All hail seitan! It’s a beautiful thing.
What is it and Where Does it Come From?
In simple terms, seitan or “wheat meat”, is the pure gluten & protein found in wheat.
Originating in China, Buddhist monks have been using seitan as a meat substitute for hundreds of years, dating all the way back to the 6th century!
Originally, it was made by mixing flour and water to form a dough. Then by washing the starches out, just leaving the pure gluten protein strands. Here’s a video that demonstrates the process.
Nowadays, it’s a lot easier to make your own seitan. You can buy vital wheat gluten already isolated as a powder.
Bob’s Red Mill sells vital wheat gluten, and I also find it in bulk at Winco.
How is it made?
Making homemade seitan can be a little tricky at first. There were a few trials and errors. It is generally made by using 1 part vital wheat gluten to 1 part liquid, like veggie broth, plus other spices. It really depends on what you’re trying to make.
What does it taste like?
Seitan has a general meatiness to it. It doesn’t taste specifically like any one meat. It’s mostly texture, which is why it makes such a versatile meat substitute! Depending on how you cook it, what liquids and spices you put in your seitan, what you marinade it in, etc, it can taste like any meat you want.
Is it healthy?
Despite being a product of wheat, vital wheat gluten on its own is surprisingly low in carbs, & calories, and is very high in protein. One serving of seitan, (three ounces) contains about 21 grams of protein- the same as chicken or beef!
I only have a few seitan recipes on the blog so far, and I’m always working on more.
I use this as the base recipe for all of the “chicken” seitan I make, pictures below.
Seitan Steak or burgers: https://autumnsvegankitchen.com/2019/10/12/seitan-steaks/
Seitan TVP burgers: https://autumnsvegankitchen.com/2019/03/27/tvp-burgers/
Seitan TVP meatballs: https://autumnsvegankitchen.com/2019/02/09/vegan-tvp-meatballs/
This is a seitan burger I got at The Space, an all vegan restaurant in Salem, Oregon.
Seitan orange chicken, rice, & veggies. Pictures of before it was cooked below.
Chicken nuggets before being steamed, breaded and baked:
After breading & baking.
First attempt at seitan sausages. It worked well as pepperoni for pizza.
And yes, I know it looks like 💩.
Teriyaki chicken seitan. I let the seitan marinade in teriyaki sauce overnight.
Seitan Chicken Sammy.
Side note: Miyoko’s brand of cheese is so amazing. It’s a cultured cashew “cheese” similar to how actual cheese is cultured. It’s the most accurate tasting vegan cheese I’ve had, I can’t talk it up enough!
I actually have a recipe for this one!
You can do so much with Seitan Turkey.
Spaghetti and seitan meatballs. Pasta is already vegan 🌱
Sources for the seitan facts: