Although Salt Lake City, Utah doesn’t often make the list of top vegan cities, locals know that it’s an untapped gem of vegan options. The greater Salt Lake Area has a huge number of vegan and vegan friendly restaurants and bars. Vegan-only establishments range from bars to bakeries to dairy free ice cream shops. But what Salt Lake City has not had – until Vegan Daddy Meats came along – is its very own plant butcher.
Many of the SLC vegans have watched with envy as plant butcher shops such The Herbivorous Butcher in Minneapolis opened and thrived by selling a variety of hand crafted vegan meats and cheeses. Enter Adam Diener and Vegan Daddy Meats, SLC’s very own plant butcher. For the first time, SLC vegans have several vegan meat choices ranging from battered and fried nuggets to smoky deli slices to traditional seitan. Adam makes all his seitan options in small batches with to-go packaging so they can be prepared at home. With the Covid-19 pandemic still somewhat limiting dining out, Vegan Daddy Meats gives residents plenty of reasons to stay in and cook.
Meet Your New Vegan Daddy
Adam started Vegan Daddy because he wanted to work in an area he’s passionate about and to be able to work for himself. He has been making seitan in his own kitchen for years. It wasn’t until Adam experienced a series of unfortunate events – breaking his leg, job loss, and a global pandemic – that he realized making seitan could be more than just a hobby.
“I also had a huge push from my fiancé, she is my biggest seitan fan,” Adam said.
Over the years, Adam tweaked and perfected his recipe. At first, he made changes based on feedback from his family and close friends. Eventually, he asked for feedback from a wider audience. Adam feels the recipe has improved a lot, even in the past year; he has tweaked everything from the breading to the frying to the kneading.
“Making seitan is a very delicate process!” Adam explained, “If you knead the dough too much the seitan turns out tough, if you under knead it’s too soft.”
Vegan Daddy Meats became an official business on January 1, 2021 and Adam has been trying to keep up with the high demand for orders ever since.
Specific Reviews of Vegan Daddy Products
Battered & Fried Golden Nuggets & Cutlets
One of the first products offered by Vegan Daddy Meats in January of 2021 were the battered and fried nuggets/cutlets. Like the name suggests, this is a breaded seitan product available as larger cutlets or bite sized nuggets. The cutlets looked great for things like chick’n Parmesan and chick’n sandwiches. However, we selected the nuggets in our sampler pack. One thing that separates these nuggets from some store bought brands (as well as some vegan wings in the local area) is the breading. Vegan Daddy’s nuggets have a thicker and tastier breading compared to other vegan nugget options we have tried (including those available locally at Trolley Square).
Vegan Daddy’s website suggests cooking the nuggets in the oven at 375 degrees for 13-15 minutes. This did sound like a great idea. However, we selected a cast iron skillet over medium high heat, which is the way we cooked all the Vegan Daddy Meats – except the Smoky Slices that we ate cold. In just a few minutes, the nuggets were golden brown and sizzling. We flipped them a few times and they were good to go.
Our favorite condiment for fried meat substitutes and roasted potatoes is a homemade concoction of Follow Your Heart Vegenaise mixed with Cholula. For my Utah people, it creates a creamy, spicy condiment similar to fry sauce. So, we roasted some potatoes and paired both the potatoes and the nuggets with the dip. The only downside to the nuggets is that we wanted more! We probably could have each eaten an entire package – they were that good.
Thai Sweet Chili Seitan
Vegan Daddy’s Thai Sweet Chili Seitan comes cubed and marinated. Since it’s prepped and ready to go, it’s a great choice for a quick meal. The flavor is exactly what you would expect from the description: it has a sweet, asian flavor with a lot of basil and plenty of heat. In fact, we didn’t have to add any extra heat to our final dish, which is something we do regularly.
We prepared this seitan in a cast iron skillet with sunflower oil on high heat until the pieces were browned on the edges and and crispy all over. Then, we removed the seitan from the skillet and set it aside while we sautéed veggies with asian ingredients (soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, miren). Finally, we combined the seitan, veggies, and cooking liquids with rice noodles and garnished with cilantro and lime for a delicious noodle dish.
The Thai Sweet Chili Seitan is a great substitute for chicken, pork, or shrimp in any dish where you might use those meats. It can replace shredded or cubed meats and would be perfect in any recipe with strong flavors. It holds up to cooking well and the cast iron skillet gave it a fantastic sear with crispy edges.
As far as adventure foods go, Vegan Daddy’s Smoky Slices are right at the top of our list. We used the Smoky Slices on cold sandwiches on a road trip to visit Safe Haven Wildlife Sanctuary.
On the sandwiches, we put the Smoky Slices, Violife Mature Cheddar Cheese Slices, lettuce, tomato, Follow Your Heart Vegenaise, and yellow mustard. The slices are smoky and sweet with just the right amount of chewiness. They are thicker and meatier than other vegan slices, such as Tofurkey’s Hickory Smoked Deli Slices. They also had a lot more flavor.
Since we follow Vegan Daddy on social media, we have seen other people doing really cool things with these slices, such as making french dips and philly cheese steak sandwiches. Based on the flavor profile, they would also be great as a reuben type sandwich. We like a loaded sandwich, so we were able to make four large sandwiches with one package.
Tangy Barbecue Seitan
The Tangy Barbecue Seitan comes in cutlet form and is marinated in a sweet and tangy barbecue sauce. There were three cutlets in our package. (However, portions are measured by the ounce, so other packages could be different.) Unlike the Thai Sweet Chili flavor, this was a more family friendly flavor because it did not have as much heat. So, this might be more approachable for kids.
Again, we used a cast iron skillet to prepare this product. In just a few minutes, we cubed it and pan fried it over medium high heat in avocado oil. The cubes developed a delicious, crispy crust and remained tender on the inside. They had a meaty texture but were not too chewy or rubbery. Due to the sugar in the barbecue sauce, there was some caramelization that we didn’t get with the Thai Sweet Chili Seitan.
We served the cubes with two different condiments: Golden Barbecue Sauce from Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods 365 Brand steak sauce. Both sauces were great! To round out the meal, we added a side of broccoli and a side of hash browns. (Don’t let anyone tell you hash browns are not a legit side dish for dinner: they are. And if you buy them frozen, they are done in a flash.)
What’s Next For Vegan Daddy Meats?
Adam has been blown away by the success of Vegan Daddy Meats up to this point.
“We have grown so fast, and the love and support from our local vegan community has been incredible. I knew this was a good idea, but I had no idea that things would happen so fast. It’s been awesome!” Adam told us.
Currently, he produces Vegan Daddy Meats in a commercial kitchen. Soon, Adam will be upgrading to a bigger location due to increased demand. He is also starting to focus on restaurant distribution, with the goal of making Vegan Daddy Products available all over Utah. After that, Adam’s goal will be nationwide distribution.
Get Your Vegan Daddy Meats!
There are a lot of ways to purchase Vegan Daddy Meats and stay in touch with this exciting company.
Website: Order online then pick up your order in a few days. Vegan Daddy offers free delivery in the Salt Lake City area for orders of $20 or more. We purchased the sampler pack and highly recommend it.
Facebook: The Facebook page offers lot of new product information and recipes, as well as deals such as free sauces.
Instagram: Get all the pics of all the meats as well as recipe ideas.
In person: Vegan Daddy Meats are now available on demand at Sweet Hazel & Co in Murray, Utah.
Final Thoughts and Further Reading
We absolutely loved everything we tried from Vegan Daddy Meats. Not only was the quality great, but we loved supporting an entrepreneur like Adam who is full of passion and makes a fantastic product. Have you tried Vegan Daddy’s Meats yet? What did you think? Drop us a comment. If you liked this post, check out these others: