When I first became vegan 11 years ago I did what I had to do and what I teach my clients today, I started doing research. I researched what my options were in plant based eating. There were some options but not nearly as many today. Tofurky was one of the first that I can remember with deli meats, etc.
I remember finding this brand that made a Soyrizo and thought, “Well, I have never tried chorizo, but I guess I’ll check it out since it’s on the plant based menu…” I loved the flavor of it. So I would buy it and from time to time put in my tacos when I wanted to switch it up from buying faux ground crumbles and adding taco seasoning to them. It is interesting to me today that I’ve never actually had the real thing, but I imagine from all the spices I needed to use in this recipe that it’s super flavorful. By the way, that is what cooking and especially plant based cooking is ALL ABOUT, Flavor and how you season a dish!
As I grew on my vegan journey and learned more about how I could nutritionally fuel myself, I began realizing most of the vegan meats were made with Wheat Gluten. At that time I didn’t really know much about wheat or gluten but it was starting to pop up in health journals that I was reading. I was aware of it and trying to learn more about it, but I personally wasn’t trying to avoid it. I was learning just a few of the many side effects were depression, anxiety, bloating, and IBS.
Also, a year into being vegan, I went through a pretty tough breakup and instead of going out to drown my sorrows around people, booze, and partying (yes I had done that in the past too), I just started cooking up a storm. I was making vegan cheesecakes, vegan cookies, vegan Caesar dressing, vegan pasta, vegan lasagna, vegan taco salad, ANYTHING I COULD THINK OF to turn vegan!! Then this girl moved in next door and shortly after meeting her, I found out she had to be gluten and soy free but wasn’t actually listening to her allergies. She would still eat them all and eat the food I cooked & shared with her and then she would call me most mornings telling me she didn’t feel good, she was super depressed, she couldn’t get out of bed, and she was overweight and bloated. To me, because I had already seen my body and mind change so much, it seemed like a no brainer that if something doesn’t make you feel good you should eliminate it. I told her she needed to stop eating the food she was allergic to but I saw that she wasn’t doing that. So I felt a responsibility, to at least in my home, start cooking vegan AND gluten free since she was allergic to these items and I most likely was going to be sharing with her. This upped my level of research, learning, growth, and mastery of cooking vegan and gluten free.
What I didn’t realize or make the connection to until a year or two later, was that I too needed to be eating Gluten free!! After cooking next door to her and sharing my abundance of food for a year, I decided to go to Europe and backpack alone for 6 weeks! You bet your bum I tried all the vegan breads, croissants, pasta, vegan Gelato, that I could. I came home from that trip, no joke, 20 lbs heavier. But I knew I could get that weight off by going to the gym and eating on track again. Or could I..? The weight wasn’t coming off and I was beginning to become frustrated and felt super bloated. I was back to eating my healthy vegan veggie sandwiches and pasta but my weight and my bloating wasn’t leaving. After 3 months I finally realized what I was doing differently before I had left to travel Europe that I wasn’t doing at that point anymore. I WAS EATING TONS OF GLUTEN! I finally made the connection. Isn’t that crazy? This is why I try to be so kind and unjudgmental to others and what they eat. Some of us just aren’t making the connection like I did many years ago. Many of us HAVE NO IDEA we can change our sickness through food. WOW. We’re not taught to question or take a look at our plates in depth. We’re just fine medication for being sick, as I was when I use to have bronchitis most months of the year in my early childhood. (Coughing up Phlegm most of the year wasn’t a cute thing for a girl… you know? Ugh… but I though I had to accept it and did)
I told you this story so that you could not only learn a little more about me and my journey but also why I’m so passionate about finding homemade and as close to the whole food as possible. This way, I know what’s going into my food, it’s as minimally processed as possible, there are no harmful chemicals, and it’s vegan & Gluten free.
Actually, this recipe is even soy and nut free. I get what it’s like to have allergies and I want us all to be able to eat and enjoy food. I am Italian, FOOD IS PERSONAL. 😂😂 Anyway, please enjoy this recipe. You can put it in tacos, on top of a salad, on a sandwich, in your marinara sauce, in a sauté, or your burritos. Raw or cooked you can enjoy this flavorful substitute.
-3 Tablespoons Coconut oil (melted) or Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)
-1 small Onion (chopped)
-2 Garlic Cloves (minced)
-2.5 Cups Watermelon Seeds
-1/2 Cup Sun-dried Tomatoes in oil
-2 Tablespoons Coconut or Braggs aminos
-1 Tablespoon Date syrup
-1 Tablespoon Apple Cider Vinegar
-3 Tablespoon Ancho Chili Powder
-2 Tablespoons Paprika
-1 Tablespoon Chipotle
-2 Bay leaves
-2 teaspoons Tablespoon Pink Himalayan Salt
-1 teaspoon Coriander
-1/2 teaspoon Cumin
-1/2 teaspoon Cayenne
-1/2 teaspoon Black Pepper
-1/2 teaspoon Liquid smoke (about 14 dashes of liquid)
-Chopp the Onions and Mince the garlic.
-In a large pan, on medium heat, heat the onions with a tablespoon of oil. Sauté until translucent, about 5 minutes.
-Add Garlic and sauté for another 2-3 minutes. Then turn off heat and let the onions and garlic cool while you get your food processor out and measure your seeds.
-Measure out the seeds and pour into a food Processor. Pulse the blade a few times through the seeds. You just want to chop the seeds up a little, not quite to a powder.
-Add the sautéed onions, garlic, and sun-dried tomatoes to the food processor and pulse once or twice to Mix them in with the seeds.
-Now that the seeds, onions, garlic, and sun-dried tomatoes are mixed in the food processor, you can add all the other ingredients, including the last bit of oil.
-Pulse the food processor a few times to mix all the ingredients and then Turn the food processor on and process for about 10-20 seconds. You want it all to mix & Chopp really well, but it’s ok if it’s slightly grainy still, it will give a little dimension and texture to the chorizo.
-You can use the mixture right away or place in a glass jar and store for later. Letting it sit for a day will allow the flavors to develop. This can be consumed raw or your can cook it. If needed, freeze it in portions up to 3 months.
When you eat well, you will feel well. And as always, Please, Enjoy.
xoxo, Stephie 💋