Thursday, August 22, 2013

Italian Breakfast Scramble

Recipe by Georgianne Kamberos Simons

picture of Italian Breakfast ScrambleI am usually a big smoothie person in the morning, but sometimes I just want something heartier!  Tofu scrambles always do the trick, and they are really so quick and easy!  I love how there are so many different combinations of ingredients you can throw together.  Upton's Italian Seitan perfectly rounds out an Italian combination of veggies and seasonings.  If you only have the Ground Seitan on hand, you can improvise and throw in dried herbs, such as Oregano and Basil.  

  • 1/2-1 package of Upton's Naturals Italian Seitan
  • 1 package firm or extra firm tofu
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 2-3 Tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 1 Tbsp dijon mustard
  • sea salt
  • red pepper flakes
  • handful of baby spinach
  • 2-3 sun-dried tomatoes in oil, cut into thin strips (you can use the ones not in oil, I just find these pack so much more flavor, and have a more pleasant, chewy texture)
  • fresh basil 

  1. Open your package of tofu and throw it into a large heated pan.  No need to press the tofu, I like to keep it watery as the ingredients are simmering on the stove.  This way, you don't need to use oil to keep the ingredients from sticking.  
  2. Using a large wooden spoon, break up the tofu into smaller bite-size pieces.  
  3. Add all ingredients, stopping at spinach.  Add water as necessary to keep the tofu from drying out, and to create a bit of a creamy sauce for the tofu. 
  4. Add the remaining ingredients, saving the basil for garnish.  Your scramble will be ready when the spinach has wilted and everything is heated through. Serve with potatoes and toast!

See how quick and easy this is!?!  Now get to it!!!! 

Monday, June 17, 2013

Crispy Oven-Baked Taquitos with Chorizo Seitan, Black Beans, and Sweet Potato

Recipe by Georgianne Kamberos Simons

picture of Crispy Oven-Baked Taquitos with Chorizo Seitan, Black Beans, and Sweet PotatoI have really been trying to cool it on the fatty foods these days, but I was craving a nice crispy tortilla wrapped around some savory deliciousness.  That's how this recipe came about.  The only oil I used was rubbed on the tortillas before filling them up, so they could get nice and crispy in the oven.  But, they are definitely a far cry from the standard fried taquitos.  In order to sautee the other ingredients, I used broth instead of oil to cut back on the sneaky calories.  Overall, I consider these a pretty healthy meal, especially when paired up with some crispy shredded romaine on the side!

Prep time ~45 minutes
Yields: 10 medium sized Taquitos


  • 1 package Upton's Naturals Chorizo Seitan
  • ~1 cup vegetable broth
  • 1/2 large onion, chopped  (approx. 1 cup)
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 large sweet potato, chopped into 1" cubes (3-4 cups)
  • 1 16 oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed; or 1 1/2 cups cooked
  • 10-12 corn tortillas
  • oil
  • salt
  • lime
  • Optional: non-dairy cheese of your choice
  • Garnish: hot sauce, salsa, avocado, cilantro, romaine lettuce


