Vegan brown sugar chicken is on the menu today! When my husband and I were first married, in what I affectionately refer to as the “dark days” of eating for me, I tried to like meat.
I thought, “if only I could stand to eat the stuff, cooking would be so much easier for both of us.” Any of you out there, like me, who are vegans or vegetarians for the simple reason that you don’t like meat will know what happened.
I found myself sniffing it, poking at it and eating around it. Hooray for Chinese food with lots of other things to eat! But, one good thing that came out of those dark days is I began following Stephanie O’Dea’s blog, CrockPot 365. One of my husband’s favorites from the site is Brown Sugar Chicken and, true to form, I thought “if I add onions and green peppers and serve it over lots of rice….” So I did, and I had a delicious meal of candy coated onions, green peppers and brown rice.
I used to make this for my husband pretty frequently, even after the dark days, in the somewhat strange days of often cooking 3 meals: a meat meal, a veggie meal and a baby/toddler meal. I once blanked out and made the original without the peppers and onions (I think we had a new baby and my sleep deprived brain simply forgot that I usually add them), my husband proclaimed that this dish was not the brown sugar chicken he knows and loves. So, I remembered the veggies from then on.
Since then, I’ve tried a couple of veggie versions: tofu or other chicken tenders standing in for the meat. Those turned out OK, but neither of us really loved those dishes. But I think the seitan I often use now is going to be the real winner for myself and my meat-eating husband actually being able to eat this meal TOGETHER.
Vegan Brown Sugar Chicken
Adapted from Brown Sugar Chicken.
2 medium green peppers (or 2 medium gypsy peppers), diced
1 medium onion, diced
16 ounces chicken or seitan, cubed
1 cup brown sugar
2/3 cup vinegar
4 cloves minced garlic
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 to 1/2 cup ginger ale
serve with brown or white rice
Put a bit of olive oil in the bottom of a 4-quart crock. Add onion and green peppers, then seitan. Cover with remaining ingredients. The ginger ale will bubble when you pour it in. I usually use 1/2 cup because the seitan is not as liquidy as real chicken, but if you use a slow cooker seitan or other particularly moist recipe, be sure to bring that back down to 1/4 cup.
Cover and cook on low for 5 hours.
Serve over brown or white rice.
Hooray! We all loved this dish. Finally. The kids gobbled up the “chicken” with gusto and my husband said it tasted nearly like the original. I was super excited to get this one right after so many tries at converting it. It’s incredibly simple and delicious. I think it takes me about 5 minutes to get this in the CrockPot and it turns out like something I slaved over for an hour. Yum.