Everything you need to know about how to make seitan, a delicious vegan meat-alternative perfect for your plant-based cooking!
You can totally purchase pre-made seitan in the grocery store, but did you know that you can also make it from scratch right at home? Fancy tools aren’t required, just a few key ingredients and the will to make some dough.
The whole process is pretty simple, requiring only 15 minutes of prep time and then one hour of simmering time. Making it from scratch means that you can cut it for whatever recipe you’re making, and will probably have part of a “loaf” leftover for something else!
So today, we’re covering everything you need to know about how to make seitan, from the ingredients and seasonings to the kneading, simmering, and slicing. Let’s get into it!
Ingredients in seitan
Seitan is made from scratch by forming a dough and then letting it simmer in a broth and vinegar combo. In total, only 10 ingredients are needed.
The dough is what will become the finished seitan! Wheat gluten plays the star role here, with the strong gluten strands creating the unique meat-like texture.
- Vital Wheat Gluten: First up for the dough, we’ll use 1 cup of vital wheat gluten. Seitan is made directly from gluten, so this ingredient is a must.
- Water: 1 cup of water is added to help form the dough.
- Chickpea Flour: To thicken it up, we’ll include ¼ cup of chickpea flour.
- Nutritional Yeast: Add ¼ cup of nutritional yeast, which will bring a savory flavor to help replicate the flavor of meat.
- Spices: Finally, include 1 tsp each of salt, garlic powder, and smoked paprika powder.
By boiling the seitan in a flavorful broth, we’ll back in even more flavor.
- Vegetable Broth: As for the broth, we’ll start with 6 cups of vegetable broth. Feel free to use low sodium broth here!
- Apple Cider Vinegar: We will then add 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar, which will add a very subtle bite.
- Liquid Smoke: Finally, include 1 teaspoon of liquid smoke to finish things off!
How to make seitan
The trickiest part of making seitan is probably creating the dough. It’s definitely easiest to use your hands, and know that it will probably remain lumpy even when it’s well kneaded! After mixing everything into a dough, we will let it simmer for an hour. Boom, seitan!
Step 1: Prepare the dough
In a large bowl, stir together all of the dough ingredients until a ball forms.
Transfer to a clean surface and knead for about 5 minutes, or until the dough is elastic and cohesive. It will still be lumpy, and that’s okay! The longer you knead, the tougher/more chewy the finished seitan will be. Form the dough into a log shape. Let it rest for 5 minutes while you prepare the broth.
Step 2: Simmer in broth
Add all of the broth ingredients to a large pot and bring to a simmer. Gently lower the seitan dough log into the broth, ensuring the dough is covered by the broth (if not, transfer to a smaller pot). Partially cover and simmer for 1 hour.
Step 3: Slice or crumble and serve
Remove the seitan from the pot and let it cool enough to touch. Slice into slabs, crumble into nuggets, or use however you need it (it will depend on your recipe and desired use)!
Ways to serve seitan
After letting the seitan simmer and cool, cut it depending on the recipe you’re making. You may be wondering what your options are! It will all come down to the type of meat you’re substituting.
- Slabs: Cut into slabs for seitan burgers or steaks (yes, you can give seitan a steak flavor with the right seasonings!).
- Slices: Slices are great wherever you’d use chicken slices, like on a salad or in tacos or fajitas! They can also be seasoned and cut like pepperoni!
- Cubes: Cubes are also great for salads, but also for Buddha bowls, in “steak” dishes, or as “chicken” nuggets.
- Crumbles: As for crumbles, it’s the perfect option for tacos, chili, stew, or soup!
- Whole: Lastly, whole “loafs” of seitan make great pot roasts.
Dishes perfect for seitan
The following dishes were made with other ingredients, but are perfect for seitan! For each one, I’ll tell you whether you’ll be substituting something, as well as how you should cut the seitan.
- Kimchi Tempeh Tacos: Substitute the tempeh with crumbled seitan.
- Coconut Kidney Bean Curry: Add small cubes of seitan to the curry at step #3.
- Sweet Potato and Black Bean Chili: Replace the chili “meat” with crumbled seitan. I recommend omitting the walnuts and mushrooms, but keeping the black beans.
- Oyster Mushroom Philly Cheesesteak: Finally, use sliced seitan in place of the oyster mushrooms. Season and flavor as directed. Delicious!
- 6 cups vegetable broth 1.4 L
- 2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar 30 mL
- 1 tsp liquid smoke 5 mL
- Dough: In a large bowl stir together all dough ingredients until a ball forms. Transfer to a clean surface and knead for about 5 minutes, or until dough is elastic and cohesive (it will still be lumpy, that's okay!) Form into a log shape. Let dough rest for 5 minutes while you prepare the broth.
- Broth: Add all broth ingredients to a large pot and bring to a simmer. Gently lower the seitan dough log into the broth, ensuring the dough is covered by the broth (if not, transfer to a smaller pot). Partially cover and simmer for 1 hour.
- Serve: Remove from pot and let cool enough to touch. Slice into slabs, crumble into nuggets, or use however you need it (depends on your recipe and desired use!)