Polenta Casserole with Seitan

It was an adventurous day today! First, I braved the mud at Messenger Woods to get a nice walk in. Then, I took a few bold new steps at Whole Foods, buying bulk dried beans for the first time, along with some exotic-to-me ingredients like sea vegetables for my upcoming kitchen adventures. I’m on spring break this week, so I plan to do a lot of cooking! I’m not sure where I’ll store all of the leftovers, but I’ll figure it out.

Tonight, I made my first vegan recipe out of Alicia Silverstone’s book, The Kind Diet: A Simple Guide to Feeling Great, Losing Weight, and Saving the Planet: Polenta Casserole with Seitan. It contained a few of those adventurous ingredients, so for those new to them, I’ll explain:

  • Seitan – “wheat meat” – a protein-rich food made from wheat gluten that resembles the texture and taste of meat
  • Tamari – a soy sauce made from soybeans, water, and sea salt, usually wheat-free
  • Umeboshi vinegar (or ume vinegar) – technically not a vinegar, but a fruity, salty, sour product made from Japanese umeboshi plums
  • Tahini – nut butter made from sesame seeds

OK, that covers all of the ingredients that I hadn’t heard of prior to reading this book! I was able to find them all at Whole Foods Market.

Step 1: seitan, asparagus, and corn.Step 1: Seitan, corn, and asparagus

Next, I employed my new kitchen laptop to look up how to chop parsley. I’ve never used fresh herbs before, and wow – fresh parsley smells amazing! I also felt like a freakin’ chef chop-chop-chopping by the time I was done with the parsley. Such a pro I am. (LOL!)


Parsley, Pre-chop


Chopped fresh parsley

I over-estimated how many parsley stems I’d need to end up with 1/4 cup of fresh chopped leaves, so hopefully I can think of something to do with my leftover chopped parsley soon. For those new to chopping parsley, you pretty much hold the knife as usual in one hand, then place your other hand on top to guide the knife as sort of a rocker back and forth over the parsley leaves.

Next up – the cornmeal mixture got spread on top of the seitan mixture, with some tamari sprinkled on top:

Polenta casserole with seitan, ready to bakeAfter baking, I did not read the instructions closely enough. They said to let the casserole sit for 15 minutes before cutting it into squares. I did not wait, and my casserole was mushy (though I also didn’t use as much cauliflower as the recipe called for, so that might have contributed to my mush-factor).


Polenta casserole with seitan - doneI got 9 servings out of this recipe, though I used a 9×13″ pan instead of the recommended 8×8″ pan (couldn’t find my 8×8!) The original recipe notes 6 servings.

And here’s what dinner looked like! I served the casserole with a side of spring greens with organic caesar dressing:

Polenta casserole with seitan and a side of spring greensThe meal turned out delicious. I like seitan – if I didn’t know better, I’d think it was meat (minus the cholesterol and saturated fat and other bad-ness that comes along with animal based meat). I have happily survived my first vegan meal!

[recipe-show recipe=polenta-seitan]


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *