My kind of fake meat

Ups and downs

The decision to become vegetarian nine months ago has been one of the best I’ve ever made.  It was primarily health-driven, and the result has been nothing short of what I had hoped.  I now eat far better than I ever did when I was the healthiest meat-eater I knew,  and I’m a much stronger runner as a result.  And even though the “not eating animals” thing was subsidiary at first, that awareness has become more appreciable and brings me a sense of pride every time I “remember” that I don’t eat animals.

Like anything worth doing, though, being a vegetarian has not been completely without sacrifice.  Aside from the great loss I feel every time I drive by the new Buffalo Wild Wings in my town, the biggest downside for me has been that I don’t love cooking like I used to.  Cooking used to be an escape, a passion even, and honestly, it’s not anymore.

A lot of this may be a function of the comparatively more time I spend running and blogging than I used to, because passionate vegetarian and vegan cooks undoubtedly exist.  For me though, at least for now, cooking and eating have become more habit than hobby.  And I’m completely fine with that — one interest replacing another is nothing new for me.  Putting more energy into training for ultramarathons than making a better lasagna is nothing I’m ashamed of.  And besides, old interests inevitably resurface when the right triggers come along and remind me how much a part of me they are.  (In a rather nerdy aside, this is happening with chess right now.  I ain’t too proud!)

The point of all that

[piccata photo]

Ok, before that got out of hand, it was intended to introduce this fun recipe from 1,000 Vegan Recipes that kind of brought me back to the days when I was really into cooking.  I used to make chicken piccata when I was on an Italian food kick; I always liked simple pan-sauce dishes like that.

But fake, processed-soy meat sucks, so I figured piccata dishes were a gonner from my kitchen.  Not so!  In this recipe, chickpeas and cashews are ground up and formed into little medallions that get pan-seared to become… BETTER fake meat!  Erin and I both enjoyed this one, especially the pan sauce.  I wouldn’t call it our favorite recipe in the book, but it was a nice change of pace, and a good main dish to serve with a starch and vegetable, something we haven’t had much of since most vegetarian dishes we make tend to be one-dish meals.

So with that lengthy introduction, here is the recipe.  I’ve gotten permission to give you a limited number of exact recipes from the book, as long as I make it very clear that they’re from 1,000 Vegan Recipes, written by Robin Robertson and published by Wiley.  So here goes: this recipe is from 1,000 Vegan Recipes, written by Robin Robertson and published by Wiley.

Piccata-style cashew chickpea medallions (from 1000 Vegan Recipes)

makes 4 servings


  • 1 large garlic clove, crushed
  • 3/4 cup unsalted roasted cashews
  • 1 cup cooked or canned chickpeas, drained, rinsed, and blotted dry
  • 3/4 cup wheat gluten flour (vital wheat flour)
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon sweet or smoked paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
  • Salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 dry white wine
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon capers
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon vegan margarine
  1. Preheat the oven to 275 degrees Fahrenheit.  In a food processor, combine the garlic and cashews and process until finely ground.  Add the chickpeas and pulse until chopped. Add the flour, soy sauce, paprika, turmeric, and salt to taste and pulse until well mixed.
  2. Turn the mixture out onto a work surface and mix with your hands for a minute or two to fully incorporate.  Divide the mixture into eight pieces and shape into 1/4-inch-thick medallions.
  3. In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium heat.  Add the medallions, cover, and cook until nicely browned, about 5 minutes per side.  Transfer the medallions to a baking sheet and keep warm in the oven while you make the sauce.
  4. To the same skillet, add the wine, lemon juice, capers, and parsley.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Simmer until the liquid is reduced by a third.  Swirl in the margarine, stirring until melted.  Transfer the medallions to dinner plates and drizzle with the sauce.  Serve immediately.

SIGVARIS Athletic Recovery sock winners!

The first winner is…

True Random Number Generator

10 Powered by RANDOM.ORG

Elizabeth from Don’t (White) Sugar Coat It!  Elizabeth wanted the size B, so now drawing until I get an “A” person…
True Random Number Generator

16 Powered by RANDOM.ORG

Congratulations to the winners, and a big thanks to SIGVARIS for doing the giveaway.  Also, thanks a lot to the girls from Pure2Raw for linking to my giveaway, to all who tweeted about it, and any others who linked but didn’t send a trackback to notify me.
Next giveaway coming soon!


Dig this post?
Spread the word!

Keep in touch:

Everything that Might Be Missing from Your Plant-Based Diet (and Nothing Else!)

complementI believe that plant-based is the healthiest way you can eat -- both for how you feel and perform in the short term, and for long-term health. But there are a few nutrients that are hard to get from plants, and I didn't want to take a whole multivitamin with so much extra that I'm already getting from my food. That's why I created Complement Plus, the perfect nutrient formula for plant-based athletes.

Complement Plus brings together, in one place, the essential nutrients that are missing from a reasonably diverse, whole food plant-based diet:
  • B12
  • D3
  • DHA/EPA Omega-3s
  • K2
  • Minerals like zinc, iodine, and selenium
It's everything that might be missing from your plant-based diet, with nothing extra. Click here to learn more.


