Lately, I have been a bit obsessed with waffles. While revising my Vegan Seltzer Waffles (made with club soda, which makes them nice and light), I decided to also develop a gluten-free and soy-free version, so we’ve been eating waffles for breakfast and dinner quite a lot lately. Finally satisfied with both my gluten-free version and my wheat version (probably to my husband’s great relief!), I began working on a vegan version of “chicken waffles,” a popular, but very high-fat, restaurant dish. It has always intrigued me, but I was never satisfied with my attempts at recreating a lower-fat vegan version. Until now!
There are two different versions of this dish—the Southern one, which consists of fried chicken pieces on a waffle with hot syrup poured over the whole shebang (and now sometimes further “enhanced” with bacon, for good measure); and the Pennsylvania Dutch version, which is a waffle topped with strips of boiled chicken and a chicken gravy.
The Southern one sounded a bit over-the-top to me, but I liked the idea of gravy on a waffle (I do love gravy). The very first attempt I made was pretty delicious—I combined the Southern and Northern versions and topped our waffles with some President’s Choice “Meatless Breaded Chicken Strips” (a Canadian product made by Gardein®, similar to their “Crispy Tenders”) and a light vegan gravy. Mmmmm-good! (I’m sure that crispy coated tofu strips would be good, too.) The gravy was also delicious with Butler Soy Curls®, reconstituted in a vegan “chicken” broth and lightly browned—a more Northern-style version that would also work with a light seitan or any of the new commercial vegan “chicken” strips and similar products.
But I couldn’t use any of those products in a gluten-free and soy-free version of the dish, so I was racking my brains for something delicious that would be suitable and satisfying. For three days or more I mulled it over. Finally, the light bulb went off in my head—crispy oven-“fried” slices of sweet potatoes or yams; suitably Southern and full of flavor—just the ticket!
For the gravy, I started out with a milky Southern biscuit gravy recipe that I had developed a few years ago, but it seemed too heavy for this recipe. I revised it, substituting some “chickeny” vegan broth for some of the non-dairy milk and adding some herbs and green onions. I used a white-rice-based GF flour mix instead of the wheat flour for the thickener, and it made for an exceptionally silky texture—just what I was hoping for.
I used Original So Delicious® Coconut Milk Beverage for the "milk" in the waffles, the gravy, and as part of the coating for Crispy Sweet Potato Slices. It provided just the right amount of richness and flavor, without excessive fat. I hope you’ll enjoy this recipe as much as we did!
Preheat your oven to 500ºF.
Cut the sweet potato/yam into 4 equal quarters, slicing it in half horizontally and then slicing the halves again in half lengthwise. You can peel the sweet potato/yam first, or remove the peel after cooking—it’s up to you.I microwave the sweet potato/yam (without any water) in a covered Pyrex casserole for about 7 minutes. You can also steam them. Just make sure that you remove them from the heat source when they are just barely cooked—you can stick a fork in the center, but the flesh is still firm.
Add the Additional Wet Ingredients and blend briefly to mix well. Turn the blender off, remove the container from the machine and, with a slim spatula, gently stir in the club soda (or alternate).
Immediately make a well in center of Dry Mix ingredients and pour in the combined Wet Mix and club soda. Using a small spatula, gently stir until just combined. The batter should remain slightly lumpy with streaks of flour.
Heat your waffle iron, spray with oil from a pump sprayer (or rub with a little non-hydrogenated shortening), and bake each waffle according to manufacturer’s instructions (for a 7-inch round waffle I used 1/2 cup batter). In my Cuisinart Traditional waffle iron, I cook them on the #4 setting until the steam stops pouring from the iron, which takes about 4 minutes.
Transfer waffles to to rack in warm oven and hold for up to 10 minutes before serving. Or if they are to be reheated later in the day, place them on cake racks on the counter to cool. To reheat the waffles, place them on racks on top of baking sheets in a 350ºF oven for a few minutes, until hot and crisp. Any leftover waffles can be frozen in zipper-lock bags to use as toaster waffles.Bryanna's Light Southern-style Chik'n Gravy
1/3 cup white GF flour mix (or if you are not GF, use unbleached white flour)
1/4 cup nutritional yeast flakes
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups water
1 cup So Delicious® Coconut Milk Beverage
1/2 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
1/2 tablespoon "chicken-style" vegetarian broth powder or paste
(Use a GF and/or SF version, if necessary—here’s my homemade GF & SF broth powder, but you will need to use 1 tablespoon instead of 1/2 tablespoon.)
1 teaspoon dark sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon dried rubbed sage (not powdered)
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves (not powdered)
1/4 teaspoon freshly-ground black pepper
2 green onions, thinly sliced
Place the flour, nutritional yeast and salt in a 2-qt. microwave-proof bowl or pitcher and microwave on high for 2 minutes. Whisk in the water, So Delicious® Coconut Milk Beverage, soy sauce, broth powder or paste, sesame oil and herbs.
Cook in the microwave on High for 2 minutes. Whisk the mixture well. Microwave again for 2 minutes, or until thickened (microwave once more if necessary). Whisk again, taste for seasoning, stir in the sliced green onions and serve hot.
If making on the stovetop, toast the flour, yeast and salt lightly in a DRY heavy skillet or saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly. Do not brown the flour. Off the heat, whisk in the water, So Delicious® Coconut Milk Beverage, and soy sauce, making sure that there are no lumps. Whisk in the broth powder or paste, sesame oil and herbs. Stir over high heat just until it starts to boil, then reduce heat to medium and stir for several minutes, until thickened. Whisk again, taste for seasoning, stir in the sliced green onions and serve hot. Enjoy!