Veggilicious (Vegan) Donair with Pickled Beets
Vegan meat recipe – soy-free ∙ grain-free ∙ high-protein
(inspired by the vegan ground beef recipe on the PowerHungry blog)
Although seitan or tempeh are easy to use, this vegetarian recipe favors unprocessed whole plant foods, for a gluten-free and soy-free alternative. It is super veggilicious and loaded with fiber while maintaining meaty amounts of protein and iron. This recipe makes just under 2.5 lbs. Set aside ¼ of the finished recipe to season for vegan donair meat, and then freeze the rest. Later, enjoy making meatless meatballs, vegan ground, or vegetarian meatloaf.
- 2 cups dry brown lentils (can sub green as well)
- 8 oz /170 g (about 1 container, or 2.5 cups chopped) mushrooms (we used cremini)
- 5 oz /142 g (about 1 small) onion, trimmed, cut into large chunks
- 1/4 cup ground flax seed meal
- 2 tsp beet crystals
- ½ scoop greens powder (optional)
- 1/2 cup (40 g) nutritional yeast*
- 1 and 1/2 tsp fine sea salt (more or less to taste)
- 3/4 tsp freshly cracked pepper (more or less to taste)
Place rinsed lentils in a pot and cover with water. Bring the water to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 10 minutes. While the lentils cook, pulse the mushrooms and onions in a food processor until very fine, but not quite pureed. Scrape out processer (no need to clean it) and put contents in a large bowl. When lentils are ready, they should be slightly undercooked so they have some ‘tooth’, but they need to be soft enough to contribute moisture. Drain them, rinse in cold water, and drain again, then place them in the food processor. Again, pulse until very fine, but not quite pureed. Scrape the lentils into the bowl. Add remaining 5 ingredients to the bowl and mix everything together. *If you cannot add the yeast, simply increase the amount of flax meal and seasonings. It is fine if distinct white, brown and red spots remain, you simply want the seasonings evenly blended in. Taste and adjust the seasonings as needed. Use the additional seasonings below to enjoy in a donair or explore the options below for future use!
Spice blend to season your vegan donair meat
- 2 tsp paprika (no paprika? Try smoked paprika or chili powder)
- 1 tsp allspice (no allspice? Use cinnamon)
- 1 tsp garlic powder (you can also use about 3x more fresh garlic)
- ½ tsp ginger powder (no ginger? Use cardamom)
- ½ tsp turmeric powder (no turmeric? Try oregano)
Preheat your oven to 375F/190C. To make your vegan donair meat, mix the additional spices into about ¼ of the above batch of raw “meat”. Taste and adjust seasoning. You can also add a tablespoon or two of oil, if desired. Then, form into a loaf shape, and place it either on a parchment-lined baking sheet, or into a loaf pan lined with parchment paper. Bake in a for 30 to 40 minutes until browned. Alternately, you may cook it in a microwave-safe dish for approximately 10 minutes.
Wrap it up and make it yours – choose the garnishes you enjoy
- Flatbread or pita (tortillas or collard leaves also work)
- Vegan ground (recipe above, baked in a loaf shape, sliced)
- Tomato, Cucumber, sliced
- Lettuce, Purple cabbage, leaves torn or cut into thin strips
- Red onion, cut in thin rings
- Vegan tzatziki (recipe to follow), hummus or donair sauce, hot sauce, or a combo
- Pickled turnip (prepared in advance, recipe to follow)
Pickled turnip (make ahead)
- 3 cups water
- 1/3 cup Kosher salt
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 cup white vinegar
- 2 lb turnips (about 1 large turnip or Swede) – peeled and cut into matchsticks
- 1 spoonful Salus Red Beet Crystals
- 2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
Warm water, salt and bay leaves in a medium sized pot on medium heat. Stir until salt is completely dissolved, 3-5 minutes. Cool completely, then add the vinegar and beet crystals and stir. Divide sliced turnip and garlic into two Mason type jars. Pour the liquid over the turnips. Put on the lids and let sit overnight, or for up to 5 days for fermentation. The pickles will keep about a month and are best refrigerated.
Fast and easy vegan tzatziki
- 1 cup unsweetened coconut yogurt
- 1/2 large cucumber, grated
- 2 cloves of garlic
- Salt and pepper
Mince the garlic and let sit for a few minutes. Sprinkle salt over the grated cucumber. Place the yogurt in a medium bowl and stir in the minced garlic. Squeeze excess water from the grated cucumber and add it as well. Add salt and pepper to taste. Will taste more garlicky over time.
Alternate ways to use vegan meat
To brown for use in pasta dishes, etc.: Cook in a preheated skillet over medium-high heat for 5 minutes until browned. Add a tablespoon or two of a heat-safe oil like sacha inchi for taste, texture and nutrition, or if you have a sticky skillet.
For a meatloaf with traditional American flavor: omit donair spices, and instead add any flavoring or seasonings, such as Italian herbs, or more garlic, salt and pepper. Then cook as directed for donair meat, basting the loaf in a thick layer of your favorite barbecue or tomato-based sauce for the last 10 minutes of cooking.
To make meatballs: Roll the mixture into balls. Place on a parchment paper lined baking pan and bake for 25 to 30 minutes in a preheated 375F(190C) degree oven until browned. 1 pound of vegan meat will make about 20 meatballs 1-1/4 inch / 3 cm around.