How To Make Seitan or Vegan “Wheat Meat”

by on February 28, 2013


Seitan or “wheat meat” is made from wheat gluten, the protein that makes wheat flour stick together and makes bread spongey. Seitan is often used to make mock meats and is frequently used in vegetarian Chinese cuisine. It’s also used in Tofurkey products along with tofu to help it stick together.

I was a little apprehensive about making my own seiten as I had never made it before, but it turns out to be VERY easy. To make seitan quickly it is faster to just buy vital wheat gluten “flour” (which is essentially just wheat protein with all of the starch removed). You can still make seitan using regular flour, but you have to soak it overnight and wash away all the starch and you don’t end up with as much gluten left compared to the flour you started with.

And just a note if you have celiac disease or gluten intolerance, please don’t make this recipe! I don’t have any problem consuming wheat or gluten containing products, so I use them occasionally as part of a low fat plant based diet.

Let’s get started.

How To Make Seitan From Vital Wheat Gluten

Makes 4-6 seitan cutlets

Ingredients:

1 cup vital wheat gluten (I used Bob’s Red Mill)
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp ginger powder
3/4 cup vegetable broth (low sodium) or water
1-2 tbsp light soy sauce or tamari
6 cups vegetable broth (for cooking)

Directions:

1. In a medium to large sized bowl, combine vital wheat gluten and dry spices.

2. In another bowl, mix the soy sauce and 3/4 cup of vegetable broth or water.

3. Combine the wet ingredients with the dry ingredients and stir together. It should become very sticky. Use your hands to form it into a ball.

4. Knead the seitan a dozen times to ensure it’s spongey and allow it to rest for 5 minutes.

5. Separate the ball of seitan into four or five smaller chunks. Stretch each piece of seitan into a thin cutlet as best you can to around 3/4″.

 6. Add seitan to 6 cups of vegetable broth in a large pot and bring to a low boil and then reduce to a simmer for 1 hour. Depending what you are using the seitan for you can add additional seasonings or vegetables for flavor as well.  Make sure you have enough liquid to cover the seitan. It will expand a lot while cooking and puff up.

7. Drain seitan and chop up to use in a recipe, or dry it off and store in a ziplock bag or a tupperware container in the freezer. You can double the recipe and make two batches to make this more cost effective if using vegetable broth.

Check out my Seitan Makhani (“Unbuttered Chicken”) recipe here.

What do you think? How did you seitan turn out?

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Elena December 8, 2016 at 8:32 PM

First time I made it, bought the pure gluten powder bulk from some health store, and although the “cakes” were a tad bitter, I think I’ll manage to make them smaller and marinade before cooking whatever recipes. The texture is great – this first time I used it with a stir-fry Asian vegs, shitake mushrooms plus noodles – turned out very nice. I think next time I’ll make goulash stew – cook the cabbage and other vegs first and then add the seitan. What a nice feeling no animal was killed for tonight’s delicious meal!

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2 Rosie October 27, 2014 at 7:33 PM

I have been making ‘gluten steaks’ for years. Use different flavoured for different recipes. I like 1/2 tsp mixed herbs, 1/2 tsp curry powder , 1 Tbsp mushroom soy sauce in my gluten mixture for chicken like recipes. I use 1 cup gluten flour to 1 cup water. For a different texture, mix really fast and then stop. Don’t knead it at all, rest for 15 min, and then cut into chunks ( about 1 1/2 inch square) and drop into boiling broth. For a great flavour let them sit in the broth overnight in the fridge.

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3 Aman October 24, 2014 at 6:52 AM

Thanks for this recipe. I plan to use it – I just bought vital wheat gluten. My question is, is the vegetable broth you cook it in, primarily for flavoring? I would rather cook it in water and then season it when using it. Is that possible, or is the broth doing something other than seasoning? (I am very new to cooking things from scratch and everything is a learning process, so I appreciate your help!)

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4 ellen brockett July 26, 2013 at 5:38 PM

tried making the seitan this am, fun!!! Didn’t care for the seasonings much, or it could be my homemade veg broth ( its always different) but did like the texture. Made a great sandwich. thanks

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5 Low Fat Vegan Chef Veronica August 14, 2013 at 12:39 PM

It could be. If it’s too bitter like if you added peels to your broth or green sulphurous vegetables it makes the broth bitter and taste bad. I only use peeled fresh ingredients in my broth and it’s really delicious. Here’s my recipe http://lowfatveganchef.com/how-to-make-homemade-vegan-vegetable-stock-easily-on-the-stove-or-in-a-pressure-cooker/

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6 Paula March 11, 2013 at 3:22 PM

I love wheat flour have been using it for years. Instead of boiling it try making schnitzels & fry it or make into sausages and steam for 40 min yummo.

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