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  2. Heat a large heavy bottomed pan over medium high heat, and add about one Tbsp broth and chopped onion. Monitor your pan that it is not too hot that the broth evaporates immediately and scorches. I always keep broth/water close by in case this happens, and simply add it to the pan to prevent sticking. Make sure not to add too much water that the onions aren't cooking. 
  3. Sauté for about five minutes, until the onion becomes translucent. Feel free to add bits of broth at a time to deglaze the onions. Add chopped garlic and sauté for another minute until fragrant. 
  4. Add your chopped sweet potato and enough broth to coat the entire bottom of the pan generously. This is going to steam your sweet potato. Reduce the heat a bit and put a lid over the pan to steam.  It should take 10 minutes total steaming time before they are soft enough to easily stick a fork in. 
  5. While the sweet potatoes are steaming, add broth to another small pan and heat your Chorizo Seitan. Break apart with a wooden spoon to heat through completely. Check on your sweet potatoes after five minutes or so to make sure that there is enough liquid and the sweet potatoes aren't sticking to the bottom of the pan. 
  6. When the sweet potatoes are ready, transfer contents of pan to a food processor. Mash sweet potatoes together into a puree. (If you don't have a food processor, simply push up your sleeves and mash with a fork! They'll be slightly more rustic, but still delicious). Add lime juice and salt to taste.  
  7. Next, add warmed Chorizo Seitan and black beans. Pulse only a few times to incorporate into the sweet potatoes. This will be your filling for your taquitos.
  8. Very lightly oil your tortillas. I find that putting a small amount on one tortilla, then rubbing another tortilla on it helps distribute the oil and get a nice thin coating. You can even do this with multiple tortillas if you started out with way too much oil. The key is to keep the oil to a minimum. You don't need much to get that nice crispy coating.
  9. Fill the tortillas with 1/3-1/2 cup of filling. Roll up and place the edge of tortilla facing down in a rectangular glass dish to keep the tortillas rolled. Sprinkle a small amount of salt over the pan when all tortillas are filled and rolled. 
  10. Pop into the oven for 10 minutes. If adding non-dairy cheese, you may do so now. I like to crisp up the tortillas before adding the non-dairy cheese. Pop back into the oven for another few minutes until the cheese melts.
  11. Garnish with hot sauce, salsa, avocado, cilantro, and romaine, if available.


Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Smoky Black-Eyed Pea Stew with Collard Greens and Bacon Seitan

Recipe by Georgianne Kamberos Simons

picture of Smoky Black-Eyed Pea Stew with Collard Greens and Bacon Seitan
I love black-eyed peas with collard greens.  It's become one of my favorite vegan staples.  The great thing is that black-eyed peas do not need to be soaked in advance; and due to their relatively small size, they cook up rather quickly!  You don't have to be specific about the amount of beans used.  This recipe is pretty flexible.  If you make them from scratch, they usually double their dry measurement. Upton's Naturals new Seitan Bacon adds the perfect additional layer of smokiness to this delicious dish!  This is such a hearty satisfying meal for the final chilly days of this Chicago weather. Enjoy!

  • 1 package Upton's Naturals Bacon Seitan, chopped into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 1-2 Tbsp oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 cans black-eyed peas (or 3 cups cooked)
  • 1 can crushed tomatoes (preferably fire roasted)
  • 1 large bunch of collard greens
  • 1 clove garlic
  • Black pepper
  • 1-2 cups water
  • Optional: smoked paprika, 1/4 tsp. liquid smoke, hot sauce

  1. Heat a large heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat.  Add oil, onion, and salt, and sauté for approximately 8 minutes, constantly stirring to avoid onion sticking to the pan.  If it does, add a little water to steam off the onion that is sticking and give it a good stir.  Add Bacon Seitan and sauté for about 3 minutes.
  2. While keeping a close eye on onions, rinse collard leaves and tear from stems.  Roughly chop.  I prefer bite size pieces, so I chop a bit more finely.
  3. When the onion has browned nicely, add the black-eyed peas, canned tomatoes, collards, black pepper, and garlic.  Add one cup of water and bring to a boil.  If you prefer a soupier consistency, add the full two cups or more of water.  Bring to a boil.  Then, lower heat and cover.  I like to cook the stew for at least 20-30 minutes, to really soften the greens, but you can use your judgment and eat sooner.  I actually like to cook the greens until they lose their bright green color, because it softens their flavor, and allows all of the flavors to marry together beautifully.
  4. When the stew is ready, feel free to add the optional ingredients to bring out an extra smoky flavor.  Use the liquid smoke with caution, it's pretty potent and can become quickly overpowering. The Bacon Seitan already has paprika, but feel free to add more to give it a kick.  The acidity of the hot sauce really brings the flavors together nicely.

Enjoy on it's own or over creamy polenta with creamed cashews!

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Cheezy Baked Potato with Bacon Seitan

Recipe by Georgianne Kamberos Simons

picture of Cheezy Baked Potato with Bacon Seitan
I am on a total potato kick.  I'll share with you one of my favorite time saving tricks for the week.  When I get back from my weekly grocery shopping, I heat up the oven and throw in a few potatoes to bake for an hour or so.  Then I let them cool and store them in an airtight glass container in the refrigerator. That way, I have a quick, healthy, and filling meal option to spruce up for the week. It's a great time saver.

