Better-than-Beef Meatless Meat

Seitan or Wheat-Meat (made from wheat gluten flour) is one of the best meat substitutes for flavor absorption as well as texture. High in protein and low in fat, seitan (when properly prepared) will win over the meat-oholics in your life, from kids to grown-ups.

Once cooked, seitan can be used fresh or frozen until needed. When it’s defrosted, you can simply slice it into strips and serve with different sauces or grind it in a food processor for tacos, lasagna, chili, or any other recipe where one would usually use ground beef.

Wheat gluten is the natural protein portion of wheat that is extracted when wheat is milled into flour. In its processed form, wheat gluten is a fine, tan-colored flour consisting of about 75-80 percent protein. You may be familiar with it as an additive to home-made bread, because the extra gluten helps the bread to stick together and therefore rise better without collapsing.

As many people know, gluten can cause allergic reactions or sensitivities in some people, which means that seitan is not a food to serve to your friends with wheat allergies! But for those who don’t react badly to gluten, seitan is a good source of protein and can be a big help for those transitioning to veganism.

Because of its amazing ability to imitate meat, seitan is a great food to serve at educational events or meals with non-vegan friends and family. When you add it to sauteed veggies and season it up with your favorite flavors or sauces, it is bound to surprise people who are not expecting the meal to contain any meat.

To make an easy, delicious dish for vegan educational events or pot-lucks, you can simply sauté up some onions and garlic with thinly sliced cabbage or dark garden greens. Mix this together with some sliced seitan that has been marinating in a pre-made vegan barbecue sauce, and then bake it in a casserole dish for 30-40 minutes. We served this recently at a vegan booth at a local fair, and people went wild over it. One diner commented that it was the best food she had ever eaten. You can’t get much better than that!

(For more ‘vegan food event’ ideas, please check out the recipes for Cashew-Carrot Paté and Tofu Eggless Salad, both of which are simple, easy recipes that are always a big hit and go well served in wraps or on crackers for a food sampling event.)

See below for a basic recipe to make your own seitan, then make sure to view the following pages for a variety of preparation ideas.

Seitan (basic recipe)
yields five 3″ x 3″ pieces

18-20 cups water (for boiling)
1/2 tsp. sea salt
4 1/2 cups gluten flour
1/2 cup nutritional yeast (optional)
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. dried basil
1 tsp. sea salt
1 Tbsp. herb salt (such as Herbamare)
1 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. oregano (optional)
3 1/2 cups water
1/4 cup molasses
1/4 cup tamari or substitute

1.  In a large pot, add sea salt to the water and bring to a boil.
2.  In a medium-sized bowl, combine the dry ingredients (flour, yeast & spices). Stir well.
3.  In a separate bowl or measuring cup, mix together the remaining liquids.
4.  Add liquid to the dry and mix thoroughly until dough is consistent (solid and firm, yet not dry).
5.  Pour onto tray and knead dough until all air is removed. Form a rectangular loaf on the tray and cut into even pieces (approximately 3″ x 3″).
6.  Place the cut dough into boiling water. Boil for 45-50 minutes.
7.  Remove a piece and cut it to see if it is done. (It should be firm all the way through).
8.  Take out and cool on a tray. If not for immediate use, leave in large pieces and freeze. Keeps well in the freezer. When removing from freezer, defrost then prepare as directed in recipe.

Seitan Peppersteak
yields 1 large skillet

4-5 cups seitan slices (see step 1)
2-3 Tbsp. oil, 2-3 cloves garlic and a dash of tamari
nutritional yeast, tamari, seasonings, to taste

Peppersteak Sauce (yields 4 cups)
4-5 cloves garlic, diced
2 onions, sliced like half moons
2 bell peppers, thinly sliced (1 red)
8 mushrooms, sliced
3 cups water
3 Tbsp. liquid vegetable bouillon
1 1/2 Tbsp. dried basil
1 tsp. black pepper
1 1/2 Tbsp. arrowroot powder
1 tsp. herb salt (such as Herbamare)
1 cup tomato paste, or thick tomato sauce
1/2 Tbsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. onion powder
2 Tbsp. nutritional yeast
3 Tbsp. sorghum or molasses
1 1/2 Tbsp. tamari

1. Slice seitan into wide, quarter-inch thick slices then cut each in half.
2. In a blender, blend garlic with oil and tamari. Pour this oil into a cast-iron skillet and sauté the seitan pieces in it. Add nutritional yeast, tamari and seasonings, to taste. (To use less oil, skip this step, and go straight to step three.)
3. In a saucepan, using a dash of oil (or water), sauté the garlic, then the onions, peppers and mushrooms (in that order). Cover and allow to soften.
4. In a blender, blend the Peppersteak Sauce ingredients. Pour this blended sauce over the vegetables. Simmer over a low flame for 20-25 minutes, stirring often until sauce thickens. Do not boil.
5. Add most of the sauce to the seitan in the skillet and stir. Bake for 30-40 minutes at 275°. Add remaining sauce, warm and serve.

Seitan Barbecue
serves 4-5

4-5 cups seitan, sliced
2-3 Tbsp. oil
2-3 Tbsp. tamari or substitute
2-3 Tbsp. nutritional yeast (optional)

2 cups water
1/4 cup sorghum
2/3 cup tomato paste
2 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
1/4 Tbsp. garlic powder
1/2 Tbsp. onion powder
1 Tbsp. vegan hickory smoke flavor
1 Tbsp. molasses
1/2 Tbsp. tamari or substitute
1 Tbsp. arrowroot powder
2 Tbsp. liquid vegetable bouillon

1. Pan-fry the sliced seitan in the oil and season with tamari. Add yeast and brown on both sides. Shut off flame.
2. In a blender, blend the Sauce ingredients and pour into a saucepan. Simmer and stir for about 25 minutes, never bringing sauce to a boil.
3. For a quick and easy barbecue, simply add some of the sauce to the seitan and pan fry. A second option is to add the sauce to the seitan slices and bake in the oven, allowing the seitan to absorb the flavors.

Not Roast Beef
serves 4-5

4-5 cups seitan, sliced in strips
2 Tbsp. oil
2 Tbsp. tamari or substitute
3 Tbsp. nutritional yeast

2 1/2 cups water
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1/2 cup tomato paste
1 1/2 Tbsp. tamari
1/8 cup miso (preferably blonde)
2 Tbsp. molasses
1/4 tsp. turmeric
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1/2 Tbsp. parsley (fresh or dried)
1 Tbsp. onion powder
1/2 Tbsp. garlic powder

1. Grill or pan-fry the seitan slices in the oil and season with tamari and yeast. Brown on both sides. (If desired, grill some sliced onions and mix in.)
2. In a blender, blend the Sauce ingredients. Pour into a saucepan and simmer for 25 minutes. Stir frequently, never bringing sauce to a rapid boil.
3. Pour sauce over the seitan and pan fry once again or bake in the oven. (Baking in the oven or letting it sit in the refrigerator with the sauce will allow the seitan to absorb the sauce and its flavors.)

Sweet and Sour Seitan
yields 1 large skillet

2 Tbsp. tamari
2 Tbsp. oil
4 cloves garlic
1 tsp. fresh ginger, minced
8 cups seitan, cut in thin strips
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/3 cup sorghum
1 1/2 cups water
2 Tbsp. liquid vegetable bouillon
1/4 cup tomato paste
2 Tbsp. sweetener
1 Tbsp. oil
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. onion powder
1 tsp. ginger powder
1 Tbsp. arrowroot powder

1. In a blender, blend tamari, oil, garlic and fresh ginger until smooth. Pour into a large skillet and add seitan. Pan-fry the seitan, stirring frequently.
2. In a blender, blend remaining ingredients and pour into a small saucepan. Stir and simmer until it thickens. Mix into the seitan in the skillet.
3. Bake in a pre-heated oven at 350° for 30 minutes. Allow to cool and marinate.

Seitan Macaroni and “Cheese” Casserole
yields an 8″ x 12″ casserole

1 lb. macaroni noodles
1 cup water
3/4 cup tofu, rinsed & drained
a squeeze of lemon juice
1/4 cup oil
1 Tbsp. tamari
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
garlic & onion powder, to taste
1 Tbsp. tahini
6 Tbsp. nutritional yeast
1 Tbsp. oil
3 cups seitan, cut into bite-sized pieces
garlic & onion powder
1 Tbsp. nutritional yeast

1/2 cup water
1/3 cup tofu, rinsed, drained & mashed
1 Tbsp. cashew butter or tahini
2 Tbsp. oil
1/2 tsp. sea salt

1. In boiling water, cook pasta according to directions on package.
2. In a blender, blend the water, mashed tofu and remaining ingredients in first column.
3. When noodles are cooked, drain and set aside in an oiled casserole dish.
4. In an oiled skillet, pan fry the seitan chunks with garlic/onion powder & yeast.
5. Add the seitan chunks to the pasta in the casserole and pour the blended mixture over. Mix. Bake in a pre-heated oven at 350° for 20 minutes, stirring periodically.
6. In a blender, blend the Topping ingredients. Pour over the casserole and bake for 20-30 more minutes.


Discover more incredibly delicious vegan recipes in the Gentle World cookbooks

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© Gentle World 2024. Gentle World is a non-profit, 501(c)(3) educational organization, helping to build a more peaceful society by educating the public about the reasons for being vegan, the benefits of vegan living, and how to go about making the transition. EIN: 59-1999433