Chicken-Style Seasoning

Becoming a vegan can be a HUGE decision fraught with difficulties as you learn just how to fix good food in a new way.  It is easier now than it was 16 years ago, between increased availability of vegan cookbooks and the marvelous advantage of the internet.  Each person who takes the step to change their diet – in whatever increments they choose – stands on the shoulders of those who have come before who have already figured out some of the difficulties.  We learn from them and, hopefully, pass that information on to others, as well as anything new we have learned.

When my kids were diagnosed with allergies to dairy, my life “ended” suddenly ~ at least as I knew it!  I had to find out now how to cook without dairy (and other things that they couldn’t have.)  A cookbook that saved my family’s taste buds was “Whole Foods for Whole People” by Lucy Fuller (which Amazon says is temporarily out of stock.)  If I could only have gleaned ONE recipe from it, I would have to choose this one that I share with you today.  With this single mix by my side, I have invented countless recipes and replaced bouillon cubes, broth, etc., in umpteen dishes.

I give you…..Chicken-Style Seasoning.  If you have used McKay’s Chicken-Style Seasoning, you can replace it with this (although you may need an extra 1/2 tsp. per cup of water by comparison.)  Oh, and I recommend you make at least a double batch to save time.  Believe me, you’ll use it up!  Especially if you keep checking back to this blog for any new recipes that I post.  I use it regularly.

Chicken-Style Seasoning

  • 1 c. nutritional yeast flakes (some people call it brewer’s yeast, but make sure you get nutritional yeast – and certainly not baking yeast!)
  • 2 T. salt
  • 2 T. onion powder
  • 1 T. celery salt
  • ½ tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tsp. sweet paprika
  • 1 tsp. Italian seasoning
  • 1 ½ T. dried parsley flakes (stir in last)

Pulse in blender all but the parsley flakes, very briefly.  (You may use a food processor, but it won’t become a powder as easily.)  Stir in the parsley flakes and store in an airtight container in a cool place.

Use 1 1/2 tsp. in a cup of water to make a broth or to replace 1 bouillon cube when making soup.  This is fantastic on popcorn, too!

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Roasted Potatoes

BBQ SoycurlsPotatoes can get ~ mmm ~ boring if you have them the same way over and over again.  There is a simple way to mix things up a bit, though.  When you roast potatoes, you gain quick control of 2 interest points.  First, their texture – will you bake them until they are crispy, or just until they are cooked through, or somewhere in between?  Second, their seasonings – and the sky’s the limit here – plain, lemony, Cajun, Italian, Indian, spicy….use your imagination!  I’m going to give you my go-to version here.

Hubby teased me when I said I was beginning this blog.  He said, “How are you going to share recipes?  Do you even USE recipes?”  I just looked at him with my mouth hanging open….because he’s there SO often (cough, cough) when I cook.  But then I laughed, because he’s partially right.  I used to watch my mother cook with a little of this and a little of that, going strictly “by feel.”  I thought I’d never learn to do that.  Well, evidently it is in the genes, because I go “by feel” when I create a recipe – and sometimes coming up with correct measures later can be a challenge!  Roasted Potatoes are one of my “by feel” recipes every time I make them.  I’m going to challenge you to step outside of your comfort zone this time and try your hand at adding seasonings “by feel.”  Hey, the worst that can happen is that you need to put salt and seasoning shakers on the table to add more, because unless you have a really heavy hand can you really over-season chunks of potatoes?

Though this recipe is written to make a cookie sheet full, it can easily be cut in half or less, but it would still be a good idea to use a cookie sheet.

  • 5 lbs. potatoes, cut into pieces – smaller pieces bake faster and can have more crispy-on-the-outside (or use baby potatoes and cut into wedges)
  • olive oil – 2-4 T. is plenty
  • Italian seasoning – just enough to have nice flecks on all of the potatoes
  • salt
  • onion powder
  • garlic powder

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Place potatoes in a large bowl.  Pour olive oil over them and toss until everything is even coated.  You want just enough olive oil to coat things well – not only to help the spices cling, but to keep the potatoes from sticking forever to your cookie sheet!  Sprinkle seasonings over the mixture and toss again until well coated.  Spread out onto a large cookie sheet that has edges.  Bake for 30-60 minutes, depending on how crispy you like your potatoes.  Serve with ketchup or barbeque sauce.

 Variation: Choose from a selection of large chunks of onion, turnips, sweet potatoes, cauliflower, whole baby carrots, etc., – or dice/chunk up some gluten pieces, seitan, or other meat substitute – and toss with the potatoes.

BBQ Soy Curls

Soy Curls are vegan fast food!  They are made by Butler Foods (http://www.butlerfoods.com) and can be directly ordered, or located at a health food store near you.  Somehow these folks have figured out how to texturize soy beans and make them a “reconstitutible” veggie meat.  The picture (left) shows a few dry ones.  And why do I start with this recipe?  Because they are super fast?  Well, no….it’s because I made these recently and had the foresight to take pictures!

BBQ Soy Curls

  • 2 c. water
  • 1-1 1/2 tsp. Marmite or Vegex paste
  • 1/4 c. Bragg’s Liquid Aminos or soy sauce
  • 6 c. Soy Curls
  • Thick BBQ sauce (the amount depends on whether you want them to swim, or be barely coated ~ I used a little more than an 18-oz jar)
  • a little water to rinse out BBQ sauce jar

Heat first 3 ingredients in a large frying pan until Marmite is dissolved.  Add the Soy Curls and continue heating over medium heat, tossing well and often to rehydrate.  When the Soy Curls are mostly rehydrated and there is a little water left in the bottom of the pan, add the BBQ sauce and extra water.  Heat through and serve; or put in a large pan with foil to cover and reheat the next day in the oven – for about 30 minutes at 350°.

These are marvelous with mashed or roasted potatoes, or potato salad.

Note:  Store any unused Soy Curls in an airtight container in the freezer if you want them to stay fresh and last a long time.  I buy them in a 12-lb. box which doesn’t sound like it should be that big…but it is!  They don’t weigh much until they are rehydrated.