Vegan pepper steak is a plant-powered rendition of a Chinese restaurant favorite. It’s an easy stir-fry recipe to make at home and a treat to eat. This version is just as hearty as the real thing, made with seitan or any of the varieties of steak-style plant protein options to accompany the plethora of peppers.
If you have the DIY spirit, you can use homemade seitan, though any favorite store-bought brand will do fine. White Wave, Sweet Earth, and Upton’s Naturals, among others, make good seitan.
As for steak-style plant protein, I used Viana Gyro strips in these photos. Their Vegan Cowgirl Steaks, sliced thin, would work well, too. Use whatever brand you prefer, whether from your local natural foods store, grocery, or online source.
With the increased demand for steak-style plant protein minus the cow, brands are developing these products all the time so keep an eye out.
Complete the meal: Serve with hot cooked rice (I like to combine white jasmine rice with quinoa, as you see in these photos — they can be cooked at the same time) or any kind of Asian noodles.
To make the meal extra fun, add veggie spring rolls or dumplings from the frozen foods aisle. A colorful salad is always welcome; here are a few salads that go well with this dish:
- Avocado and Radicchio Salad with Lime Vinaigrette
- Sesame-Ginger Red Cabbage and Carrot Slaw
- Bok Choy Salad with Apple and Carrot
- 14 to 16 ounces seitan or steak-style plant protein
- 2 tablespoons safflower or other high-heat oil
- 1 large onion, quartered and thinly sliced
- 2 to 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 large green bell pepper, cut into thick 2 to 3-inch strips
- 2 large red bell peppers, cut to match green pepper (or use 1 red and 1 orange pepper)
- 2 teaspoons grated fresh or squeeze bottle ginger, or more to taste
- 1/4 cup hoisin sauce, black bean sauce, or teriyaki sauce
- 1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch or arrowroot
- 1 1/4 cups water 1 tablespoon soy sauce or tamari, plus more for serving
- Freshly ground pepper to taste
- Hot cooked rice or noodles for serving
- Sriracha or other hot sauce for serving, optional
- Cut the seitan or steak-style plant protein into bite-sized strips (unless it already comes in strips)
- Heat half of the oil in a stir-fry pan. Add your plant protein and stir-fry over high heat until most of the sides are lightly browned, about 6 to 8 minutes. Transfer to a plate until needed.
- Heat the remaining oil in the pan. Add the onion and sauté over medium heat until golden. Add the garlic and bell peppers, turn the heat up, and stir-fry until the peppers are tender-crisp, about 8 minutes.
- Stir the plant protein back into the pan.
- Stir in the the ginger and sauce of choice, then remove from the heat momentarily.
- Dissolve the cornstarch or arrowroot in about 1/4 cup of the water in a small bowl. Stir in the remaining water and soy sauce.
- Put the pan back on the heat and stir this mixture into the pan. Cook briefly, just until thickened.
- Remove from the heat, grind in some pepper, and serve at once. Pass around extra soy sauce and hot sauce if desired.
Add more veggies: A handful of snow peas or snap peas make a nice addition to this, as do mushrooms. About 6 ounces of sliced baby bella or cremini mushrooms will do. Either or both can be added just after the peppers start to soften in step 4.
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