Vegetarian Donairs / Vegan Donair Meat
Well, I was working on Donairs for More Than Poutine this week, and I was feeling a bit guilty that my husband wouldn't get to try them. He's never had a Donair, so that wasn't helping things - he's ALL about trying new foods.
What is a Donair?
A donair is a type of sandwich that's available across Canada, but is WILDLY popular in Halifax, where it originated.
A pita is topped with slices of spit roasted, highly seasoned beef. It's topped with chopped onions and tomatoes, and finished off with the piece de resistance - donair sauce.
Donair sauce sounds nasty to anyone who's new to the concept - sweetened condensed milk and garlic! - but really WORKS in the context.
It's essentially a beef version of a gyro, with a unique sauce on it. Much like poutine, they're messy, tasty, fun, not at all healthy, and are extra satisfying after a night of bar crawling.
It doesn't stop there, either - you can get Donair egg rolls in Halifax, as well we Donair Pizza. Donair pizzas are also becoming a thing here locally, alongside the more common shawarma pizza options.
Vegan Donair Meat!
Anyway, as my own loaf of tasty tasty donair meat was almost ready to go in the oven, I decided I'd play around with my seitan recipe, and come up with a vegan donair meat for him.
It was done completely as a surprise for him, he had no idea what I was up to. Frankly, I didn't want to disappoint him if it didn't turn out.
Well, I guess I was overly cautious, because it turned out amazing. I was kind of shocked at how much it looked, smelled, and felt like the real thing. I was actually able to taste a bite, and... damn.
I could absolutely be tricked by it in a sandwich, had I not made the thing. Completely bizarre!
Anyway, he LOVED his first Donair ever, and joked that it should be called a "DON'Tair", along the lines of food names being changed a bit to denote their vegetarian status.
We also used red pepper instead of tomato, as he hates tomatoes.
A bit of a caveat here:
While the Donair "meat" here is vegan, the sandwich itself is vegetarian.
As he doesn't have to be dairy free, I just haven't played with the alternatives enough to have the first clue on how to make vegan donair sauce.
I’m sure there’s some kind of non-dairy, sweetened condensed milk substitute out there. Assuming it’s a good, thick texture, I’d just sub it 1:1 for the regular stuff in the sauce.
This recipe is one of many fantastic Canadian recipes in my cookbook, "More Than Poutine: Favourite Foods from my Home and Native Land”. "More than Poutine" is a Canadian cookbook like no other - written by a Canadian living away, it includes both traditional home cooking recipes, as well as accurate homemade versions of many of the snacks, sauces, convenience foods, and other food items that are hard to come by outside of Canada!
More Sandwich Recipes
Love sandwiches, or just want some new ideas for your lunches? We've got you covered!
Apple Chicken Burgers with Basil & Gouda
Buffalo Chicken Buns
Convention Sloppy Joes
Fancy Tea Sandwiches
Juicy Goosey Burger
Moroccan Spiced Lamb Burgers with Pea Hummus, Goat Cheese, and Beets
Muffaletta Sandwich Recipe
Pesto Chicken Panini
Spinach Feta Salmon Burgers
Spinach Hand Pies
Tandoori Spiced Chicken Burgers with Mango
Vegetarian Chorizo Burgers with Grilled Poblano & Cilantro Pesto
Wild Rice & Mushroom Polenta Sandwich
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Vegan Donair "Meat"
- 1 Can Sweetened Condensed Milk (300 ml)
- ⅓ Cup White Vinegar
- 1 ¼ tsp Garlic Powder
- 1 ½ Cups Hot Water
- 3 "Beef" Flavoured Vegetarian Bouillon Cubes
- 1 ½ Cups Vital Wheat Gluten
- 2 Tbsp Nutritional Yeast
- 2 ½ tsp Garlic Powder
- 2 ½ tsp Onion Powder
- 1 ½ tsp Dried Oregano
- 1 ½ tsp Paprika
- 1 tsp Ground Pepper
- 1 tsp Cayenne Powder
- 2 Tbsp Almond Butter
- 4-6 Pitas
- 1 Onion Thinly Sliced
- 2 Tomatoes or Red Peppers Chopped
- In a medium mixing bowl, combine sweetened condensed milk, vinegar, and garlic powder.
- Use a whisk to mix together the sauce ingredients until well combined and thick.
- Transfer to a covered container, chill until use.
For the Donair "Meat"
- Preheat oven to 325, grease a glass loaf pan (4″ x 8″ or similar size)
- Dissolve “beef” bouillon cubes into hot water, set aside.
- In a medium bowl, mix together wheat gluten, nutritional yeast, and seasonings.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together almond butter and 1 cup of the “beef” bouillon mix – a little at a time – until relatively smooth.
- Once wet ingredients are well whisked, pour into dry ingredients and stir to form a lumpy dough. Turn dough out onto a clean work surface, and knead for at LEAST two minutes. This is important – if you don’t knead it enough, it’ll turn out puffy, and more like a baked good than a “meat” substitute. It won’t really look any different as you go, you just have to trust in your timing.If you have a stand mixer, you can beat it in there on medium speed for a couple minutes, instead of kneading.
- Press dough evenly into prepared loaf pan, pour remaining broth over it, and bake for 45 minutes. Allow to cool.
- Brush pitas with a little water, heat in a hot frying pan until warmed through.
- Heat a little vegetable oil in a frying pan. Slice vegan donair meat into ¼″ thick slices (or however thick/thin you prefer!), add to pan and reheat until desired texture (If you like the crispy edges, cook a little longer than you would if you don’t!)
- Pile reheated “meat” on warm pita, drizzle generously with sauce, top with onions and tomatoes. Wrap in wax paper, parchment paper, or foil to hold it together while eating, serve immediately.
More Vegetarian Recipes
Looking for more delicious vegetarian recipes? Check these out!
Boneless Vegan Ribs
Paleo Sweet Potato Gnocchi
Sesame Crusted Smoked Tofu
Trader Joe's Tofu Edamame Nuggets
Vegetarian Chorizo Burger
Vegetarian Donairs / Vegan Donair Meat
Wild Rice and Edamame Salad
Wild Rice Polenta Sandwich