Friday, January 28, 2011

Basic Seitan Recipe

As a vegetarian family, seitan (pronouced say-tan) is a staple food for us. We eat it at least once a week. Seitan is a food made from the gluten of wheat and is sometimes called Wheat-meat.

It's an alternative to soy-based meat substitutes like tofu and tempeh. It is very versatile and can be used in many recipes as a substitute for chicken or beef. Seitan can be purchased pre-made from Heathfood and Natural food stores, but is very easy to make at home. i get a lot of inquires on how to make it, so i thought i would share my basic recipe/directions.

There are many ways to change this up, by adding seasoning or different types of broth to the powdered wheat gluten. This is the basic recipe i used most often.

What you need for basic seitan is a box of Hodgson Mill vital wheat gluten. i find this at Kroger next to the bread flour. You also need your choice of veggie broth. i like the Swanson vegetarian vegetable broth. It has a light oniony flavor, similar to a chicken broth. i prefer this over the tomato based broths, but you can use what ever you like.

Open your box of vital wheat gluten and dump it in a bowl. Add just under 1 cup of broth of choice.

i don't have an exact measurement for this. This is a 1 cup, and you can see it's probably 7/8 full. It doesn't have to be exact, but you'll notice if you add too much broth your seitan will be very soft, if you don't use enough it will be a bit tough and chewy. The more you make it, the more you'll be able to adjust the broth to your desired texture.

Add broth and mix. After you stir it for a min. or two the texture will be similar to play-dough. If the seitan is really sticky, and alot of it is stuck to the side of the bowl...add about TBSP of broth and keep mixing. When properly mixed, the seitan will stick to itself, but not the bowl. Now knead it by hand for just a few minutes. It should be soft and elasticy. Form it into a log, and let it rest a few minutes.

While the seitan is resting. You'll want to heat up the leftover broth in a large pot. Using a sharp knife, slice off chunks of the seitan. i like to make them about 1/2-3/4" thick. They will grow in size once cooked, so i tend to cut them this size and then after they have cooked i slice them into strips or shred them or dice them.

Start adding your sliced seitan to the broth, You want enough broth to fully cover all of your seitan and you may need to add a bit of water if you don't have enough broth. Cover the pot and bring to a simmer. Allow the seitan to cook for around 1 hour. Now some folks prefer to let the seitan simmer and never bring it to an actual boil.

i like to let it boil and 'puff'. Each method will create a different texture, so you can experiment with it and decide which method you prefer. If the setian has absorbed all the liquid you can add a bit more water or broth. Once it is done, remove from heat and let it cool.
You now have a basic seitan and it is ready to use in your recipes.
Some ways that we use it are in 'mock' chicken pot pies or casseroles, shredded BBQ's on buns, diced in soups, or cut in strips for stir fries etc.

This is a family favorite, cornflake crusted seitan over udon noodles and saute'd vegetables.

Seitan nuggets, breaded and baked. The kids love these dipped in catsup or bbq sauce.

Once you've mastered making basic seitan, you can get really creative with it. This is a stuffed Seitan roast we had for Thanksgiving a few years ago. It was absolutely delicious!

By changing the type of broth and seasoning used you can create different flavors, and by altering the amount of liquid or cooking style you can really change the texture. Seitan is high in protein and (depending on the type of broth you use) can contains no saturated fat or cholesterol.

i'm going to try and post more recipes this year, including these that are pictured in this post. i'm thinking about trying to create/post a weekly meal plan, but i am not the most organized there is no guarantee. :) i'm usually rather spontanious with creating meals...and don't like to plan ahead.

If you have questions about the post, let me know in the comments and i'll do my best to get back with you. It's really easy to make, and like making bread...the more you make it the easier it becomes. Enjoy!


  1. Thanks! We'll be trying this next week!

  2. Wow! That is super easy!! Can't wait to give it a try. Thanks!

  3. I'm so excited about this post. I've only ever tried already prepared seitan.
    This is going to be great.

  4. Wow, fabulous pics! The thanksgiving one is amazing!

    Your recipe looks easier than the way I made gluten. I was taught to take whole wheat flour and prepare it with water, washing off the starch as it got sticky. Gluten ready already seems so much nicer for a time saver!

    I never got fancy like you've done in these pics. So awesome! I would just make burgers with it, grind it up and add some egg n' dried garlic n' onion to it.

  5. This looks amazing! I've seen this on several sites and have wanted to try it, but had no idea what to do with it. Thanks for the great tut!! I'm excited to add this to our diet!

  6. Wow that roast looks awesome, this method looks really easy, I like that you only use veggie broth and not a dozen other things you have to keep stocked.

  7. Hi there! Glad to find a truly basic seitan recipe online ;). I'm just wondering how much seitan you're using? Where I live, there's no wheat gluten in boxes. I buy it in bulk at a wholesale shop for bakers. I've made it before but forget how much gluten to how much liquid (eg broth) to use... :)

    1. Hi! The box i use says 6 1/2 oz. (184.3g). i use just a hair under 1 cup broth. So probably 7-7.5 oz liquid. i hope that helps!