Here I am, sitting in my kitchen, thinking of a dish I’d never thought I’d cook — Vegan Spam.
And you know what? It’s pretty good. It’s not only healthy, but it’s also delicious and surprisingly easy to make. As a dedicated foodie, I always enjoy experimenting with vegan alternatives; this vegan Spam is the latest winner.
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What is Spam?
Before we start, let’s talk a little about what Spam is.
Originating from across the pond in the US, Spam is a type of canned precooked meat, made by Hormel Foods Corporation.
Traditionally, it’s made from pork, ham, and a mix of other ingredients, and it became popular during the Second World War due to its long shelf life.
Spam remains a popular ingredient in households due to its convenience and versatility.
A Brief History About Spam
Since its introduction in 1937, Spam has been very popular.
It was seen as a war hero because it provided a reliable source of protein for soldiers during the war.
Post-war, it has remained a firm favourite in pantries worldwide. Countries like South Korea, Hawaii, and the Philippines adapted Spam into their local cuisines.
What is Vegan Spam?
As the name suggests, it’s a vegan-friendly alternative to traditional Spam.
It’s typically made from tofu or other plant proteins and seasoned with various spices to match the taste and texture of its meaty counterpart.
How to Make Vegan Spam
- 1 block of extra-firm tofu, drained and pressed
- 1 cup of vital wheat gluten
- 2 tbsp of nutritional yeast
- 2 tbsp of soy sauce
- 1 tbsp of liquid smoke
- 2 teaspoon of smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon of garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon of onion powder
- 1/2 teaspoon of pink salt
- 1 cup vegetable broth
- canola oil, for frying
- In a large bowl, crumble the drained tofu until it reaches a ground meat-like consistency.
- Add the vital wheat gluten, nutritional yeast, soy sauce, liquid smoke, smoked paprika, garlic powder, and onion powder to the bowl. Mix everything together until well combined.
- Knead the mixture in the bowl for about 5 minutes, or until it forms a firm, elastic dough.
- Shape the dough into a loaf that's roughly the size and shape of a spam can.
- Preheat your oven to 325°F (165°C) and prepare a baking dish by lightly oiling it.
- Place the "spam" loaf in the dish and pour the vegetable broth over it.
- Cover the dish with foil and bake for 1 hour, turning the loaf halfway through to ensure even cooking.
- After baking, let the "spam" cool and firm up before slicing.
- Once cooled, you can slice the vegan "spam" and fry it in canola oil until golden brown on each side.
- This Vegan “Spam” is great to prepare ahead of time. It can be stored in the fridge for up to a week, or frozen for longer storage. Just slice and fry whenever you’re ready to use it.
- You can also adjust the seasonings to your taste. If you prefer a spicier “spam”, add some chili powder or cayenne.
- The pink salt is optional but gives a distinctive flavor that’s similar to traditional spam. If you’re avoiding sodium, feel free to omit it.
- To press tofu, wrap it in a clean towel and set a heavy object (like a skillet or canned food) on top of it. Let it sit for at least 15 minutes to remove excess moisture.
- Remember to serve your vegan spam with love and enjoy!
Photo by Georgina Cahill
How to Serve Vegan Spam
Vegan Spam is incredibly versatile.
You can slice, dice, fry, and bake; it’s a veritable playground for culinary creativity.
One of my favourites is vegan Spam and chips — a twist on a British classic. It can also be used in sandwiches, salads, or topping for your vegan pizza.
How to Store Vegan Spam
Vegan Spam can last quite a while in your pantry. If unopened, it can last for months. However, once opened, it should be stored in an airtight container in the fridge and consumed within a few days.
How to Reheat It
Reheating vegan Spam is easy. Just pop it into a frying pan over medium heat until warm. If you fancy a bit of crisp, fry it until it develops a nice golden-brown crust.
Tips for Cooking Vegan Spam
My biggest tip when cooking vegan Spam is to season it well.
Because it’s made from plant-based proteins, it can be bland.
So feel free to get creative with your seasonings. Some smoked paprika, soy sauce, or vegan Worcestershire sauce can work wonders.
FAQs About Vegan Spam
Is vegan spam healthy?
Yes, vegan spam is generally healthier than traditional spam, as it’s lower in saturated fats and cholesterol. However, like all processed foods, it should be consumed in moderation as part of a balanced diet.
Does it taste like traditional spam?
While vegan spam won’t fool a die-hard spam lover, it has a similar taste and texture that many find pleasing. And with the right seasonings, it can taste quite delicious.
Where can I buy vegan spam?
Vegan spam is available at many health food stores and online.
Give vegan spam a try. Whether you’re a lifelong vegan, considering a plant-based diet, or simply want to try something a bit different, this versatile treat might just surprise you. Let me know how you get on by leaving a comment below. I would love to hear from you. Cheers!