Tuesday, January 15, 2008


seitan is one of those fabulous and awesome "meat substitutes" out there. i don't even like to call it a meat substitute (or fake meat or any of that) because i think it's so fabulous that it doesn't need to pretend to be something it's not. it's seitan! and it's delicious!

it can be served as the protein of any meal, as it is high in protein, low in fat, and not so bad for carbs. (various sources say a 1/3 cup serving has roughly 150 calories, 23 g protein, 11 g carbohydrates, no cholesterol, and about 0.5 g fat. the recipe i use has nutritional yeast, which is loaded with b vitamins.)

so here's the recipe i've been using, modified from a few others i've found around the net and in my cookbooks.


2- 2 1/4 cups vital wheat gluten flour
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
2 tbsp all-purpose flour
1 cup vegetable broth (or water, usually i top off the measurement with water if i run out of broth that's usually in the fridge)
1/2 cup soy sauce
1 tbsp ketchup
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp grated lemon peel (dried)

about 1 tbsp vegetable bouillon powder (or equivalent cubes)


in a large mixing bowl, mix the first three (dry) ingredients together with a fork. in a smaller mixing bowl, mix the wet ingredients, garlic, and lemon peel. mix it up well (with the same fork even), and pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix until all the wet and dry ingredients are incorporated. this shouldn't take much work.

turn the mixture onto the counter and knead for about 5 minutes. you don't have to knead quite as violently as one might knead bread, but definitely give it a workout. you want to get all the gluten to do its gluteny job, and become stretchy and firm and have some "meat" to it. it should be kind of like mutant bread dough when you're through. roll the dough into a log (about 10-14" long or so). let it rest while you get the broth ready for cooking it:

in a large pot, fill it up with water, add the bouillon, and set on the stove. the colder the water is the better.

cut the seitan log into about 6 pieces. i like to use a very sharp knife because it results in more consistent pieces in the end, but using your hands is fine, too. drop into the pot and set the heat to high. when the water boils, turn the temperature to low, cover, and let sit for an hour. after an hour, turn the heat off and let the seitan cool in the liquid. you can technically use it for whatever you want after the hour is up, but it seems to firm up a little better if you let it sit and cool with the liquid.

store in its own liquid in the fridge for up to a week. i hear you can freeze it but i've never tried it.

if you can take the time to mince fresh garlic, and use tomato paste instead of ketchup, and freshly grated lemon zest, you're much more hardcore than i am, and it may or may not make a difference. i mean, fresh is always better, but we go through it so quickly at our house that i end up trying to whip up a batch late at night so we can eat it the next day.

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