OK. What is the deal with Seitan?
When you first become vegan you begin researching a new way of eating. People are constantly bombarding you with questions about whether or not you’re getting enough protein in your diet. If you read a few books, here’s another one, or Dr. Neal Barnard’s Program for Reversing Diabetes (which I have in paperback but just found for $2.99 on Kindle!) or blog posts out there, you’ll find that the human body really only requires about 10 percent of their daily calories coming from protein sources. The rest are from healthy plant-based fats and whole grain, complex carbohydrates. A bit of tentative searching about what a new vegan is to eat every day will find many results for faux meats and when I checked out this link, I found that the first 9 of them were brands I cannot live without.
When you’re a new vegan, (and sometimes when you’re just wanting something quick) it’s just easier to throw a frozen Gardein faux chick’n cutlet in a pan with some sautéed veggies and a nice sauce for dinner. It’s something you recognize and while it is not chicken, it is very tasty. It fuels you with good, plant base food. As you become more sure of yourself, you’ll want to begin making more of your own food and relying less on pre-packaged, prepared, processed food. Again…not judgy here. I am at this time 8 years vegan and still eat products from the first 9 brands on this list. BeyondMeat – will not live without. Tofurky – 2 years ago I spoiled myself with a Tofurky Holiday Roast and when you want hotdogs, you can do no better than Tofurky Hotdogs. And Tofurky Dogs and sauerkraut….oh my, Happy New Year.
One of the easiest, most delicious proteins to make is seitan. I’ve already commented on a couple posts about family member’s comments about Seitan. Seitan is an ancient food source basically created as an inexpensive, plant-based food for Buddhist Monks back in the 6th century. If you want to read the full history, here it is. If not, just know that seitan is made from Vital Wheat Gluten. Vital Wheat Gluten (from Wikipedia) is:
“Vital Wheat Gluten
A powdered form of wheat gluten is produced and sold as an additive for baking or used to make seitan. Vital wheat gluten is nearly all gluten and almost no starch. When used as an additive in baking, its purpose is to add elasticity to flours that would otherwise be low in gluten, such as whole wheat flour or rye. It improves the rise of the raw dough and also improves the texture and chewiness of the final product. Very little is required, generally about 1 Tablespoon (15ml) per 2-3 cups (480-620 ml) of flour.
The powdered form of wheat gluten (vital wheat gluten), is made by hydrating hard wheat flour to activate the gluten and then processing the hydrated mass to remove the starch, leaving only the gluten. The gluten is then dried and ground back into a powder.
Seitan may be made from vital wheat gluten or from hard wheat flour (aka. high-protein flour, high-gluten flour, or gluten flour). When seitan is made from vital wheat gluten, the powder is simply rehydrated to form the gluten and then cooked. Seitan produced from wheat flour is a longer process. First a dough is made by hydrating the flour, then the dough is kneaded under running water to remove the starch from the dough, leaving only the gluten. The gluten is then cut into pieces and cooked via steaming, boiling, frying, or other methods.”
I actually did a search to find out what new vegan’s can find on google today and I was so delighted to see so many current posts bring some truly helpful, inspiring ideas. Also, you will learn that PETA is not just a scary organization that Kim Basinger made seem downright crazy. I love the PETA organization and am so grateful for all they do for animals and for helping new plant-based people find their way. They will even send you a FREE Vegan Starter Kit!
- 11 Vegan Meat Brands That Are Changing Everything
- 6 Things Every New Vegan Should Do
- Top 10 Tips For a First-Time Vegan this link is from J. Kenji López-Alt at Serious Eats and I have learned so much about cooking from his blog. Each year he does a month eating vegan and creates some killer recipes. I love this guy. This is 2016’s Plant Based Month.
I have made countless versions of seitan and love many of them. Like animal based proteins, it’s really all about the seasoning. Here are a few of my favorites.
The first is one I’ve already posted here on the blog and to date, it is my absolute favorite. It is the tahini in the seitan that I believe pushed it over the top. I usually substitute tomato paste for a fat-free version, but since it was for a holiday I decided to go for the gusto. It’s really only a couple of tablespoons of tahini but it really makes all of the difference. Check this recipe for the how-to on making this wonderful seitan. You can do the roulade or just leave it as a solid loaf. Nice thick slices covered in gravy or leftovers can be slices thin for sandwiches.
This is a wonderful seitan that is inspired by Susan at Fat Free Vegan. She has a great new blog redesign so check it out. I love her recipes and have visited her site very frequently. Susan’s recipe was a stuffed roulade and was covered and baked in the oven. I like my seitan much more firm, so I do a ‘force meat’ type of seitan where the dough is wrapped in foil and as the vital wheat gluten expands, the pressure pushing against the foil creates a very dense, chewy seitan. It is like no meat you’ve ever tasted but has a similar bite and chew. This is the website I learned that technique from.
