America’s Test Kitchen’s recipe for Crispy Orange Seitan and Cookbook Review: Vegan for Everybody by America’s Test Kitchen

vegan_cover_1Do you ever get back from a delicious vacation and need to atone for it? When I do, I like to grab vegan or paleo books off my shelf. I know! They’re totally different approaches, but we’re omnivores – foodivores… Anyway, I have good luck with both. When I’m in the mood for vegan, I love to grab this outstanding vegan foodie book,Vegan for Everybody: Foolproof Plant-Based Recipes for Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, and In-Between!

I’m in love with their Crispy Orange Seitan! A big thanks to America’s Test Kitchen for letting me share the recipe with you so that you can taste the book!


Crispy Orange Seitan
serves 4

Why This Recipe Works Crispy orange chicken is takeout comfort food that we were amazed didn’t miss a beat when we ditched the meat. That’s because the real star of the classic is that crispy crust and sweet, tangy sauce. Seitan, a protein made from wheat gluten, was the best protein option; its chewy interior provided a perfect contrast to a crispy coating. To make sure our coating kept its crunch under the sauce, we would typically dip the protein in egg, dredge it in cornstarch, and fry it. To replace the egg wash, we dunked our seitan pieces in canned coconut milk. And we added cornmeal to the cornstarch coating for a rough surface to hold on to our quick-to-make, vibrant orange juice-based sauce. Use cubed or block seitan, not ground or strips in this recipe. For a spicier dish, increase the cayenne added to the sauce to ½ teaspoon. The bird chiles are added for appearance only and can be omitted. Stir them into the sauce at the end of cooking; allowing them to sit in the sauce for too long will turn the sauce unpalatably spicy. We strongly prefer our favorite vegetable broths, Orrington Farms Vegan Chicken Broth or our homemade Vegetable Broth Base (page 21). (For more information on vegetable broth, see page 21). Serve over rice and with steamed broccoli.

½ cup vegetable broth
¼ cup packed organic dark brown sugar (see page 31)
3 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
3 tablespoons soy sauce
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon grated orange zest, plus 6 (2-inch) strips zest, plus ½ cup juice
¾ teaspoon grated fresh ginger
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
4 teaspoons cold water
1 tablespoon cornstarch
6 dried bird chiles (optional)
1 scallion, sliced thin

1 ½ cups cornstarch
½ cup cornmeal
1 cup canned coconut milk
1 pound seitan, drained, patted dry, and cut into 1-inch pieces
3 cups vegetable oil

1 FOR THE SAUCE Bring broth, sugar, vinegar, soy sauce, garlic, grated orange zest and juice, ginger, and cayenne to boil in large saucepan over high heat. Whisk cold water and cornstarch together in a bowl, then whisk into boiling sauce. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened, about 1 minute (you should have about 1 ½ cups sauce). Remove from heat and cover to keep warm.

2 FOR THE SEITAN Adjust oven rack to middle position, place paper towel-lined plate on rack, and heat to 200 degrees.

3 Combine cornstarch and cornmeal in a shallow dish. Combine coconut milk and seitan in bowl; turn to coat. Working with 1 piece seitan at a time, remove from coconut milk, letting excess drip back into bowl, then coat well with cornstarch mixture, pressing gently to adhere; transfer to a large plate. Repeat with remaining seitan.

4 Add oil to 12-inch nonstick skillet and heat over medium-high heat to 350 degrees. Add half of seitan and cook until golden brown on all sides, flipping as necessary, 7 to 11 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer to plate in oven. Return oil to 350 degrees and repeat with remaining seitan.

5 Add strips orange zest; chiles, if using; and seitan to sauce in pot and toss to coat well. Season with salt to taste, transfer to platter, sprinkle with scallions, and serve.

My review of the book…..

vegan_cover_1Vegan for Everybody: Foolproof Plant-Based Recipes for Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, and In-Between
by America’s Test Kitchen
Edition: Paperback

I tread very lightly with healthy cookbooks. Will it taste like the emphasis is on health or flavor? I’m happy to say that everything we’ve tried has been really yummy, and just happens to be good for you. Perfect! The instructions are very clear, and the ingredients are readily available.

