I have been meaning to review Hilda’s High Protein Vegan for a while. I bought it last year while exploring more protein-rich ideas (I thought it was a great deal, under $5 for a kindle version). Despite many people poo-pooing protein needs, I have long been a proponent of higher protein intake. This is especially important for active people (see my first rant here). With Carrie’s recent post about Fatigue and the Ex Vegan Phenomenon and Sayward’s older post about low cholesterol and protein on a vegan diet, both highlight the importance of proper nutrition. One needs adequate calories (including protein! and fat!) on a restrictive vegan diet which is naturally high in carbohydrates (see my review of vegan nutrition guides here). Why harp on protein? For me, it can be the most difficult to obtain on a vegan diet.
Eat beans and legumes. That includes tofu. Hilda’s book may be soy-free but soy is ok. Yes, there is protein in vegetables (spinach is almost 50% protein) but you have to eat a lot of vegetables for it to be a meaningful protein source. Whole grains, like quinoa, are ok, too. And when you want a high protein boost, pick something like vital wheat gluten which is basically wheat protein powder. Anyways, enough with the lecture, more about implementing high protein meals.
I like Hilda’s book because it has over 100 recipes with an emphasis on a (soy-free) protein component. All are whole-foods based recipes. Recipes are marked as gluten-free, nightshade-free, nut-free, and onion/garlic-free. Some are low-fat, some are higher fat. She does not call for processed foods like fake meat, cheese or yogurt. The cookbook highlights the gamut of vegan protein selections – beans including chickpea flour, whole grains, nuts and seitan. She even has a soy-free tofu recipe to use in a satay tofu with an almond sauce, cauliflower parmigiana bake, bean and mushroom stroganoff and even pasta alla carbonara. I was most excited about the seitan recipes since I don’t make it nearly enough.
One of the paradoxes about eating vegan is that you explore new foods and increase your food options despite limiting meat and dairy consumption. I had never even heard of käsekrainer or a “kransky” before, let try alone a vegan version. Cheese-stuffed sausages are probably the antithesis of vegan eats but here is a vegan spin on it. An easy, flavourful steamed seitan is filled with a cashew cheese spread. I thought the cheese spread was absolutely delicious and was thrilled I had a bunch leftover. I don’t like nooch-heavy sauces but it was very well balanced. In fact, I preferred the cheese sauce before steaming as it lost its sharp, salty bite once in the sausage.
Certainly, I cannot vouch for its authenticity but I can tell you how it tastes: delicious. I shared it with Rob (who hadn’t had a kransky previously, either) who said it tasted 60% like sausage and 40% like cheese. It was 90% like cheese as the uncooked spread. With my recent infatuation with all things mustard, I thought it was perfect with a side of sauerkraut as well. (With a shout-out to this recipe that led me to finally making homemade sauerkraut successfully!!).
Hilda graciously allowed me to reproduce her recipe (it would have taken me so long to type up!) AND giveaway the cookbook to a reader ANYWHERE in the world! BOOYAH! Please visit her blog and thank her! To be entered in the random draw for the cookbook, please leave a comment below telling me about your favourite vegan protein and how you like to prepare it. The winner will be selected at random on March 10, 2014. Good luck!
PS. Here’s a shout out to my latest raw brownie with over 7g of protein per serving without beans/legumes/protein powder. Not enough protein for a meal but I think it is great for a dessert. ;)
This is my submission to Ricki’s Weekend Wellness.
Käsekrainer (kransky) (Vegan Cheese-Stuffed Sausage)
Adapted from High Protein Vegan
Smokey seitan sausages flavoured with garlic and black pepper, surrounding a delicious centre of vegan cheese. Best served with mustard.
2 teaspoons black pepper, ground
3 teaspoons smoked paprika
1 1/2 cups gluten (vital wheat gluten)
1/2 cup chickpea flour
3 tablespoons nutritional yeast (savoury yeast flakes)
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 big cloves garlic
2 tablespoons olive oil or melted coconut oil
1/2 cup tomato sauce (ketchup) [Janet’s note – I used tomato paste]
1 1/2 cups cooked beans (adzuki, borlotti or pinto)
2 tablespoons vegan Worcestershire sauce, tamari, miso or coconut aminos
3/4 cup water
cashew cheeze (recipe below), for filling (best made a few hours or a couple of days in advance)
1. In a large mixing bowl, combine the pepper, paprika, gluten, chickpea flour and nutritional yeast.
2. Place the salt and garlic in a mortar and pestle and crush until it turns into a paste (if you don’t have one, you can just cut the garlic into really tiny pieces using a knife). Add this to a smaller bowl, along with the oil, tomato sauce, beans and Worcestershire sauce. Mash or food process until the beans are evenly mushed up, then add 3/4 cup of water to this mixture. Mix through, then pour into the dry ingredients and stir, then knead to combine. Knead for another minute or two.
3. Bring a pot of water that will fit a steamer over it to the boil. Divide the mixture into 8 pieces. Take 8 pieces of baking paper or foil roughly 3 inches wide by 8 inches long (7.5cm x 20cm). Take each piece of the sausage mixture and shape into a thick rectangle, around 4-5 inches long by 2 inches wide. Place 2 flat teaspoons of cashew cheeze in the length of this rectangle, leaving an inch around the edges. Fold the edges over, to seal, then roll up to completely cover the cheeze. Roll up the baking paper and twist the ends, place in a steamer and repeat for the other 8 pieces.
4. Steam for 40 minutes. Remove sausages from the baking paper and fry in a little oil until browned in places.
Makes 8 sausages.
3/4 cup cashews
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup nutritional yeast
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
optional 1 teaspoon agave
1/2 teaspoon salt
1. For best results, soak the cashews in the water before blending for as little as a few minutes or as long as 8 hours.
2. In a blender or food processor, combine all the ingredients on a low setting. Increase the speed to the highest setting after 20 seconds then blend for another 2 minutes or so, until smooth. This will thicken in the fridge and is best made in advance for the käsekrainer.
Makes 1.25 cups.