Eat Your… Seitan


Seitan (pronunciation: SAY-tan), often called “wheat meat”, is a very convincing vegetarian meat substitute. It can be made from scratch by washing and rinsing regular wheat flour until all of the starch is gone and only the sticky gluten remains. Of course, if you’ve been following along for the last couple months, you know I usually opt for the easy way out. When I make seitan I use a special type of flour called vital wheat gluten that is ready to go and can be found a nearly any natural foods store in the bulk bins. No washing and rinsing necessary.

Unlike tofu and tempeh, which are rather laborious to make at home, seitan is simple to prepare in your own kitchen. I’ll show you how.

Pre-packaged Seitan

Mass-produced seitan can be purchased at most natural food stores where it is often pricey, especially considering how cheaply and quickly you can make your own. The exceptions are the canned varieties available at Asian food stores. These are cheaper, tastier, and more varied than American brands (see the picture below for examples).

At this point I would be remiss not to mention the vegan Horizons restaurant in Philadelphia. If you ever go there you absolutely MUST try the Grilled Seitan. It is the best I’ve ever had and I kid-you-not it would probably fool the most ardent carnivore. It’s $21, that’s how serious they are. Horizons gets their seitan from a Philly company called Ray’s Seitan, although the Horizons “cut” is custom made. If you’re ever in the area, go.

Seitan Product Examples

Primal Sprit Seitan Jerky Strips

Lightlife Meatless Tenders (contain seitan)

Common Asian Canned Seitan:

Canned Seitan

Make Your Own Seitan

Fortunately and unfortunately, I have tried many seitan recipes out there. Over the years I have figured out what works and doesn’t. And trust me, when it doesn’t work you end up with something that you really, really, don’t want to eat. Think about eating a bicycle tire and you won’t be far off.

Thankfully I have come up with a recipe for seitan that is — so far — foolproof. And every one of my meat eating friends loves the results. I’ve had comments like “You mean this isn’t meat?” and “Wow! What IS this stuff?”

Click the link for my blog post that guides you through the process.

Country-Fried Seitan Steaks

[If you try the recipe, let me know how it turns out!]

Other recipes follow below the picture.

Country-Fried Seitan Steaks

Other (Untested) Recipes

FatFree Vegan – Barbecued Seitan Ribz

Have Cake, Will Travel – Crispy Baked Seitan

Vegan Yum Yum – Crispy Sweet and Sour Seitan

See you next week!

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Now Playing: Know By Heart by The American Analog Set.

Ben is a graduate student at NCSU studying Crop Science with an emphasis on Sustainable Agriculture. Official foodie credentials are non-existent, other than the fact that he has been cooking for himself since he was 12 years old. You can find his personal blog at, photos and videos at bengarland’s Flickr photostream, and his plans for a self-constructed cob house and organic farm over at Our Farm Adventure (still a very new work in progress).