Thursday, July 4, 2013

The Food Traditions of 4th of July with Upton Naturals - Giveaway!!!

You don't often find a 4th of July gathering without certain traditional 4th of July fare. Of course most people will be busting out the grill and we'll be no exception. I'm going to making some veggie burgers from The Best Veggie Burgers on the Planet later on today. If I can find non-GMO corn on the cob, we'll be grilling that up too!

No 4th of July picnic or cookout would be complete without BBQ Baked Beans. When I lived in the midwest, I remember just about every outdoor gathering had a pot of sweet and smoky beans. The ladies at my grandma's church started their beans with chopped, fatty bacon and added loads of sugar. These days, I opt for a much healthier non-animal version using Upton Naturals seitan bacon and agave nectar.

BBQ Baked Beans

8 servings

1 - 15 oz. can pinto beans with liquid
1 - 15 oz. can red kidney beans with liquid
1 - 15 oz. can butter beans with liquid
1 tablespoon olive oil separated
1 - 5 oz package Upton's Naturals Seitan Bacon, diced
1 medium yellow onion, diced small
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 - 8 oz. can tomato sauce
1/3 cup ketchup
1/3 cup molasses
2 tablespoon agave nectar
2 tablespoon yellow mustard
1 tablespoon vegan worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons cider vinegar
1 teaspoon hot sauce
1/4 teaspoon liquid smoke
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon salt

Add beans with liquid to slow cooker or casserole dish. 

In 10 inch skillet over medium-high heat add 2 teaspoons olive oil. Saute seitan bacon in olive oil until browned, stirring occasionally, about 5-7 minutes. Add to beans. Add remaining olive oil and diced onions. Saute until onions are softened, about 5 minutes. Add minced garlic and saute until just fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add to bean mixture. In a small bowl stir together remaining ingredients and add to bean mixture, stirring to combine. If using slow cooker, cook on high for 4 hours. If baking, cover casserole and bake at 325 for 2 hours.

Upton's Naturals and a Giveaway!!!

Let's talk about Upton's Naturals for a moment, shall we. The Chicago-based company was founded in 2006. They use all natural ingredients. There seitan products are low in fat, high in protein and fantastic in texture and flavor. I was thrilled to find out they use non-GMO ingredients. Hurrah!!! Sadly, at that time, you could not find their products here in Arizona. That has all changed. Several Whole Foods locations and the Tempe Farmer's Market are now carrying Upton's. You can find their products all over the country now and even in Germany! Yay!

I first tried their ground seitan when I was visiting home (Illinois) a couple of years ago. I was really impressed with both the flavor and the texture of the crumbles. When I stumbled upon their seitan bacon at Whole Foods, I was really anxious to give it a try. It comes in a 5 oz. package of smoky slices. Fred had a hankering for BLT's, so that was the first thing I made with their bacon. 

For Father's Day I broke out another package and made Fred a breakfast fit for a king. The texture was chewy, like I remember bacon being. It is much lower in fat, so there is not greasy nastiness going on. 

Upton's is opening their new vegan cafe this summer in Chicago. Even more exciting? Kelly Peloza, the Vegan Cookie Connoisseur is going to be creating their baked goods!! Stop by Upton's Naturals website for more information on their line of vegan "meats" and where you can find them. 

I'm super excited about today's giveaway. Upton's Naturals sent me coupons for free packages of any of 4 of their seitan products: Traditional, Ground, Chorizo or Italian. Yes, REALLY! Leave a comment on today's post about what recipe you would use their awesome seitan in before midnight Sunday, July 7th for your chance to win. There will be two, yes, two winners drawn. Each winner will get 2 coupons. Make sure to leave a way to contact you if you win. Happy and delicious 4th to you!!


  1. I love making grilled cheese with the seitan bacon. We also use the italian in our spaghetti and on our pizzas.

  2. I'd like to try the Seitan-Stuffed (Wish-It-Was-Summer) Rolls...yumza!

  3. I'd love to try a garbanzo soup with the chorizo or BLT with the bacon. Sadly, looking at Upton's site, there are no stores in my area that sell their products, would love to try :(

  4. I adore Upton's bacon seitan! It's my all-time favorite veggie bacon. I've been wanting to use it for bacon-wrapped dates, but so far I finish off the package on BLT's with avocado before I can! :)

  5. I passed the information from this post along to friends in Chicago.

  6. I would love to try the chorizo seitan in a vegan paella - or just on a sandwich!

  7. I would love to make a tofu scramble with Upton Naturals bacon!


  8. I'd love to try the bacon in a bacon-avocado-tomato sandwich on toasted whole grain bread!

    Hmmm...but I don't want to post my email address out here, and I don't have a bloggy not sure how you'd contact me...

  9. I'd make Isa's jambalaya with the chorizo seitan. Thanks for the giveaway.

  10. I haven't seen the bacon yet, so I'd love to try that on a BLT. Otherwise, the chorizo is calling out to be put in tacos and on tostadas and in enchiladas and in tamales!

  11. I know it seems simple, but I'd like to use the chorizo to make tacos, because I always crave them! Thank you for the giveaway, VET!

  12. I would love to try the italian and chorizo in a tofu morning scramble. LOVE seitan! Havent been able to afford to purchase it in recent months and my homemade is lack luster ;o) Thanks for this giveaway! Good luck everyone!

  13. something that would showcase the a nice summer salad or stir fry with veggies from the farmer's market!