These are the Queen Isa Chandra’s Simple Italian Sausages and they are bomb. If you are a new vegan, then run do not walk to Isa Chandra’s website (formerly ThePPK.com. That is the Post Punk Kitchen for short.) I adore Isa and want to be her. I love her food. Her style. And her sass. She owns a couple of restaurants now Modern Love Brooklyn and Modern Love Omaha. Quite a dichotomy I know, but Isa all the same. It is from Isa that I learned to put beans in my seitan. Love ithttp://www.modernlovebrooklyn.com that way and now that’s the only way I make seitan.
This is Isa’s Seitan Roast Stuffed With Shiitakes And Leeks that I have taken the sliced leftovers and made even more wonderful by making into a Seitan Pot Pie. Seriously, everything is better with a flaky pie crust.
OMG..I want this right now. PotPIE!
Missing City BBQ Beef Brisket? Well I’m a vegan who still misses beef brisket every now and again. This was a great recipe I found while I was searching for seitan brisket. This was apparently made for a vegan reuben sandwich for St.Patrick’s Day. Look at that! Just in time.
How did I make What’s the deal with Seitan?…healthier?:
- Seitan is a very low-fat, low carbohydrate (yes, low in carbs!) plant-based meat that packs about 20 grams of protein per serving.
- This is an ancient form of plant-based protein that is minimally processed and provides essential amino acids.
- It is a good source of iron bringing plant-based folks 6 – 8 percent of their daily iron needs.
Different Beans and seasonings in your seitan will bring you variations in color and help you mimic old favorites.
- Black beans with mushroom stock will give you a ‘roast-ish’ seitan
- Canellinni beans and sage will give you great thanksgiving seitan
- I never was a fan of ham but pinto beans and perhaps liquid smoke flavoring with a brown sugar glaze might be an interesting vegan dish for Easter or sandwiches
Here’s my favorite recipe for seitan. You can see how to make this here.
- For the Seitan:
- Dry ingredients:
- 2 cups vital wheat gluten (10 ounces)
- ¼ cup nutritional yeast
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon rubbed sage
- 1 teaspoon marjoram
- ⅓ cup regular old fashioned oats - can use quinoa flakes
- 1 tablespoon ground flaxseeds - or use chia seeds
- Wet ingredients:
- ¾ cup Imagine No Chicken broth
- 1¼ cup Imagine Mushroom broth (total of 2 cups veggie broth of your choice)
- 1 15 oz. can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
- 3 tablespoons Braggs Liquid Aminos sauce
- 1 tablespoon Spice World Organic Squeeze minced garlic
- 2 tablespoon tahini (preferred) or other nut butter, can use 2 tbsp. Tomato paste for very low fat version
- I add this to the Wet Ingredients but you can add to dry:
- ¼ tsp Penzey's Mural of Flavor
- ½ tsp. Penzey's Ancho powder
- ¾ tsp. Penzey's California paprika
- ½ tsp. Penzey's Roasted Garlic
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
- Mix your Dry Ingredients in a large bowl (the first 7 items)
- Blend the Wet ingredients (items 8-13) with a food processor or immersion blender until uniformly blended.
- To the puree, add the last 4 ingredients and blend again.
- Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and mix until incorporated. If too dry, add in a tablespoon or 2 of broth.
- When the wet and dry are mixed well, begin to knead the dough for a couple minutes until the dough is elastic and relatively smooth.
- Form into a loaf in the bowl and allow to rest while you clean up a bit and get the next ingredients ready.
- Start your steamer and set for 40 minutes. By the time you're ready to put the seitan in the steamer it'll be about 30 minutes.
- Lay 2 - 24 inch pieces of Heavy Duty Foil on the counter on top of one another and roll the Seitan out of the bowl and onto the middle of the foil. Stretch and form the Seitan until it's about as wide as your steamer.
- On the top sheet of foil, fold the ends up and cover the ends of the Seitan log. Then pinch both long ends together and fold down together in inch sections, like closing a bag of coffee. Then pick up the log and turn upside down and turn the other direction. If first it was horizontal to you then turn vertically and this time wrap the long ends up together first. Then pinch together and roll up each end. The purpose is to create a smoothie log with no holes in the foil. If you get a little hole in your foil, please don't worry. Your Seitan will be just as tasty. It'll just have a character bump.
- Carefully place your seitan in the steamer and place the lid on top, ensuring as tight a fit as possible so steam will be created. If your seitan is having a difficult time fitting completely in the steamer then weight the lid down with something heavy, such as a full tea kettle.
- Steam the seitan for 30 minutes and then carefully remove with tongs and turn the seitan over and place back in the steamer on the opposite side. Steam for an additional 30 minutes.
- Test your seitan when the timer goes off. The seitan should feel firm. If you are in doubt there is no problem with steaming for an additional 10-15 minutes.
- Remove from the steamer and at this point you can either slice and serve, cut into chunks or strips and sauté, or place uncovered in a loaf pan and bake for 20 minutes until your seitan is browned. I have even taken the seitan after removing from the steamer and sautéing whole in a hot pan with a bit of oil to brown.
- The seitan will be firmer after it has been chilled in the fridge and then reheated.
The post What’s the deal with Seitan? appeared first on Designing Vegan. If you make any of these seitan recipes, I’d love to see how they worked out for you. Post to Instagram or Facebook and tag it with #designingvegan