So, a bit of information for you first because I know that not everyone knows about this meat substitute. Vital Wheat Gluten (the core ingredient in seitan) has been used in Asian cultures for a long time. When combined with liquid, wheat gluten turns into a chewy and stringy meat substitute. It is a great alternative for tofu and other soy-based protein and is known for having a meaty texture.
Seitan contains about 31 grams of protein per 4 ounce serving (more protein that tofu!), has B vitamins and iron and contains no saturated fat or cholesterol. A serving has about 118 calories which is not too bad (about 40% less calories then a similar size of beef).
You can buy it pre-packaged at places like Planet Organic, or Asian markets. I really like it for when I want a 'meaty' dish. The only problem I have with the pre-packaged stuff is that it is really expensive and they never provide enough for a recipe.
So enough class time... how do you make it? Easy! I started out using the recipe from Vegan with a Vengeance, but I did not have any tomato paste which that version called for. I then googled for other recipes and found that you didn't need it. A number of recipes seemed very similar to the one in Veganomicon, so I think I will give credit where it is due.
- 1 cup of vital wheat gluten
- 3 Tbsp Nutritional Yeast
- 1/2 cup of cold water
- 1/4 cup of soy sauce
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 2 cloves of garlic, pressed or grated on a microplane grater
- 5 cups of veggie broth
- 3 cups of water
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
Now, in a large stock pot combine the veggie broth, water and soy sauce. Put the seitan in the pot and bring to a boil. Keep an eye on the pot and as soon as it boils, put the heat to lowest and partially cover it with a lid. Simmer for an hour, turning the seitan every once in a while. Once cooked, let it cool until you can handle it and cut into slices.
|Yes, this is what it should look like. |
Not everything can be photogenic!
This makes about a Pound of seitan, which is what most recipes call for.
|Seitan - looks so much fresher than the packaged stuff!|
At Planet Organic, seitan costs about $5.00, sometimes more. This recipe which makes about 2-3 packages worth of seitan probably cost me about $5.00... so it is a third of the price, for a better tasting product.
I will not be going back to the packaged stuff. I have been spoiled. It is like going to first class. Once you know what you are missing, you can't go back!
Vegan or not, give seitan a try... I dare you!