If you’re plant-based, vegan, or vegetarian, and you’re not gluten sensitive, then seitan is your best friend. If you fit all these criteria and you’ve yet to discover seitan, then I’m about to change your life. For real. Seitan is a meat alternative packed with plant protein. It has an awesome chewy texture with an insane bite (i.e. not soft and squishy like tofu). It has integrity. You can make it whatever flavour you want. You can grill it, stew it, bake it, fry it, marinate it, eat it as is, whatever you want! Seitan is the single most versatile protein source in your kitchen. Are you sold yet? Let’s cook up some seitan!
Vital wheat gluten, also known as gluten flour, is the main ingredient in any seitan recipe. Gluten gets a bad rap because many people are sensitive to it, but many more people feel no effects whatsoever from gluten. It’s a naturally occurring protein found mainly in wheat. It’s what gives baked goods a chewy texture. Vital wheat gluten is just regular flour with everything washed away until only the gluten remains. When the gluten flour is made into a dough, it becomes very tough and elastic, almost like bubble gum. If you try to eat the raw dough, you will be chewing for the rest of your life (I learned this the hard way), but when boiled or steamed, the dough becomes nice and firm and hardy, ready to soak up flavours. I get my vital wheat gluten at my local bulk store, but you can also purchase Bob’s Red Mill gluten flour on Amazon.
The first step in making this dough is to build your base flavour. Since I wanted this seitan to be used as a chicken replacement, I used umami-rich ingredients and mild spices so as not to create an overwhelming flavour. We use vegetable broth, soy sauce, nutritional yeast, and tahini as the base. Then we mix in the gluten flour and knead with our hands, stretching and pulling to get the gluten more elasticy. It’s essentially impossible to overwork this dough, so don’t be afraid to really get in there while you’re kneading. We then divide the dough and boil it in vegetable broth for about 40 minutes. What you’re left with is a nice juicy ball of dough that kind of looks like a brain. You can shave it thinly, cut it in to chunks, strips, whatever your heart desires.
What you choose to do with this chicken-style seitan is entirely up to you, but I suggest you use it to make Indian Butter Seitan or Greek Souvlaki Wraps. You might also want to try it in place of tofu in something like a Thai Green Curry. Whatever you do, I promise you will fall in love with this super easy to make seitan. I really hope you’ll give this recipe a try! Drop me a line in the comments to let me know what you think, and don’t forget to leave a rating! You can also tag your creations on Instagram with #whoneedssalad. Happy cooking!
- 11 cups vegetable broth
- ¼ cup soy sauce
- ¼ cup nutritional yeast
- 2 tbsp white vinegar
- 2 tbsp refined coconut oil, melted
- 2 tbsp tahini
- 1 tsp onion powder
- ½ tsp garlic powder
- ½ tsp dried sage
- ½ tsp salt
- 1¾ cup vital wheat gluten (aka gluten flour)
- Pour 10 cups of vegetable broth into a large stock pot and start bringing to a boil. In the meantime, place the remaining 1 cup of vegetable broth, soy sauce, nutritional yeast, vinegar, coconut oil, tahini, onion powder, garlic powder, sage, and salt in a large bowl and mix with a wooden spoon until combined.
- Add the vital wheat gluten and mix until a dough forms. Use your hands to continue to incorporate the dough, kneading for about 5 minutes.
- Divide the dough into 4 mini-logs and place into the boiling vegetable broth. Reduce the heat to a low simmer and cook the seitan dough for 40-45 minutes. Dough should be pliable yet firm when poked.
- Let the seitan cool in the broth for 10 minutes, then remove and slice into desired size, e.g. chunks for skewers, strips for stir-frys, shaved for sandwiches. Return the seitan to the broth and store In an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.