheat flour which requires steps to wash out the bran and starch.
Yield: 3 1/2 cups
1 cup tomato paste
1 cup ketchup
1/2 cup tamari (soy sauce)
3/4 cup sweetener such as molasses or maple syrup
1/4 cup water or just enough to blend (depends on sweetener and your desired thickness)
Dash of hot sauce or cayenne pepper to taste
Place all ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth. For best taste use cooked or baked, but also finger-lickin’ good as it is.