This homemade seitan recipe delivers a savory and meat-like protein that’s entirely plant-based. With its easy preparation, even those new to vegan cooking can enjoy the ease and deliciousness of making seitan at home!
I love experimenting with vegan proteins. If you haven’t checked out my pan-fried orange tofu or my tofu scramble, they’re definitely worth your time, but when it comes to mimicking the flavors of earthy, savory proteins like beef, this is the recipe for you.
Why you’ll love this recipe
- Plant-based protein powerhouse. Seitan offers a protein-packed alternative to meat, providing a substantial amount of protein per serving.
- Versatile meat substitute. With its chicken-like texture and ability to absorb flavors, this can be used in a variety of dishes, from stir-fries and tacos to sandwiches and stews.
- Customizable and flavorful: I’m always experimenting with different seasonings and marinades. This recipe allows you to create a wide range of flavors and adapt it to suit a range of meals.
- Vital wheat gluten. Made from starch from wheat flour, this is the main ingredient in seitan. It provides the protein-rich base necessary for its meat-like texture and structure.
- Nutritional yeast. Adds a savory and slightly tangy flavor.
- Vegetable broth. Vegetable broth acts as a liquid component in the mixture, providing moisture.
- Tamari or soy sauce. Contributes a salty and umami flavor to the seitan, boosting its overall taste.
- Spices and seasonings. Spices like garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, and other seasonings are used to enhance savory flavors.
- Liquid smoke (optional). I like to add liquid smoke for a smoky flavor, mimicking the taste of traditional smoked meats.
- Olive oil (optional). Olive oil can be used to add moisture and richness, but it can be omitted or replaced with a different oil if desired.
How to make seitan
Step 1 – Combine the dry ingredients. In a mixing bowl, combine the vital wheat gluten, nutritional yeast, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, salt, and pepper. Stir until well combined.
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Step 2 – Combine the wet ingredients. In a separate bowl, whisk together the vegetable broth, tamari or soy sauce, olive oil (if using), and liquid smoke (if using).
Step 3 – Form the dough. Pour the wet mixture into the dry ingredients and stir to form a dough. Once the dough comes together, knead it for a few minutes to develop the gluten strands. Shape the dough into a log or desired shape, making sure it’s compact and even in thickness. You can wrap it in foil or cheesecloth if preferred.
Step 4 – Boil the seitan. In a large pot, bring water or vegetable broth to a boil. Add the seitan to the boiling liquid, reduce the heat to a simmer, and cover with a lid. Let the seitan simmer for about 1 hour, flipping it halfway through the cooking time. This helps the seitan cook evenly and absorb the flavors.
Step 5 – Cool the seitan. After an hour, remove the seitan from the pot and let it cool. Once cooled, it’s ready to be cut into slices, cubes, roasted, seared, or used in your favorite recipes!
Tips to make the best recipe
- Knead the dough well. Take the time to knead the seitan dough thoroughly to develop the gluten strands. This will help create a chewy and meat-like texture in the final product. Aim for at least 5-10 minutes of kneading.
- Let the dough rest. After kneading, allow the dough to rest for about 10-15 minutes. This resting period helps the gluten relax, resulting in a more tender and less rubbery texture.
- Simmer gently. When cooking the seitan in the liquid, maintain a gentle simmer rather than a rapid boil. This ensures even cooking and prevents the seitan from becoming too tough.
- Flavor the cooking liquid. Enhance the taste of the seitan by adding flavorings to the cooking liquid. You can include ingredients like herbs, spices, additional tamari or soy sauce, and even a splash of vinegar. This allows the seitan to absorb additional richness while simmering.
Can I cook seitan in an instant pot?
Yes! Follow these simple steps:
- Place your dough into the Instant Pot, partially submerged in seasoned vegetable broth.
- Seal the lid on the pot and set it to “manual” or “pressure cook” and cook for 10-15 minutes.
- Use quick release venting option.
To store: Place any leftovers in an airtight container or wrap tightly in plastic wrap and place it in the fridge. Properly stored, seitan can last for up to 5 to 7 days.
To freeze: Wrap tightly in plastic wrap or place it in a freezer-safe container or resealable bag. This can be frozen for up to 2 to 3 months.
- Pot or large saucepan. You’ll need a pot or a large saucepan.
- Slotted spoon or tongs. A slotted spoon or tongs will come in handy for removing the seitan from the cooking liquid.
Frequently asked questions
No, it is not gluten-free. It is primarily made from vital wheat gluten and so it’s not suitable for anyone who is gluten sensitive, has a gluten intolerance, or who has celiac disease.
Vital wheat gluten is the key ingredient that gives seitan its unique texture. While there are gluten-free meat alternatives available, such as tofu or tempeh, replicating the exact texture without gluten can be challenging.
Yes, seitan can be frozen for later use. When ready to use, thaw it in the refrigerator overnight and use as desired.
Both can be part of a healthy diet, but their suitability depends on individual dietary goals. If you’re chasing a higher protein alternative this is great!
- 1 cup vital wheat gluten
- 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 3/4 cup vegetable broth
- 2 tablespoons tamari or soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon olive oil optional
- 1 teaspoon liquid smoke optional
- In a mixing bowl, combine the vital wheat gluten, nutritional yeast, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, salt, and pepper. Stir until well combined.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the vegetable broth, tamari or soy sauce, olive oil (if using), and liquid smoke (if using).
- Pour the wet mixture into the dry ingredients and stir to form a dough. Once the dough comes together, knead it for a few minutes to develop the gluten strands. Shape the dough into a log or desired shape, making sure it's compact and even in thickness. You can wrap the seitan in foil or cheesecloth if preferred.
- In a large pot, bring water or vegetable broth to a boil. Add the dough to the boiling liquid, reduce the heat to a simmer, and cover with a lid. Let the seitan simmer for about 1 hour, flipping it halfway through the cooking time. This helps the seitan cook evenly and absorb the flavors.
- After an hour, remove from the pot and let it cool. Once cooled, it's ready to be sliced, diced, roasted, seared, or used in your favorite recipes!