SEITAN demystified

seitan recipesI really love SEITAN!!  For those of you who are not familiar with it, let me get you up to speed.  Seitan is a plant-based meat alternative made from wheat gluten.  The beauty of seitan is that it is really easy to make at home and freezes well too!  And who wouldn’t love a protein source that offers 20 grams of protein for each 3 ounce serving and yet only 1.5 grams of heart-healthy monounsaturated fat?  Seitan is also very versatile.  It can be baked, grilled, sauteed, fried, or prepared just about any way that you would prepare meat.  So who needs that nasty meat anyway?  If you have not tried to make seitan yourself, please go for it.  You will be glad you did.  If you are not into cooking, you can purchase seitan at health food stores and specialty markets like Whole Foods.  When I am in a rush, I will use the West Soy brand, but the pieces are small and imho are best suited for a quick stir fry.  Not that there is anything at all wrong with that!  That is delicious!  However, in many of my recipes, the seitan is much better when it is the size of what a cutlet of meat would be.  By making my own seitan, I can make it any size I want.  

Making seitan makes me happy!  There is no fat to trim or blood to rinse off or e coli or salmonella to wipe off from my countertop!  No hormones or antibiotics in it at all.  And when I have the finished seitan cutlets on a plate I think about how easy it was to make a cruelty-free protein source that is so much healthier than meat and then I compare that to the entire wretched process of how a piece of steak or breast of chicken gets on a styrofoam tray at a supermarket chain and what that entails.  The difference is astonishing.  One is so good, healthy, compassionate and the other just so horribly bad – bad for your health, bad for the environment, bad for the animals.

This recipe is adapted from Isa Chandra Moskowitz’s Vegan with a Vengeance.  All Isa’s cookbooks are incredible!!  The actual work time is minimal, maybe 20 minutes tops, but it does take a lot of time on the stove, so plan accordingly.  That is why I usually make my seitan over the weekend.  The recipe will yield enough seitan for 2 family meals or 4 meals for one or two people.  I actually double the recipe and thereby get enough seitan to make 4 meals for my family, and I freeze at least half of it which is great!  Then, I just defrost it in the fridge the night before I want to use it and it is ready to go!


Ingredients for Seitan

Ingredients for Seitan

  • 2 c vital wheat gluten – you can get this pre-packaged from Arrowhead Mills for example (they carry this at my local Shoprite) or you can get it in bulk from health food stores and specialty markets like Whole Foods.
  • 2 T flour
  • 1/4 c nutritional yeast
  • 1 c vegetable broth
  • 1/2 c soy sauce
  • 1 t ketchup
  • 1 T olive oil
  • 2 T chickpea flour

for the broth –

  • 9 c water
  • 3 c vegetable broth
  • 1/2 c soy sauce
  • 1/2 t garlic powder
  • 1/2 t onion powder

In a large bowl, combine the 3 first ingredients. 

Dry Ingredients

In another bowl, combine the next 4 ingredients. 

Wet Ingredients

Pour the wet into the dry and mix with your hands and knead until it is all incorporated.  


Knead in the chickpea flour.  


Let dough rest for 5 minutes. 


Meanwhile, mix the broth ingredients in a large pot, but do not heat yet. 


Roll the dough into a 10” log


Cut into 6 pieces.


Place the pieces into the cold broth.  Partially cover and turn the heat to high.  Bring to boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer, partially covered, for 90 minutes. 


Remove from heat and let cool in pan for another hour if you have the time.  At this point, you can use the seitan, store in the broth in the fridge for up to 5 days, or freeze for later.  I usually cut each of the 6 pieces into 3 cutlet size pieces, so I wind up with 18 cutlets from this recipe.  If you are using it later, don’t slice it into individual pieces until you are ready to use it.

Slicing the Seitan

3 thoughts on “SEITAN demystified

  1. Pingback: Grilled Seitan with Tangy Asian Sauce |

  2. This is a great recipe for seitan. Made the grilled seitan with the Asian sauce. Cut back on the garlic. It was delicious. Can’t wait to try some of your other recipes. Thanks for sharing.

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