Chops is a trusted home cook.
This website may help you out with some ideas, http://vegspinz.blogspot...
Anita is a vegan pastry chef & founder of Electric Blue Baking Co. in Brooklyn.
I primarily use seitan for kebabs, chimichurri, and other dishes traditionally made with beef. The texture may not be as adaptable for seafood dishes, though.
For crabcakes, gumbo and things like that, I use young jackfruit. It is available in cans at Asian grocery stores (usually Indian or Southeast Asian but also sometimes Chinese), and if you're lucky (or a masochist, LOL) you can also sometimes find it fresh, but that is a lot more work. I recommend starting out with canned.
They come in large chunks (be sure to get the young green jackfruit and not the more mature, sweet kind). Once the pieces are drained and rinsed, you can pull them apart into strands that look just like crab meat! Then you can season them and add them to your recipe. Like crabmeat, it does not have to cook for long, and the longer you cook it, the more it will fall apart into strands.
As for seasoning, I love Old Bay for crab cakes, and have taken to adding some hijiki seaweed to give it the taste of the sea. For paella, I'm sure you have your own yummy spice blend.
A recent thing I've tried is adding hominy (that stuff that looks like giant white corn kernels) to tacos in place of shrimp. I tried this for the first time at La Esquina here in NYC. I seriously thought they had made a mistake and added small shrimp to my tacos! The texture was dead on. You have to soak them overnight like beans, but once they are cooked you can season them the same way you would shrimp--I just tossed them with lime juice, chopped cilantro, lime, salt and chili.
You can use a similar seasoning method to make vegan ceviche. One popular type is with hearts of palm. I wish I could attach more pics because I've made all this stuff and it works out great!
My general advice as a soy free vegan is to avoid processed foods that promise to replace the identical taste of meat or seafood. They contain long lists of weird ingredients you'd do better without. Also, my maid motivation for being vegan is that I like the taste of fruits, veggies, legumes, etc. l'd rather feature those in my food than try to replicate the taste of meat. Just seems like more trouble than it's worth.
One last thing I thought of is lobster mushrooms. They are pretty expensive but I think they are actually in season right now (and I don't think the season lasts long!). I have never tried them but really want to. They have a very delicate texture and coloration almost identical to lobster meat. That sounds like the perfect thing for your paella. Just like with lobster, You should add them last so as not to overcook them.
So curious to know how it turns out so please share! xo
WOW, Anita, your answer blew me away! I'm really excited to try some of those vegan substitutes!
This is awesome!
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