Vegan Mini Cordon Bleu
Let’s end this year with a deep-frying party to make vegan cordon bleu. As we wanted to create a finger food snack for New Year’s Eve, we made mini versions of cordon bleu, but you could also make larger ones to enjoy them as a main dish with sides such as boiled potatoes, mashed potatoes, fries, cucumber salad, or else.
By the way, cordon bleu is not a French classic but originates in Switzerland. Here’s a little reminder, if you forgot what it even is: cordon bleu is a breaded schnitzel stuffed with cheese and ham – so basically none of its components is vegan. But no worries, don’t let this intimidate you.
We decided to use seitan as a substitute for the schnitzel as the consistency is quite similar. However, we don’t use pre-made seitan for this but prepare it ourselves with wheat gluten. If this all sounds new to you, check out our article on “Fantastic Vegan Ingredients and Where to Find Them “to learn more about it.
Usually, we would steam, bake, or cook the seitan first, but when we tried this, we noticed that you can’t seal the seitan afterward anymore, so all of the filling would leak. After a few tests, I actually preferred the quickest and easiest option to make our seitan cordon bleus. It starts with a dough made of wheat gluten, chickpea flour, spices, and water, which is kneaded for a few minutes. After a short resting time, it’s cut into thin slices. You will need two slices per cordon bleu, one for the bottom and one for the top, that will be pressed together to seal the filling. If you want to prepare larger cordon bleus, simply cut the seitan into fewer but thicker slices.
Speaking of the filling: for the cheese, we opted for store-bought vegan cheese slices that you can even stack on top of each other to create a thicker cheese layer. Instead of ham, we will pan-fry smoked tofu.
If you don’t want to deep-fry, you can just heat some vegetable oil in a frying pan and fry the seitan cordon bleu from both sides until golden brown. We haven’t had such good experiences with baking them as the breading doesn’t get crispy and golden brown this way. If you’re going all in to deep-fry the cordon bleu, heat as much vegetable oil as needed in a deeper frying pan to make sure that the cordon bleu can swim in it – they will become especially crispy with this technique.
Vegan Mini Cordon Bleu
For the seitan:
- 125 g (1 cup) wheat gluten
- 40 g (0.33 cup) chickpea flour
- 25 g (0.25 cup) nutritional yeast
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 150 ml (0.66 cup) water
For the filling:
- 150 g (5.5 oz) smoked tofu
- 150 g (5.5 oz) vegan cheese
For the breading and deep-frying:
- 50 g (0.5 cup) flour
- 100 ml (0.5 cup) plant-based milk
- 100 g (3.5 oz) panko breadcrumbs (or regular breadcrumbs)
- 0.5 tsp paprika
- 0.5 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- vegetable oil for deep-frying
Mix wheat gluten, chickpea flour, nutritional yeast, onion and garlic powder, paprika, salt, and pepper in a large bowl. Add water and stir to combine until you get a chewy dough. If needed, add some more water.
Knead the dough for approx. 5- 10 minutes by hand or with the help of a kitchen machine. As seitan tends to get gummy, don't knead it longer than 10 minutes.
Let the dough rest for approx. 10 minutes. In the meantime, thinly slice smoked tofu. Heat vegetable oil in a frying pan and fry tofu from both sides until crispy and browned.
Form the seitan dough into a roll and cut it into approx. 16-20 slices of equal thickness. Roll out each slice with a rolling pin until you get your desired size of mini cordon bleu. Cut vegan cheese and smoked tofu in a way that they are a bit smaller than your seitan slices.
Top half of the seitan slices with one slice of smoked tofu and one slice of vegan cheese. Add the other half of the seitan slices on top to cover all cordon bleu. Make sure to press the edges together to seal the filling.
Prepare three deeper bowls for breading: one with flour, one with plant-based milk, and mix panko breadcrumbs, paprika, garlic powder, and dried oregano in the third one. Bread seitan cordon bleu by dredging them in flour first, then plant-based milk, and lastly the panko breadcrumb mixture.
Heat a generous amount of vegetable oil in a smaller, deep frying pan. If desired, add as much oil as needed until the seitan cordon bleu could swim in it to deep-fry them. Heat oil until it's approx. 180°C/355°F hot. Fry seitan cordon bleu from both sides until golden brown. Serve as a snack or as part of a proper meal.