  1. I hear ya on the cooking thing. I guess I’m kind of lucky that I still get to cook up big meaty filled dishes for my husband 🙂 LOVE that cashews can be used in SO many vegetarian and vegan recipes. I’ve never used them as a meat replacement, but have used them in the form of cashew cream in a soup. So tasty. What are you all up to for the holidays?
    .-= Erica´s last blog ..Weekend/Charleston SPCA =-.

    • Hey Erica, cashew cream sounds interesting! I’ve never made anything creamy and vegan; I was wondering how they did that…

      Nothing major for the holidays, just lots of fam time. You?

  2. Love it, Matt! I’m pretty cautious about soy, as you know, so I love to see any meat replacement that is legume/nut-centric. Great recipe!


    • Thanks Gena! I’m ok with soy as long as it isn’t overly processed, but a lot of the fake meats use TVP or other highly processed soy. Very acid forming, among other things.

  3. maybe I should know this, but what is vital wheat gluten? is it like concentrated from regular flour? I think I’ve heard of it only as an ingredient to make tempeh.

  4. wow!!!! Thank you so much!!! i’m really excited to try out the socks! did you want me to email you my address?

    i’m so glad you’ve enjoyed your transitions! your blog is such a great resource and constant source of inspiration!

    have a great day!
    .-= Elizabeth´s last blog ..Its beginning to look a lot like Christmas… =-.

  5. That looks really good, you had me at paprika! I actually dislike cooking meat, I still do for my hubby and my dogs, but it is much more fun for me to cook vegetarian.
    .-= meatlessmama´s last blog ..Five Minute Gazpacho Soup Recipe =-.

  6. That piccata looks delicious! I like that the recipe calls for other ingredients and not just wheat gluten, like many seitan recipes. I’m going to have to try this one soon. 🙂

  7. That looks delicious. I love the looks of those ingredients and the final product. Though I have to admit, I do have a taste for the flavor of fake meat haha.
    .-= Evan Thomas´s last blog ..Going About Things The Wrong Way =-.

  8. Don’t worry, your cooking mojo will return! These things are cyclical, and we can’t be 100% into every single hobby we have at all times. Better to let it be than push it and risk cooking burnout–and just coast on the good cookbooks and recipes that work until it comes back.
    .-= Laura Georgina´s last blog ..Tobago Whirlwind Weekend, Recap Part 1 =-.

  9. Hey, I just got that cookbook from Amazon and it is looking good. I also can not stand soy meats and want to eat real food so I also picked up Veganomicon which is looks really good also.
    .-= Hethir´s last blog ..My Week at a Glance =-.

  10. damn! i sooo wanted to win! guess recovery socks are going back on my christmas list.

    that looks crazy yummy though! i’m definitely not a fan of fake meat, so i like the looks of non-fake fake meat. nom nom.
    .-= Betsy´s last blog ..Race Report: Holiday 4-Miler =-.

  11. Great recipe! I went through a similar phase when I became vegan. Several cookbooks later and I’ve re-found my love of cooking (and baking) and enjoy the challenge of making meals that are both tasty and good for my training. I actually just received my first gift of the holiday season — Vegan Table (Colleen Patrick-Goudreu), so we’ll see what new culinary debauchery this inspires!

    P.S. Chess is not dorky… it’s strategic. 😉
    .-= Matt´s last blog ..Toronto Runner: Aestus Rogers =-.

  12. Ditto on BellyLaughBaker’s question: What is wheat gluten flour (vital wheat flour)?

    And thanks for a what sounds like a great recipe! I’m really looking forward to trying it (if I ever get my life back and get to spend as much time in the kitchen as I want to)
    .-= Emily´s last blog ..A Few of My Favorite Things =-.

  13. Your recipe sounds good. I’ll have to try it out on one of my no meat Mondays.

  14. It’s strange that I only really fell in love with cooking when I started cooking vegetarian. I think I had to go to more trouble to find recipes and dishes that fit in with out dietary philosophy… and the more I learned the more interested I became.
    .-= Hanlie´s last blog ..Coconut Oil: Good for You! =-.

  15. I really like the cashew/chickpea medallion idea! I have to experiment with cashews in my kitchen. Haven’t gotten around to that yet.

    I love cooking vegan foods- it’s the CHALLENGE of it that gets me passionate.
    .-= Sagan´s last blog ..Product Review: Escali Body Fat/Body Water Analyzing Scale =-.

  16. Recipe sounds great! Looks great too 🙂
    .-= Runeatrepeat´s last blog ..Fresh, Homemade Bread – Easy Style =-.

  17. If only cavegirls ate chicpeas. Silly legumes.
    So excited for the socks! My tired legs thank you!

  18. This looks awesome… what did you do for side dishes?

  19. I am not vegetarian/vegan but my 11-year-old daughter chose to be several years ago. I have that 1000 Vegan Recipes cookbook and LOVE it. The medallion recipe is our go-to recipe and we try it with different sauces. We love that recipe and book, I just we had the nutriotional breakdown to go with them.

  20. I tried the cashew chickpea medallions to imitate chicken piccata and the flavor was good, but the discs did not stay together and fell apart during cooking. I added additional olive oil but still the ingredients did not bind together.

    Hopefully, someone has a suggestion!

  21. Can these be baked in the oven? 🙂

Leave a Comment