Sunday, November 27, 2011

Chef Bryanna Clark Grogan's Vegan Seltzer Waffles with Crispy Sweet Potatoes and Light Chik'n Gravy

We're wrapping up Vegan Awareness Month with sensational holiday (or anyday!) recipes from vegan chef Bryanna Clark Grogan. Bryanna is the author of nine popular vegan cookbooks, including the best-seller, Nonna's Italian Kitchen. Her tantalizing recipes appear in Cooking with PETA, Dr. Neal Barnard's Program for Reversing Diabetes, Howard Lyman’s Mad Cowboy and No More Bull!, and on Dr. Andrew Weil’s Healthy Aging website. Her latest book, World Vegan Feast features a collection of 200 mouthwatering recipes from around the globe. Bryanna is a vegan culinary goddess. Follow her Vegan Feast Kitchen blog, and be constantly delighted and surprised at just how delicious eating vegan can be!

These recipes might seem complex at first, but as you'll see, with all three components, you'll be creating a stupendously delicious dairy-free (and gluten-free!) meal—or you can enjoy the waffles, crispy sweet potatoes, or chik'n gravy served with your favorite accompaniments. And since most of the recipes can be made well ahead of time, this hearty meal will be a snap to put together when it's time to serve!

I don't think there is any other brand of non-dairy milk products that is so reliable and innovative in terms of taste, quality, and variety. I've been a fan of So Delicious soy-based organic "ice creams" for years—they’re so creamy and satisfying! But now they have a wonderful line of coconut-based products that just about everyone, including soy-allergic vegans, can enjoy! Coconut-based organic "ice creams" and fruit sorbets, frozen bars and ice cream sandwiches (stevia-sweetened, sugar-free versions, too!), low-fat coconut milk beverages, creamers, cultured beverages, yogurt (great products for baking and cooking, by the way), and now, Greek-style yogurt. It's all there—guilt-free treats for just about everyone that taste AMAZING and are made with vegan, organic, and natural ingredients.

Lately, I have been a bit obsessed with waffles. While revising my Vegan Seltzer Waffles (made with club soda, which makes them nice and light), I decided to also develop a gluten-free and soy-free version, so we’ve been eating waffles for breakfast and dinner quite a lot lately. Finally satisfied with both my gluten-free version and my wheat version (probably to my husband’s great relief!), I began working on a vegan version of “chicken waffles,” a popular, but very high-fat, restaurant dish. It has always intrigued me, but I was never satisfied with my attempts at recreating a lower-fat vegan version. Until now!

There are two different versions of this dish—the Southern one, which consists of fried chicken pieces on a waffle with hot syrup poured over the whole shebang (and now sometimes further “enhanced” with bacon, for good measure); and the Pennsylvania Dutch version, which is a waffle topped with strips of boiled chicken and a chicken gravy.

The Southern one sounded a bit over-the-top to me, but I liked the idea of gravy on a waffle (I do love gravy). The very first attempt I made was pretty delicious—I combined the Southern and Northern versions and topped our waffles with some President’s Choice “Meatless Breaded Chicken Strips” (a Canadian product made by Gardein®, similar to their “Crispy Tenders”) and a light vegan gravy. Mmmmm-good! (I’m sure that crispy coated tofu strips would be good, too.) The gravy was also delicious with Butler Soy Curls®, reconstituted in a vegan “chicken” broth and lightly browned—a more Northern-style version that would also work with a light seitan or any of the new commercial vegan “chicken” strips and similar products.

But I couldn’t use any of those products in a gluten-free and soy-free version of the dish, so I was racking my brains for something delicious that would be suitable and satisfying. For three days or more I mulled it over. Finally, the light bulb went off in my head—crispy oven-“fried” slices of sweet potatoes or yams; suitably Southern and full of flavor—just the ticket!

For the gravy, I started out with a milky Southern biscuit gravy recipe that I had developed a few years ago, but it seemed too heavy for this recipe. I revised it, substituting some “chickeny” vegan broth for some of the non-dairy milk and adding some herbs and green onions. I used a white-rice-based GF flour mix instead of the wheat flour for the thickener, and it made for an exceptionally silky texture—just what I was hoping for.

I used Original So Delicious® Coconut Milk Beverage for the "milk" in the waffles, the gravy, and as part of the coating for Crispy Sweet Potato Slices. It provided just the right amount of richness and flavor, without excessive fat. I hope you’ll enjoy this recipe as much as we did!

Vegan Seltzer Waffles with Crispy Sweet Potatoes and Light Chik'n Gravy
(gluten-free and soy free—or not) Serves 4

For convenience, make the waffles and the gravy ahead of time, and reheat just before serving. If you and your guests have big appetites, use 2 waffles per serving. If not, use one each. It’s a filling and satisfying dish. We like this for supper, but it makes a great brunch dish, as well.

