Did you know that it’s so easy to make homemade seitan? Give this high protein meat substitute a try—it’s so versatile!
This post was originally published in December 2014. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.
I think I’ve mentioned this before—Irving grew up in the Dominican Republic on a vegetarian college campus (his parents were professors). It’s a big part of the reason that he doesn’t mind that I’m vegan even though he’s not—he’s been eating vegetarian food for his whole life, and is totally happy to do so most of the time. He’s actually taught me a lot about vegetarianism/veganism, and keeps me stocked with movies like Forks Over Knives and Food Matters—he’s a victim of his own success. One of the vegan foods he introduced me to is Carne Veggie, or Seitan.
What is Seitan?
Seitan is sometimes called “wheat meat” and it is a faux meat made with the gluten of wheat flour. Because it is made from gluten, the protein in the wheat, it is a high protein meat substitute. Seitan originally hails from China where there was once a vegetarian emperor who wanted to eat meat-like foods, but not actual meat. Now seitan is a common grocery store item!
When I was first vegetarian (before I was vegan) and we were visiting Irving’s family, one of his family friends made a batch of seitan and insisted that I try her “carne veggie.” I had no idea what that was, and had never heard of seitan. I tried it and couldn’t tell if they were trying to trick me or not—I didn’t understand Spanish too well back then! They assured me that it was completely vegan! Irving has told me stories of the cafeteria ladies (on the college campus) going to the cafeteria at 4 am to get the seitan going so that it would be fresh for lunch each day! They would actually take wheat flour and mix with water to make a dough, and then wash the starch away, removing all but the gluten—I can not imagine how tedious this would be.
It’s easy to make homemade Seitan!
I like to start with a bag of vital wheat gluten. It’s readily available in grocery stores, and saves a lot of time. I use the dough hook of my stand mixer to make it even easier. You simple mix it into a stiff dough, then slice it into “cutlets,” and add it to a boiling veggie broth. I make a really large batch and freeze it for later use. This seitan comes together in about fifteen minutes of active time, and another hour or so of inactive time.
^^^ Dry mix
^^^ consistency of bubble gum…but not the taste!
^^^ ready to drop into the broth
^^^ simmering away!
Recipes that use Homemade Seitan
- Vegan Steak Salad with Seitan
- Seitan Marbella
- Teriyaki Tofu (try it with seitan!)
- Cranberry Beefless Stew and a Happy New Year!
Let’s make homemade seitan!
Are you ready to give this a try? You’re just an hour and a half away from homemade veggie meat! Leave me a note in the comments below and let me know how it goes!
- 1 ½ Tablespoons powdered garlic
- 1 Tablespoon adobo optional
- 1 ½ Tablespoons ground ginger
- 1 pound vital wheat gluten we use Bob’s Red Mill brand
- 2 cups veggie broth we use Rapunzel loose bouillon powder according to package directions
- 1/3 cup soy sauce
- 1 cup water
- 4 cups veggie broth again, we use Rapunzel loose bouillon powder
- 1/2 pound carrots, (about 4), cut into smaller pieces
- 1 large onion, cut into smaller chunks
- 3 stalks celery, cut into smaller pieces
- 1/2 bunch cilantro
- 2 ounces ginger (about 3 inches)
- 6 cups water
- 1 Tablespoon molasses
- Mix dry ingredients together. I like to use my stand mixer.
- Add wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, and began to mix with the dough hook. (Alternately, you can mix by hand).
- Let the mixer run for a minute or two, forming a spongy dough. If you taste a piece it will have the texture of garlic bubble gum (mmmm….). Don’t over knead, as it will get too tough and glutinous (oh the irony!). Set ball of dough aside.
- Put all broth ingredients into a LARGE stock pot. Our 6 quart is full to the brim with this jumbo batch. Alternately, divide evenly between two smaller pots.
- Cut the dough ball into 2 or 3 inch pieces, mimicking “cutlets” of some type. Remember that it will be very rubbery until it cooks, and it will also stick together. To prevent sticking, place pieces directly into the broth.
- Place pot on stove and boil for 45 minutes. It will reduce—don’t add more water.
- Remove from heat. Pick out pieces of seitan and place into sealable containers. (see notes) We freeze some of it right away to use at a later time. It freezes great, and thaws with no change in texture.
- We discard the broth and boiling veggies. You could save it and use it for something else, although we find that the flavor is pretty distinct! Taste it and see what you want to do with it. And if you come up with a great idea, let us know!