Seitan, a.k.a. wheat meat is probably the best plant-based meat alternative that you can actually cook yourself in your own kitchen. The dish itself is thousands years old and was cooked for years in Asia, Middle East and even Russia (not so common) for many years. But does make it a great meat replacement for a plant-based diet?
Seitan is made of primarily 2 ingredients: wheat gluten and some kind of liquid (like water). Wheat gluten is THAT very gluten that we are asked to “work” when kneading bread or pasta dough. Gluten is the substance, made of proteins in wheat flour, you can say it is the main protein in wheat. It is thanks to gluten, that baked goods have structure and strength. When gluten absorbs the liquid and is being kneaded, it creates long and elastic strands, a lot like protein strands in meat products, like chicken and red meat.
Unlike many other vegan meat alternatives, Seitan is probably the only that you can COOK YOURSELF at home and that gives the same MEATY TEXTURE. What makes it taste like meat – is the flavouring that you add when cooking it, or the marinate that you expose it to after loaf is fully cooked. Therefore, the flavouring is totally up to you, but if you want to know what I use, you can check out the video below for a full step-by-step guide on how to cook Seitan loaf at home from scratch.
If you are not into videos, here is the written recipe, anyway:
Preparation time: 40 min
Cooking time: 1 hour
Per servings: 4 servings
Seitan loaf ingredients:
- 1 1/4 cups wheat gluten
- 3 tbsp nutritional yeast
- 1 1/2 tbsp almond flour
- 2 tsp smoked paprika
- 1/2 cup vegetable stock (*may need to add extra, if too dry)
- 1 1/2 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 1/2 tbsp tomato paste
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp tahini paste
Seitan poaching liquid ingredients:
- 1/3 cup soy sauce
- 2 tbsp miso paste
- 3 cups vegetable stock
Equipment & tools:
- 1 saucepan
- 1 stand mixer
- Measuring cups
- Measuring spoons
- Mix all the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Form a funnel and add all the liquid ingredients.
- Mix everything together either using a spatula or a stand mixer.
- Work the gluten / knead the loaf for about 5 minutes, so that the gluten strands are really developed.
- Form a loaf and let it rest for about 30 minutes in air-tight container.
- Mix all the ingredients for the poaching liquid in a large saucepan and bring the mixture to boil. Later reduce to simmer.
- Once the loaf has rested for 30 min, put it in a simmering liquid, close the lid and cook for 1 hour, turning to another side every 15 minutes.
- Let it cook down on a rack and ENJOY!
*It is important to understand, that Seitan is a highly processed dish, although having very LOW SUGAR and CALORIES levels.
**Despite, being almost pure protein, Seitan does not contain a complete set of proteins. It is very low in lysine amino acid, and, thus, it is a good idea to add foods rich in lysine to whatever you are going to enjoy Seitan with, like tomatoes, bell peppers and soy products.
For an easy silken tofu recipe, click HERE.
You can also see more of my video recipes HERE.