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Seitan and Sauerkraut Runzas

Every culture has its meat-filled-dough-thing, be it empanadas, calzone, pork buns or pierogi. And of course every meat-filled-dough-thing has its own unique characteristics and nuance. And from region to region, or even family to family, there is always a way that it has to be. According to my boyfriend, a native Nebraskan, a runza has to be a doughy white bun, almost hoagie in shape. And it has to be stuffed with meat, onion and cabbage, and not much else.

Since this project was fairly impromptu, I didnít have any cabbage laying around. I did have sauerkraut, though (what kind of savage doesnít?) And although I was really determined to make the filling with lentils, the boyfriend poo-pooed that and insisted it had to be seitan. Well okay, his state, his filling. I used this seitan recipe, sans garlic. The seasoning was kept as simple as can be, salt and pepper pretty much did it! I also added just a touch of tomato paste for a slightly beefier taste and texture. And I was really liberal with the olive oil.

I veganized this recipe for the dough since it had leagues of reviews vouching for its authenticity. Instead of eggs, I used unsweetened soy yogurt (Whole Soy had conveniently sent me some to sample, so that worked out nicely!) and everything else was your standard sub. I changed the method up a bit, too, but you can read their method and see which works best for you. Basically, I didnít heat everything up on the stovetop, I just melted the shortening in the microwave and used my standing mixer fitted with a flat beater for everything up to the kneading process. It worked out really well; relatively fast and not too messy, either.

The end result for these vegan runzas is a savory, toothsome filling, with a little bite and tang from the sauerkraut and lots of meaty flavor, all stuffed into a billowy, doughy bun that you will want to sink your teeth into again and again and again. And again. And just in time for the Super Bowl, too!

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