Inspired by Upton's new Bacon Seitan, I wanted a loaded baked potato, and quick!  If you bake your potatoes in advance, this is a really quick dinner option with a nice green salad!

Serves 2


  • 6-8 slices Upton's Naturals Bacon Seitan
  • 2 baked potatoes
  • For the sauce:
  • 1/2 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 Tbsp chia seeds OR 2 Tbsp whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • salt to taste
  • chives (optional)

  1. Preheat oven to 400.
  2. Scrub potatoes and poke holes with a fork.  Place in a large glass baking dish or on a pan with parchment paper.  Bake for approximately an hour depending on size.  (I like to check after 45 minutes, seeing how easily a knife slides into the potato).  When the potato is soft enough to easily poke a knife into, it is done.  This step can be done ahead of time, and the potato can be reheated.
  3. To make the sauce, add all ingredients to a blender and combine.  (If you aren't using chia seeds, you can skip this step).  Transfer to a small saucepan and heat gently over medium-low heat, constantly stirring.  Add a bit of salt, and taste to see if the flavors are to your liking.  Adjust accordingly.  Sauce will thicken up.  Keep a close eye so sauce doesn't burn and stick to the pan.  It will turn bitter if this happens.
  4. While heating sauce, you can fry up your slices of Bacon Seitan with a small bit of oil.  When the Bacon Seitan is crisp to your liking, remove it from your pan and chop into bite size pieces.
  5. Assemble potato by cutting the center open and pouring a generous amount of sauce over it.  Sprinkle with Bacon Seitan bits and chopped chives.


Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Pinto Bean Soup with Crispy Chorizo Seitan

Recipe by Georgianne Kamberos Simons

Sometimes my best recipes are conceived when I'm at the end of the week, and I'm working with what's left in the fridge.  Earlier in the week, I made a big pot of pintos with onion and dried pepper.  I was getting bored with eating them, so I thought to reincarnate them by pureeing them into a soup and adding lots of yummy ingredients!  I also had made a batch of quinoa, because I love adding it to salads or doctoring it up for breakfast.    I recently discovered how delicious it is in soup, so I thought I could add some of that, too.  And finally, the perfect way to turn the flavors up a notch was to crisp up some Upton's Naturals Chorizo Seitan and fold it into the soup.  You can absolutely make this recipe with canned beans, but making them from scratch is really delicious.


  • 1 package Upton's Naturals Chorizo Seitan
  • 3 C cooked pinto beans *(see below for cooking directions) OR approximately two cans of beans (drained and well rinsed)
  • 3 C vegetable broth or water (feel free to adjust amount based on desired thickness)
  • 2 tsp oil
  • salt
  • 1 Tbsp chili powder and/or cumin
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 C cooked quinoa
  • 2 tsp oil
  • 2-3 corn tortillas, toasted and cut into strips (I pop mine into the toaster or bake them in the oven)
  • Optional add-ins: salsa, cilantro, lime juice, hot sauce, guacamole.


  1. Put beans and vegetable broth in a blender or food processor.  Puree however smooth you would like.  At this point, you may add prepared salsa, to give the soup base more flavor. 
  2. In a large, heavy bottomed pot, heat 2 tsp oil on medium.  Add chopped onion, spices, and a pinch of salt.  (You don't have to add spices if you don't have them on hand).  Sauté for 8-10 minutes.  Depending on the temperature of your burners, the onions may brown sooner.   Keep an eye not to burn.  Add water or broth if necessary to keep onions from sticking to the bottom of the pot.  
  3. Add bean puree to the large pot.  Stir to heat.  Add quinoa. Stir and gently heat.  You may lower the heat if the soup begins to bubble. 
  4. While soup is heating,  use a sauté pan to heat the other 2 tsp of oil.  Add the package of Chorizo Seitan and break it up with a wooden spoon.  Cook it as crispy as you would like.

To serve, ladle your soup into a bowl, and top with your crispy Chorizo Seitan.  Top with tortilla strips, chopped cilantro, lime juice, and hot sauce.  I even add a scoop of cool guacamole on top, and it's quite delicious.


 *One cup dry yields approximately 3 cups.  Soak beans overnight in a glass bowl.  I usually add double the water, and make sure my bowl is big enough to accommodate this.  The beans will plump up while they are soaking.  This will ensure quicker and more even cooking.  Rinse and drain, put in a pot and cover with water by one inch.  Bring to a boil, and cover partially with a lid.  I add a piece of the sea vegetable kombu, which neutralizes some of the gassiness that can be caused by legumes while also imparting beneficial minerals.  Bay leaves work in the same way.  Lower heat to a steady simmer.  Cook for approximately one hour.  Taste one or two beans to see if they are finished, and cook longer if necessary.  Once done, drain and rinse.  You can store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator for approximately five days.  

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Creamy Spicy Seitan Sauté with Chickpeas and Swiss Chard

Recipe by Georgianne Kamberos Simons

picture of Creamy Spicy Seitan Sauté with Chickpeas and Swiss ChardOne of my favorite things to do with seitan is simply sauté it with some garlic, onion, and greens to make a quick meal.  That combination was the inspiration for this slightly more elaborate version.  I made a sauce with cashews, but feel free to leave it out to keep this recipe lower in fat.  I love the play of spicy and creamy together, which is why I chose to include it.  If you decide to make the cashew sauce, (which is well worth it), you will want to soak your cashews for at least 2 hours.  I sometimes use a quick method of adding boiling water to soak the cashews, if I'm in a time crunch.  This allows them to soften and puree into a beautifully smooth sauce.  The cream can also be made in advance, and kept refrigerated.

Yield: 4 Servings
Prep Time: less than 30 minutes


  • 1 Package Upton's Naturals Ground Seitan
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1/2-3/4 C water
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2-1 tsp red chili flakes
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 Tbsp oil
  • 1 bunch swiss chard (rinsed), leaves torn from stems and cut into ribbons (this is approximately 12 leaves)
  • 1 can chickpeas, strained and rinsed, or ~2 C cooked chickpeas
  • 3-4 Tbsp nutritional yeast (optional)
  • fresh lemon wedges, to serve

Cashew Cream:
  • 1 C cashews (soaked for at least two hours in enough water to cover)
  • 1/2 C water
  • 1/2 tsp salt (or to taste)
  • 1 tbs nutritional yeast (optional)


  1. Heat a large, heavy bottomed pan with a lid to medium.  Add a drop of water to hear the sizzle of a heated pan.  
  2. When ready, add oil, onions, chili flakes and a pinch of salt.  If you like things spicy, use the full teaspoon of chili flakes.  Keep a close eye on the pan so that the oil doesn't start smoking.  Utilize the water as a tool to keep onions from sticking to the pan.  This is helpful in preventing the burning of ingredients, while using less oil.  
  3. Sauté onion for 8-10 minutes, until it becomes translucent.  Add the package of Ground Seitan to the pan, breaking up with a wooden spoon.  Stir with onions for a minute or two.  
  4. Add the rest of the water, chopped swiss chard, garlic, and chickpeas; stir to incorporate all ingredients.  
  5. Cover with lid, and reduce heat to steam the greens for approximately 5 minutes.  Remove lid, add a bit more water.  When everything is heated through, it is optional to add the nutritional yeast.  This adds a "cheesy" depth of flavor.
  6. To make Cashew Cream, drain and rinse cashews that have been soaking. Place them in a blender with 1/2 cup water, salt, and nutritional yeast. This will yield 1 1/2 cups of Cream. You will not need all of this for this recipe, so feel free to reduce recipe. I love it on everything, so I think it's worth making extra.

Serve the Sauté on your plate with a drizzle of the Cashew Cream, and squeeze fresh lemon juice to taste. 
You can also stretch this recipe by serving it over a cooked grain, such as quinoa or brown rice.