4 to 8 Bryanna’s Gluten-Free Vegan Seltzer Waffles (see recipe below)
1 recipe Bryanna's Light Vegan Southern-Style Chik'n Gravy (see recipe below)
1 lb. sweet potato (orange-flesh) or yam (white or yellow flesh)

Yam/Sweet Potato and Coating: (Note: the measurements for the following ingredients are approximate)

1/2 cup + 1/2 tablespoon white GF flour mix
1/2 cup So Delicious® Coconut Milk Beverage, Original
1 teaspoon Cajun seasoning
1/2 cup brown rice flour
olive oil in a pump sprayer bottle

Preheat your oven to 500ºF.

Cut the sweet potato/yam into 4 equal quarters, slicing it in half horizontally and then slicing the halves again in half lengthwise. You can peel the sweet potato/yam first, or remove the peel after cooking—it’s up to you.

I microwave the sweet potato/yam (without any water) in a covered Pyrex casserole for about 7 minutes. You can also steam them. Just make sure that you remove them from the heat source when they are just barely cooked—you can stick a fork in the center, but the flesh is still firm.

Let them cool off. (If you have not peeled them already, run some cold water over the skin side and the peel should come off easily. If it doesn’t, use a paring knife.) Slice the quarters lengthwise into about 3/8-inch-thick slices.

Assemble 3 shallow bowls (such as soup bowls) and place the 1/2 cup white GF flour mix in one; the So Delicious® Coconut Milk Beverage mixed with the Cajun seasoning and the 1/2 tablespoon white GF flour mix, in the second bowl; and the brown rice flour in the third.

Have ready a large baking sheet (dark baking sheets brown foods better), sprayed with oil from a pump spray bottle. Coat each slice of sweet potato/yam first with the white GF flour mix, then the So Delicious® mixture, and then the brown rice flour. Lay each coated slice on the prepared pan. Place in the preheated oven and bake for about 7 minutes, or until the bottoms are golden and crispy. Turn the slices over and bake for another 4-5 minutes, or until the bottoms are also golden and crispy.

While the sweet potato/yam slices bake, you can gently reheat the Chik’n Gravy, either in a saucepan on the stovetop, or in a microwave-proof pitcher in the microwave at no more than 50% power, and place them on racks on top of baking sheets. Place them in the oven at the same time you turn the slices over to crisp the second side. Watch the waffles so that they do not brown. You just want to heat them up and crisp them a bit.

For each serving, place a waffle (or 2) on a heated plate, top each serving with 5 or 6 hot crispy sweet potato/yam slices, and drizzle with the hot gravy. Serve immediately.

Gluten-free, Soy-free Seltzer Waffles (Serves: 4-8 Yield: Eight 7-inch waffles)

Note: If you don't want to make these gluten-free, you can use Bryanna's original recipe for wheat-based Seltzer Waffles.

I use a regular non-stick waffle iron, not the Belgian type that makes thicker waffles. I have the Cuisinart Traditional waffle iron. These waffles can be made ahead of time and crisped and heated in the oven ahead of time, if you wish.

Dry Mix:
1 cup brown rice flour
1/2 cup tapioca flour (or starch)
1/3 cup potato starch (not flour)
1/4 cup chickpea flour (known as besan in South Asian grocery stores)
2 tablespoons coconut flour
1 tablespoon organic granulated sugar or other sweetener of choice
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
1/2 teaspoon baking soda

Wet Mix:
Flax Seed "Glop": 1/2 cup So Delicious Original Coconut Milk Beverage+2tablespoons golden flax seeds (if using ground flax seed, use 1/4 cup)
Additional Wet Ingredients:
7/8 cup So Delicious Original Coconut Milk Beverage
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
Seltzer water: 1 1/4 cups (10 oz) club soda
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract (optional)

If you are going to eat the waffles immediately after cooking, adjust your oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 250ºF. Set a wire rack in rimmed baking sheet and place the baking sheet in oven. If they are to be eaten later, simply have some cake racks ready on your counter.

Whisk the Dry Mix ingredients together in large bowl to combine.

In a blender, whiz together the 1/2 cup So Delicious® Coconut Milk Beverage and flax seeds until the mixture is fluffy, white and "gloppy" like lightly beaten egg whites. (See photo below.)

Add the Additional Wet Ingredients and blend briefly to mix well. Turn the blender off, remove the container from the machine and, with a slim spatula, gently stir in the club soda (or alternate).

Immediately make a well in center of Dry Mix ingredients and pour in the combined Wet Mix and club soda. Using a small spatula, gently stir until just combined. The batter should remain slightly lumpy with streaks of flour.

Heat your waffle iron, spray with oil from a pump sprayer (or rub with a little non-hydrogenated shortening), and bake each waffle according to manufacturer’s instructions (for a 7-inch round waffle I used 1/2 cup batter). In my Cuisinart Traditional waffle iron, I cook them on the #4 setting until the steam stops pouring from the iron, which takes about 4 minutes.