We don’t have any food allergies in our house, but I know finding vegan and vegetarian recipes that work with nut allergies can provide a challenge. Out of the recipes I’ve tried, 10 out of 13 were nut free.

Pictured below:
1-2) These two were in the preview of the cookbook. I love it when they do that, so you can test a recipe out to see if the book will be a good fit for you. Google “vegan for everybody Spicy Peanut Rice Noodle Bowl“ – p 175, and “vegan for everybody Brownies” – p 278 if you’d like to take a peek yourself. The brownies have 3 different kinds of chocolate in them. They’re rich, chewy, and uber-chocolatey. They were really good, but the noodle bowl was absolutely amazing tasting and so pretty! I hit the buy button.
3) Black Beans on Toast with Avocado and Tomato – p 48. Speedy enough for a weekday breakfast. The kids loved this one, and said it’s like burrito toast. The pickled onions are a worthwhile touch if you have a little time to pull them together the night before. The recipe doesn’t call for jalapeños, but they’re in the photo, so I added them, too.
in the preview of the cookbook. I love it when they do that, so you can test a recipe out to see if the book will be a good fit for you. Google “vegan for everybody Spicy Peanut Rice Noodle Bowl“ – p 175, and “vegan for everybody Brownies” – p 278 if you’d like to take a peek yourself. The
4) Quinoa and Vegetable Stew – p 100. Delicious, really fragrant stew spiced with paprika, coriander, and cumin. Only about 30 minutes to pull together. Perfect cozy dinner for a rainy or cold day. One of my kids isn’t a big quinoa fan, and she was happy that its earthy flavor was undetectable in this dish. If you’re new to quinoa, be sure to rinse it really well, or it tastes dusty.
1-45) Black Bean Burgers – p 114 with Arugula, Pub-Style Burger Sauce, Quick Pickled Radishes, and Crispy Onions – p 120-121. Oh my gosh! Absolutely outstanding! 8 thumbs up in this omnivore house!
6) Crispy Orange Seitan – p 209. Absolute knock out! I think this one might be the favorite in this house. This was the only recipe with an ingredient I had trouble locating. My regular store didn’t carry seitan, but a health food store down the street had it in the refrigerator near the tofu. They suggested serving it with rice and broccoli.
7) French Apple Tart – p 288. Delicious and surprisingly easy. I’d made the regular version of this in the big ATK book. This version uses coconut oil and water in place of butter. It’s a bit harder to work with.
6-88) Tofu Ranchero – p 44. Nice strong chili flavor. This one takes a little time, so save it for a weekend morning. It gets served in tortillas, but I could easily see it spooned over smashed grilled corn, too.
9) Chia Pudding with Fresh Fruit and Coconut – p 73. Minutes to pull together, then it rests in the fridge for 8 hours to a week. Yummy, and I love that it’s waiting when you need it, so hungry teenagers can grab it in the morning, and top it as they please before running out the door.
10) Tortilla soup – p 93. My kids put a post-it note covered in emojis on this one, so I had to give it a try. Delicious! Amazing depth of flavor for just a half hour.
5 9-1011) Tofu Pad Thai – p 234. Super yummy! My youngest wanted to know why her fish looked like tofu. 😉
12) Tofu Banh Mi – p 125. Delicious! It’s on the mild side, so if you like spicy, put the Sriracha on the table after you make the spicy mayo spread.
13) Falafel with Tahini Yogurt Sauce – p 126. Yum! I’m doubling the sauce next time!

I can’t wait to try the rest! Some others I have flagged are: Lentil and Mushroom Burgers, Korean Barbecue Tempeh Wraps, Quinoa Black Bean and Mango Salad with Lime Dressing, Creamy Cashew Mac and Cheese, Fettuccine Alfredo, Pan-Seared Tempeh Steaks with Chimichurri Sauce, Spicy Basil Noodles with Crispy Tofu Bok Choy and Bell Peppers, Kale Chips Ranch-Style, Loaded Nachos, Peach-Raspberry Crisp, and Coconut Ice Cream.

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