But when Renegade Foods reached out to ask if I'd like to review their new line of vegan salami, I was stoked! I may not care about new-to-me animal foods, but I love trying new vegan plant meats! Especially if those meats can become part of a charcuterie board!
Renegade Foods' line includes Spicy Chorizo, Smoky Soppressata, and and Sweet Toscana. The salamis are seitan-based and seasoned with fresh veggies and spices. As I cut into the first log, I was surprised to find that it was wrapped in paper casing. That casing is very easy to remove though. Just don't try to eat it like I did!
Of course, we had to try these first on a big Vegan Charcuterie Platter! Renegade's website provides wine and food pairings for each flavor, but I just added our favorite cheese board snacks and poured some nice white table wine that we picked up at a winery in Chattanooga on our last visit.
Besides the salami, this platter had Miyoko's Smoked Farmhouse Cheddar, marcona almonds, homemade tofu hummus, onion jam, dolmas, grapes, Back to Nature pink salt flatbreads, and LuLu's baguette. Paul and I sat outside by the fire-pit and enjoyed our snacks and wine.
Here are our thoughts on each flavor: The Smoky Soppressata was mine and Paul's favorite. It's a Calabrian-style salami influenced by the flavors of Italy (according to their website). It's got chunks of black pepper and hints of applewood smoke. This one tasted the meatiest, perhaps because of the smoky flavor. The texture was firm and toothsome, much like the texture of other seitan-based sausages.
The Sweet Toscana is a Tuscan-inspired salami with fennel, Italian herbs, and roasted red pepper. I would call this fennel-forward if I were the kind of foodie who calls things "forward." That lends it a sausage flavor that would work well on a pizza!
The Spicy Chorizo is Spanish-style salami with smoked paprika and garlic. It's the spiciest of the three, thanks to chipotle pepper and red pepper. We both love spice, and we felt like this salami had just the right level. It's not burn-your-mouth hot, just tingly-in-the-back-of-your-throat hot. Perfect!
After our tasting, I decided to put a few of these to use in other ways. Last week, I made Chorizo & Pinto Bean Tacos by sauteeing chopped Renegade Chorizo with pinto beans and some taco seasoning. I topped the tacos with vegan shreds, sour cream, and avocado, and they were awesome! Definitely one of my favorite Taco Tuesdays in recent memory.
This past Saturday, after I ran the Great American River Run Half-Marathon (a real race!! Races are back!), I treated myself to a mini Vegan Soppressata Pizza using the salami, vegan shreds, fresh basil from my garden, homemade pizza sauce, and a Simple Truth mini vegan pizza crust. So much better than any vegan pepperoni I've had!
These new Renegade Foods salamis are AWESOME, and I'd highly recommend them if you're planning a vegan charcuterie plate! Or if you just want some delicious snacks to have on-hand. I've been eating lots of salami and vegan cheese/crackers lately. They're even great for romantic picnics. After seeing my Instagram post about these a couple weeks ago, my friends Simon and Jen ordered some salami for themselves, and they had a lovely Memorial Day picnic with it.