Happy Herbivore Blog

Vegan Weiner Schnitzel & German Potato Salad

Posted by: Lindsay S. Nixon |

Category: Recipe

Last weekend Scott & I went to an Oktoberfest-Luau. It was part Oktoberfest to celebrate the hosts' German heritage, but also part Luau because they left for a 10-day vacation in Hawaii yesterday.

Dan (one of the hosts) & I 

A few days before the party, I found out that one of the German guests had recently gone meatless (woohoo!) so I thought it would be fun to bring vegan weiner schnitzel and vegan German potato salad to the party...

Only, I'd never had either food before! Whoops! So, I started googling about weiner schnizel's thinking if I knew how they were made traditionally, I could figure out a vegan version. Same was true for the potato salad and I learned some rather interesting information along the way!

For starters, weiner schnitzels come from Austria, not Germany. (My bad!). It also turns out that a weiner schnitzel is simply a regular ol' schnitzel (meat cutlet without bones) that just happens to be traditionally eaten in Wien (Vienna), Austria, hence the name. Kind of like how Bolognese sauce is named for Bologna, Italy... 

Anyway, I decided to make veganitzel's (you like that name, don't you?) with seitan but still incorporating the traditional flavors and methods used with weiner schnitzels. 

In other words, I seasoned and pounded the snot out of my seitan first. :-)

After pounding out the cutlets (I used the Seitan Pot Roast recipe from my cookbook to make the seitan cutlets).  I boiled them, and once they were done, breaded them with homemade whole wheat bread crumbs and herbs.

(Here they are fully cooked -- looks like meat, no?) 

I then pan-fried them (without oil) but I think next time I'll bake them instead.... anyway, voila! vegan weiner schnitzel... I mean, veganitzel!

For the potato salad, I added a few elements (like mustard and nutritional yeast) that I knew would enhance the dish, but not make it less authentic. All the recipes I found online were fairly similar so I figured there wasn't much room for interpretation anyway. 

Also, since German potato salad is traditionally made with bacon, I used the Bacon Bits recipe from my cookbook. However, any commercial bacon bit will do. (Interesting FYI: Most "bacon bits" at the supermarket are vegan - true story!).

I also brought a double batch of HH's Hawaiian BBQ: Teriyaki Chickpeas with Pineapple Salsa to the party -- which was a HUGE hit with the entire crowd. The Germans also gave my veganitzel and potato salad two thumbs up!! 

Guten Appetit!

Jerk Tempeh: My First Taste of the Tropics

Posted by: Lindsay S. Nixon |

Category: Recipe

The other night I decided to experiment with Caribbean flavors in honor of our soon relocation to the tropics.

I made a chili-lime brown rice with jerk tempeh and a side salad. It was delicious! Aside from the tempeh (which marinated all afternoon) the meal came together in minutes. I think I'm really going to like learning all these new flavors and dishes!

& Now that I've got your mouth watering... a confession: I don't have an exact recipe for you. Since I was experimenting with a totally foreign cuisine for the first time, I was tasting as I went along... though I'm confident I can give you the right direction to recreate this dish yourself.

For the tempeh: I cheated and bought commercial Jamaican Jerk marinade and marinated my tempeh all afternoon (I did boil the tempeh for 10 mins first, but I don't know this step is necessary). I reserved about 1/4 c. of the marinade and placed it, along with the tempeh, into my skillet. I then cooked it on high for about five minutes, until most of the liquid had absorbed and it was starting to glaze (this is the method I use for the Teriyaki Chickpeas, for a practical example--watch this video; it's at the end). I then tasted it and decided my tempeh was much, much too sweet. So, I drained off the rest of the marinade, added about 1 1/2 tbsp soy sauce, a few splashes of teriyaki sauce, several droplets of hot sauce (to my tastes) and a few squirts of lime juice. I then cooked the tempeh a bit longer, flipping it with tongs to incorporate the new flavors. I served the jerk tempeh with lime zest over top.

For the rice: I cooked 1 small onion (diced) with 2 garlic cloves (minced) in a little water until the onions were translucent. I then added about 1/2 tsp garlic powder and 1/4 tsp chili powder. I also zested half of a lime and squeezed the juice into it. I stirred to incorporate, added a few light dashes of cinnamon, and then more garlic powder and chili powder, just a few dashes (to my tastes).  I then mixed it all together with some cooked brown rice (about 3/4 cup) and a few pinches of salt over top. Since my rice came from the fridge, I cooked it until it was thoroughly warm, but this is not necessary for freshly cooked rice. 

Anyway, so that's how you do it! BUT we loved this dish so much I'll be making it again soon and will have the perfected (a.k.a. measured) recipe for you. (I may even make my own marinade!)

What foods do YOU think of when you think "Caribbean?" 

Kitchen Essentials

Posted by: Lindsay S. Nixon |

Category: FAQ

Top 10 Tuesday: Kitchen Essentials

Perhaps you've heard the news: We're moving to St. Maarten. Since it's only a year tour, the majority of our belongings will be staying in a storage unit and consequently, we're only taking what we can manage to fit into six jumbo suitcases.

As I packed my all my tank tops into our Vita-Mix last night, I started thinking about what tools and gadgets were absolutely essential -- what could I not live without? What is so important it's worth prime storage space in the luggage? What tools did I need so desperately that I was willing to hold back clothes, shoes and other things to fit it?

The answer was not my Vita-Mix. I'm only taking that sucker because it can moonlight as my beloved food processor and make peanut butter (a little FYI: peanut butter is not always easy to come by outside of America. This presents a problem for us, as Scott practically bathes in peanut butter). Basically, the Vita-Mix is getting picked for winning the utility award. 

The first "essential" items I grabbed were measuring cups and spoons. Since St. Maarten is owned by the French and Dutch, I assume everything is metric, and, well, I'm not going to go there. :-)

Next, I went for my knives. A good, sharp knife makes all the difference in the kitchen. Packing them proved troubling, and ultimately, Scott made me take them out -- convinced you can't take knives on a plane, even if they are stowed in the belly. Bummer. (I'm actually calling the airline today to confirm this--I really love my knives!).

Other, obvious, tools include mixing bowls, cutting boards, whisks, spatulas, pots and pans -- but these items are already in our furnished condo

I was scratching my head and saying "ugh! what else?!" for minutes until I thought of my cheesecloths. Although not used terribly often, when I need it.... I need it! I use my cheesecloth to make homemade rice milk (a recipe in my cookbook) -- which we surely won't find on the island.

Next was a metal vegetable steamer basket. Although I prefer my electric Oster steamer (a bargain at just $20!) it was far too bulky. 

In short:

  1. measuring cups
  2. measuring spoons
  3. mixing bowls
  4. pots and pans
  5. cutting boards
  6. whisks, spatulas, etc.
  7. blender/food processor
  8. a good, sharp knife
  9. vegetable steamer
  10. cheesecloth

What tools and gadgets are essential to your kitchen?