If you’ve ever had mock duck at a Chinese restaurant, you’ve had seitan. Seitan tends to be a little less popular than other plant-based proteins, and I’m not quite sure why. Its chewy texture and savory flavor make it a fantastic meat substitute in just about any recipe. Maybe its reputation isn’t helped by the fact that it’s literally a big ol’ slab of wheat gluten, but that shouldn’t worry you unless you have gluten intolerance or celiac disease.
Seitan is packed with protein—21 grams in a 1-ounce portion—and despite its wheat-y origins, it’s actually low in carbs too. If you can’t (or don’t want to) eat soy-based products, seitan is a good protein option.
You can make your own seitan at home, but you can also find it at most natural food stores, either on its own, flavored, or as the main ingredient in sausages, lunchmeat, and burgers in the form of vital wheat gluten, which is a powdered form of seitan.
I frequently use seitan as an ounce-for-ounce substitute for chicken in recipes. Seitan doesn’t have to be heated before eating, but I usually caramelize it in a frying pan with olive oil before adding it to a recipe. Like tofu, it can be sliced, broken into smaller pieces, or crumbled.
Crumbled seitan is great for making a meaty pasta sauce or adding a ground beef-like texture to a pot of chili. Slices and pieces work well in stir-fries, soups, and curries. One of my favorite ways to prepare seitan is to brown it in a skillet, stir in a few tablespoons of barbecue sauce, and serve it on buns with homemade slaw for a 5-minute BBQ sandwich.
Try Cooking with Seitan in These Recipes
Vegan Mongolian Beef from Connoisseurus Veg
Stuffed Vegan Seitan Roast in Puff Pastry from Purple Avocado
Loaded Vegan “Chicken” Noodle Soup from From My Bowl
Seitan Marsala with Smashed Potatoes and Broccoli from Wicked Healthy
Cheeseburger Pizza from Seitan Beats Your Meat
Seitan Portobello Beef Stew from Well Vegan
Vegan Seitan Carne Asada Tacos from The Curious Chickpea
High Protein Vegan Burgers from Full of Plants6