First of all, your body needs protein to maintain healthy skin, bones, muscles and organs. Vegetarians who eat eggs or dairy products have convenient sources of protein. Other sources of protein may be soy products, meat substitute loaves, legumes, lentils, nuts, seeds, and whole grains. Calcium helps build and maintain strong teeth and bones. Vegans can get vitamin B-12 to produce red blood cells and prevent anemia from some enriched cereals, fortified soy products or by taking a supplement that contains this vitamin. The key to a healthy vegetarian diet - or any diet for that matter - is to enjoy a wide variety of foods and include in it some products, like seitan loaves, rich in all those minerals and vitamins.
Seitan or wheat meat loaves have come from ancient vegetarian cuisines and, though bland and not the best quality protein, are widely used in present-day cooking. These loaves play an important role in the meatless diet, because their taste and texture certainly makes the omission or transition away from meat-eating easier. A wheat-meat loaf cooking usually involves a two-step process:
- First you make and cook the basic gluten loaves,
- Then you use the prepared roast as a base for a cooking process. (You may slice, dice, grind, or cube the gluten loaves for any recipe you like).
To make basic raw gluten loaves one should start with pounds of flour and involved a lot of kneading, then washing a doughy mass under running cold water for 20 or 30 minutes and all that with the feeling that it will never end and the whole mess would end up blocking the drain.
Of course, it does work, but now this long and tiresome process of creating basic loaves is unnecessary. Nowadays there are easier methods - you can mix up tasty gluten loaves from at least two types of gluten-based "meat" loaves:
- The first kind of such loaves is "100% vital wheat gluten," which is a protein extract of wheat flour, available in handy boxes or in bulk at your favorite natural foods store. These are mass-produced artificial loaves of alternative meat products shaped like steaks, chops, roasts, and nuggets have better flavor, better-balanced proteins, and a much wider variety of textures and flavors.
- "High gluten flour" is the second type of gluten -based loaves of alternative meat, which is bread-making flour, only 12-14% gluten. Therefore, the difference stretches as far as one tablespoon of dry vital wheat gluten contains 3 grams of carbohydrate and 5-7 grams of protein. Note that this is not the same as vital wheat gluten, so be careful shopping in order not to be disappointed.
However, all types of gluten based meat loaves will sharply increase in shape when simmering (at least in three times) - note that, otherwise you will have to eat three full portions by yourself. You can easily avoid this increase in size of loaves, if kneading well while mixing, resting, then kneading again, and allowing sitting for at least 20 minutes before cooking. Well, but after all that you can expect the loaves will give a denser, more cohesive substance.
After simmering these protein-rich wheat loaves in a flavored broth for a number of hours, you are to have grain meat loaves that had a firm texture. It could be ground and flavored like traditional Chinese sausage flavored like chicken, beef, ham, or shrimp, or sliced and stir-fried or grilled - so why not to trick friends and save money on organizing a party?