It’s deep, dark fall, y’all! Living without a sweater, thick socks and a big cup of hot tea? Impossible! But, you don’t want to be eating comfort food all the time, right? The products of Vantastic may be just the right thing for you. They’re prepared quickly into fried up pieces of vegetarian filet with no fuss, and you can fry them up without covering them in breadcrumbs or a big gob of cream sauce, so they’re quite healthy. You can buy them at Tegut… (and other places, I’m sure) or order them through the internet. I know that finding gluten-free versions of meat-substitutes is a bit of a pain (thank you, seitan!), so I thought I would feature these on my blog. I’m sure you can buy similar products whereever you happen to be living. I know that there are similar products available at the organic stores (Reformhaus) here in Germany, but I never thought they were as delicious as the ones by Vantastic.
I buy them at Tegut…, because I try to avoid ordering food through the internet (if that’s at all possible when living gluten-free). We spent our weekend in Kassel, where they have Tegut… stores. They’re basically a fancier type of supermarket with an emphasis on organic products aside from anything you’d normally find in a regular supermarket. This means they have a nice selection of vegetarian products in their fridges (most of them are not gluten-free though) and a nice range of gluten-free products in all of their stores. They used to be family-owned chain from Fulda (I know, because I visited their headquarters with one of my geography seminars during college and even met the owner), but recently sold themselves to a Swiss company – which had a lot of people worried that their selection would be homogenized to resemble that of more standard supermarkets.
Before we left for Kassel last week, I made a small shopping list and I ensured to tell my husband to remind me to buy products by Vantastic at Tegut… We tried their Big Steaks this summer – I made Schnitzel! – and we really loved their taste and texture. I’ve not seen them in supermarkets or other stores here in Cologne, so I went without them until now. At Tegut… I saw that Vantastic has more products, e.g. some red meat imitation, but that not all of them are gluten-free. Thus, I settled for quite a few packages of Big Steaks and bought a package of Soy Nuggets in order to try them.
While I never tried Big Steaks in any form other than Schnitzel, I decided to fry the soy nuggets up without covering them in breadcrumbs. They are very delicious: moist on the inside, crispy on the outside and you can really vary the way that you season them. I’m sure they would work really well in a cream sauce, in any stir-fry or any other dish that would require small pieces of meat from animals.
How does it work? You boil up a generous amount of vegetable broth. You should place whatever amount of soy nuggets you want to eat later on and place them into a pot. Cover them with the hot vegetable broth (I used Knorr Delikatessbrühe).The nuggets should really be covered entirely in broth, you want all parts of it to turn soft and imbibe liquid. (If you don’t do this, your nuggets will be hard or very chewy and this is not a pleasant feeling in your mouth, trust me!) You can now add any other seasoning that you might find adequate, e.g. soy sauce, garlic or onion powder, chili flakes, herbs, etc. The soy nuggets should soak in broth for about fifteen minutes to half an hour. Then, remove the vegetable broth, carefully squeeze a bit of liquid from the nuggets (they should no longer be dripping with broth) and proceed to cook with them.
I simply heated up some oil in a pan, added the soy nuggets and fried them until they were crispy and golden brown. I ate them with a side of steamed cauliflower. Yeah, not very exciting, but I was hungry and had lots of things that needed to be taken care of after lunch, so….I think these are a great alternative to tofu or burgers made from pulses. I wouldn’t eat them every day, but they make a great week-day dinner and are most delicious with a dollop of ketchup. I am sure I will try them in an asian-type dish soon!
If you try them, let me know how you liked them! 😀