Seitan–what is it even? Simply put, it is a meat-like vegan substance typically made from vital wheat gluten. It can be used in place of almost any meat depending on how you flavor it.
Unfortunately, as you might have guessed, it is not gluten free which makes it difficult for vegans who are also gluten free to enjoy. However, upon making some mochi the other day, I think I may be able to figure out how to make some gluten free seitan eventually, so keep an eye out for when I do!
I think seitan dishes may be the theme of next year’s vegan mofo, but don’t quote me on that yet. I started a zine about it, but I am not sure if I plan on finishing it any time soon. We shall see; I’ll keep you posted.
Here are some of my recipes from the past that have used seitan in them:
French Toast, Seitan Ham and Homemade Cheese Sandwich
Ham Seitan itself
Quinoa Jambalaya with Shrimp Seitan
Additionally, this past week I made some bacun seitan from this recipe and made BLTs with it as evidenced here:
If you’re looking for a good cookbook that features a lot of good sandwich friendly seitan recipes, I suggest you check out Vegan Sandwiches Save the Day! It has recipes for chick’n patties that several of the recipes do different, beef style seitan, deli meat style, etc that all have tons of uses for in their many delicious sandwich recipes. It is one of my favorite cookbooks. I love sandwiches.
For those who might be reading my blog and be new to the idea of veganism and vegan food, I’d like to offer a definition of what seitan is:
Seitan: a vegan mock meat (or meat substitute) made from wheat gluten. It has a firm and somewhat rubbery texture. It is typically made by making a dough (main ingredient: vital wheat gluten) with a variety of dry and wet ingredients and be made to substitute many different meats. Seitan needs to be cooked in a broth for a fairly long time in order to form properly, but the method in which you can do that varies. I have made seitan in a crockpot and been able to go about my own business most of the day, but I’ve also made it in the oven on low temperatures and had to stick around and be more careful. You can also boil it on the stove, and then saute or bake it, but that requires the most care and time. It is probably one of the most advanced types of foods you will consider making as a vegan concerning the cooking skills required to make it.
This recipe was adapted from here. It came about from the need for a vegan ham I could make myself. Next Sunday I plan on using it in a recipe for brunch. This would work really well if you make another sweet glaze for it and use it as a roast or something. I didn’t try that (yet!) but it can essentially be used in multiple ways and serve many purposes. As always with seitan, if you can’t use it all within a week, wrap the pieces up in plastic wrap (and maybe a plastic bag too) and freeze until needed.
- 1 cup vital wheat gluten
- 1/4 cup soy flour
- 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- 1 tsp dried rosemary, crushed between fingers
1/2 cup hot water
- 3 tbsp vegan bac’un bits
- 1/2 block extra firm tofu crumbled into pieces
- 1/4 cup cold water
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tsp liquid smoke
- 1 1/2 tbsp tomato paste
- 1 tbsp agave
For the cooking broth:
1 cup vegetable broth
- 1 cup water
- 1 tsp marmite (a yeast extract that can be found in your grocery’s British international section if it has one)
- 1 1/2 tbsp agave nectar
- 1/2 tablespoon vegan poultry seasoning blend
- 1 tbsp toasted sesame oil
- 1 tbsp ketchup
- 2 tsp liquid smoke
- Place all the dry ingredients in a large bowl or your electric stand mixer with the dough hook attachment.
- In a blender, place the hot water, bac’un bits and whir the blender on a high setting until the bits have combined with the hot water as much as possible. Add the tofu, cold water, soy sauce, liquid smoke, tomato paste, and agave and blend.
- Add the wet ingredients into the bowl with the dry ingredients and run the mixer with the dough hook for about ten minutes. Alternately, you can knead it by hand for about 15 minutes, I’ve done it before, it takes a lot of elbow grease, but is possible. It is more difficult to knead than bread, makes your hands smell a bit funny, and can make quite a sticky mess on the surface you are kneading it on.
- Let the dough sit covered for an hour.
- In the meantime, prepare the cooking broth. Place the broth, water, marmite, and agave together in a saucepan.
- Heat over medium heat until the agave and marmite melt into the other liquids.
- Take off the heat and stir in the seasoning blend, sesame oil, ketchup, and liquid smoke. Set aside.
- After the hour of letting the dough sit is over, preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
- Knead the dough for another ten minutes. The dough should be smooth.
- Take the whole ball of dough and place into an oiled loaf pan. Press down with your hands. Pour the broth over the seitan.
- Cover the pan with foil and place in the oven.
- Immediately after placing in the oven, turn the temperature down to 200 degrees F.
- Bake for three hours.
- With a good spatula, loosen the loaf and flip the seitan so that side that was the bottom is now the top and facing up. Re-cover with the foil.
- Turn the heat back up to 325 degrees again and bake for another 30 minutes.
- After the 30 minutes, flip again, re-cover, and bake for 15 minutes.
- After the 15 minutes, flip for the last time and re-cover and bake for a final ten more minutes or until the broth has been fully absorbed into the seitan.
- Take out of the oven, let it cool slightly. Slice as desired and use in other recipes, such as my french toast, rosemary “ham” and cashew cheese sandwich coming next Sunday! I love freezing seitan wrapped in plastic wrap and in ziplock bags to save for later when my recipes call for it, as mentioned in the beginning of my post.