Transfer waffles to to rack in warm oven and hold for up to 10 minutes before serving. Or if they are to be reheated later in the day, place them on cake racks on the counter to cool. To reheat the waffles, place them on racks on top of baking sheets in a 350ºF oven for a few minutes, until hot and crisp. Any leftover waffles can be frozen in zipper-lock bags to use as toaster waffles.

Bryanna's Light Southern-style Chik'n Gravy
(soy-free and gluten-free...or not!) Servings: 6, Yield 3 cups

1/3 cup white GF flour mix (or if you are not GF, use unbleached white flour)
1/4 cup nutritional yeast flakes
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups water
1 cup So Delicious® Coconut Milk Beverage
1/2 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
1/2 tablespoon "chicken-style" vegetarian broth powder or paste
(Use a GF and/or SF version, if necessary—here’s my homemade GF & SF broth powder, but you will need to use 1 tablespoon instead of 1/2 tablespoon.)
1 teaspoon dark sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon dried rubbed sage (not powdered)
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves (not powdered)
1/4 teaspoon freshly-ground black pepper
2 green onions, thinly sliced

Place the flour, nutritional yeast and salt in a 2-qt. microwave-proof bowl or pitcher and microwave on high for 2 minutes. Whisk in the water, So Delicious® Coconut Milk Beverage, soy sauce, broth powder or paste, sesame oil and herbs.

Cook in the microwave on High for 2 minutes. Whisk the mixture well. Microwave again for 2 minutes, or until thickened (microwave once more if necessary). Whisk again, taste for seasoning, stir in the sliced green onions and serve hot.

If making on the stovetop, toast the flour, yeast and salt lightly in a DRY heavy skillet or saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly. Do not brown the flour. Off the heat, whisk in the water, So Delicious® Coconut Milk Beverage, and soy sauce, making sure that there are no lumps. Whisk in the broth powder or paste, sesame oil and herbs. Stir over high heat just until it starts to boil, then reduce heat to medium and stir for several minutes, until thickened. Whisk again, taste for seasoning, stir in the sliced green onions and serve hot. Enjoy!


  1. Who knew vegan could be so hearty? I'm from Georgia, and even my meat-loving family would love this dish! Thanks So Delicious and Chef Bryanna for sharing the recipe! Looks like Christmas is going to be even more delicious at our house this year!

  2. Good lord, I think I've just died and gone to vegan heaven!

  3. It's well past lunch time, I haven't eaten anything yet, and now my stomach is shouting, "feed me!" Man, this looks good!

  4. I'm impressed with the complexity and ingenuity of these recipes, since they are dairy, egg, soy, and gluten free. They may take a little extra time and effort, but they sure look like they are well worth it. I for one, will be making them for my family next weekend. Preparing cruelty-free dishes from whole food ingredients that everyone in our food-sensitive family can eat and enjoy is a labor of love for me.

  5. These dishes all look amazingly delicious. Personally I have used So Delicious coconut milk in many ways myself and I am not a cook. I have used it for cereal, mashed potatoes, soup and brownies. It really is the best "milk" beverage on the market. No contest!!!

  6. I just looked again at the pictures and I so badly want to eat these. Yum!!!!!

  7. More proof positive that all that's missing from a great vegan meal is the cruelty. I really appreciate the versatility of So Delicious products, and I use them in all of my cooking and baking!

  8. Waffles? Gravy? Sweet potatoes AND So Delicious? Sounds like the perfect meal!

  9. Add a side of greens and this meal would be PERFECT. Can't wait to try it. Thanks, Bryanna, for making this gluten-free vegan (who's also trying to cut back on soy) smile. And lick her lips.

  10. Hey, I think I took this photo, Bry! Yes, these are absolutely to die for...OMG, they're good! Everybody who doesn't already follow Bryanna's awesome blog needs to check out/order her latest cookbook, "World Vegan Feast". Unless it's sold out again? Another 200 mouthwatering healthy vegan dishes from 50 different countries. Another vegan triumph from one of the best cookbook writers out there! Now I've gotta go make those waffles!

  11. Just wanted to let you know I made this for dinner last night. My eight-year-old had fun helping me make the waffles. Our whole family was blown away by how delicious everything tasted! It was definitely worth the extra effort to make an allergy-free meal that we and our kids could all enjoy so much. Thank you Bryanna and So Delicious! I'll be making this again over the holidays.

  12. Thank you for dropping by Gail! love those waffles and the gravy.. i've been using the so delicious vanilla in so many things.. made some cranberry multigrain pancakes a bunch of times already.. and it goes into all my muffins! just finished this box, now onto trying the other options! do let me know when u try the flan!

  13. OMG this is absolutely unreal! Gail and Bryanna your rule!!!!!!