Nov 3, 2010

applebee's (MoFo 2)

We all have one of these in our neighborhood, don't we? Well, maybe not everyone, but then I didn't exactly research the number of these fine establishments that are dotting the planet. I guess I chose Applebee's, not for their super fabulous menu, but because I worked at one. In fact, I thought I was just hired to work at a place that was going to put a bunch of $$$ in my pocket and drove 90 minutes each way to go to work.

I quit within a month. It wasn't the gold-mine I was expecting.

I never really understood Applebee's phenomena; every time we ate there (pre-veg), they never managed to get the order right and we got some pretty awful food because of it. That is a good enough reason to make it at home.

We made two of Applebee's signature dishes... the Asian Chicken Salad - cleverly omitting the 'fried' part from the name and...the more-famous-than-Houdini Applebee's Ribs. No need to have Babe on a plate, we have seitan all ready to transform a plate of something my daughter called "eww, gross,'' as she gazed upon Applebee's website, to "this is really good, Mom," as she was chowing down on her Seitan Rib.
Finger-licking good.

The Oriental Salad has fried Tender Seitan on it and a mustard-maple sesame dressing. It never ceases to amaze me that someone can transform a perfectly healthy plate of greens into a heart-attack on a plate fare. And, yet, that is what seems to be happening across the board in restaurants - veg or not, fried tastes right. This was no exception; it was really good.

So, while you dear reader, can pick and choose wisely when or if to indulge in these fried delicacies, my family will need a good detox in December.

The sacrifices we make for the blog.

Cost Breakdown

lettuce, cabbage, carrots, onions: $4
chow mein, almonds, cashews: $1.50
maple, vinegar, mustard, veganaise: $1.50
seitan, corrnflakes, flour: $4
Total for 4 servings:

seitan: $5
ketchup, spices, herbs, vinegar, sugar: $2
potatoes: $3
Total for 5 servings:
Asian Chick'n Salad

Applebee's Style Ribs


  1. In the realm of "neighborhood" style chain restaurants, I always kind of thought Applebee's was the worst. They seemed to just copy whatever Friday's or Chili's was doing. Your interpretation look really tasty though!

  2. I never understood the Apple B's phenomenon either, yuck. I do however love a good Oriental Salad! The dressings are always what ruins the salad for me. Your maple dressing sounds good tho. Have I already asked you about seiten? I've heard that it's not so great for you because of the high gluten/wheat levels and the way it's processed. What kind do you use and have you ever heard these claims?
    btw, I think it's really cool that you are transforming some of these popular unhealthy dishes into healthier ones!

  3. Thanks, Erin. The kids loved it.

    Gwen, although I haven't heard anything worse about seitan than I have about wheat and gluten in general, I really can't say because I have not had the training you have.

    I can say that although seitan has gluten in it (it is all gluten) and traces of wheat because that is what it is made of, like soy, the Asians have been eating it for thousand of years. We don't have it at every meal, just like we don't have soy at every meal. This month will be the monumental exception because of MoFo (yes, it is all their fault) and I am not limiting the soy or gluten on the menu.

    As for where I get it from, it is a big 75# bag that I buy from Whole Foods as vital wheat gluten (the bran and the starch having already been washed away) and I use this in my recipes to make a variety of flavors and textures. (See the Seitan Page above.)

    Gluten is flour with the starch and bran removed leaving only the gluten. There is no magical way to process it - you can make it from scratch at home - just make a huge ball of dense dough by adding water to the flour and begin to wash it. Yup, in a bowl of water, just wash away the bran and starch. I've done it many times, but buying it ready made is easier and I can flavor it the way I like.

    My theory, and take it for what it is worth, is that we as Americans tend to overdo everything...if a little is good, a lot is much better. We do things in ethical moderation at my house. That means when we make our menu we limit the main ingredients, like:

    1 potato
    1-2 tomato based dishes
    2 soy
    2 seitan
    no limit on beans since there are so many kinds
    at least 1 salad as a main meal
    1 sandwich
    at least 1 soup
    we are limiting cooking oil to coconut only (free radicals from olive oil when heated)
    no canola
    greens at every meal

    You get the idea.

  4. I haven't been to an Applebee's in probably 10 years...and I think I far prefer your dishes!

  5. Rib's look good. Nice write up on Applebee's, they are a horrible, horrible place for vegetarians let alone vegans. Nothing to eat.

  6. Agreed, Belinda and Tender Branson - they are terrible,... but these were pretty good.

  7. Words cannot express how good that looks!

  8. Love your blog and recipes! When you write sesame oil in a recipe, are you referring to toasted sesame oil?

  9. Thank you very much, veghead! Yes, the toasted sesame oil is optimal, especially for the seitan recipes because of the flavor, but I know that some places only carry the raw form.


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