Upton’s Naturals, which makes quick-cooking, seitan meat substitutes for foodservice customers and industrial applications, recently teamed with The Buona Companies to make a Plant-Based Chicago Italian Beef & Gravy using thinly sliced and seasoned seitan. Now a heat-and-eat, frozen product available for retail customers nationwide, the sandwich started as a permanent menu item at the family-owned restaurant group’s 26 franchise locations.
The sandwich was originally meant to be a limited time offering, but based on the overwhelming positive response, the Buona team decided to keep the sandwich on their menu and create a fully cooked version consumers can easily make themselves at home. Created from an original Buona family recipe, the “beef” seitan is soaked in a custom-made, savory gravy that’s crafted from a vegetable-based broth and olive oil to deliver the juiciness you’d usually get from beef fat. The product is 100% vegan, with the familiar flavors of oregano, garlic and pepper, and touting 36g of protein per serving. The product is currently sold at Whole Foods Market Midwest, Fresh Thyme and Jewel-Osco stores for an SRP of $7.49.
In addition to work with Buona, Upton’s Naturals provides chefs, restaurants, and food manufacturers with 100% vegan and versatile, quick-cooking meat alternatives that are high in protein, low in fat, and contain no oil. Made in the USA, their lineup includes everything from a beef frank that can be topped with fixings and seitan strips for sandwiches to chorizo for tacos, bacon for BLTs, and gyros for Mediterranean dishes.