At Buona, we are always looking for new concepts and high-quality ingredients to bring to our customers. Our founders began researching vegan and vegetarian trends and thought, “What if we didn’t just create another plant-based burger- what if we recreated our signature dish, but meatless!” Our Chef started researching (having a vegan daughter, he knew where to start) and found that Upton’s had all the things we were looking for: Chicago-based, high quality, and all natural. We could not be more excited to partner with one of the most prominent meat substitute providers and bring this vegan vision to life. Owner and creator of Upton’s Naturals, Daniel Staackmann, met with the Buona family to share his insights, recipes, and products. From there, the Italian Beefless Sandwich came to life.
Our plant-based beef product is an all-natural Seitan from our partner, Upton’s Naturals. Seitan is a traditional Japanese food made by rinsing the starch away from wheat and retaining the protein. It is often also referred to as “wheat meat” and is used in various vegan-friendly products because of its versatility, savory flavor profile, and ability to take on additional flavors.
We chose this protein base because it was all-natural like our other meats, easily paired with authentic Italian recipe, and created a similar beef texture when eaten. Our goal was to make it feel like you were eating one of our Buona Beefs, so the texture, flavor and ability to slice it thin was key.
Buona custom developed the vegan gravy to pair with the seitan. We added the authentic Italian spices and fresh ingredients of our traditional beef gravy to a vegetable-based broth and used olive oil to help give it that juicyness you would usually get from beef fat. All ingredients are vegan-friendly and created based off our original family recipe.