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My Favorite (“Chicken-style”) Seitan Recipe

Seitan is probably my favorite meat-substitute, not only because its texture is almost exactly how I remember meat to be, but because it’s delicious and so versatile. I make a batch about once a month and use it on pizza, sandwiches and sometimes in my tofu scrambles. It’s excellent for veganizing recipes left over from my “pregan” days as you can sub it in for any meat. This recipe was adapted from Terry Hope Romero’s Steamed White Seitan recipe in Viva Vegan!, which I think was my first all-vegan cookbook. Her recipe was meant to simulate chicken or pork, but I think you can use it for pretty much anything.

I had a nice long weekend with lots of free time to cook (and take pictures!) so I decided to try something new and document each step of this process (the pics and entire recipe are at the end). All that free time also allowed me to do some much needed relaxing… you know, lying on the couch with my dogs, catching up on some reading, I even baked a cake! And yes, I’ll be sharing the recipe for that yumminess too :)


“Chicken-Style” Seitan (4 loaves, each makes about 2 servings)

Recipe adapted from Viva Vegan!  Wrapped tightly, it’ll last in the fridge for up to 2 weeks. Freeze it, and it’ll last for months.

Ingredients:

  • 1.5 cups cold chick’n or vegetable broth (or water and bouillon cube)
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 1.5 cups vital wheat gluten flour
  • 1/4 cup chickpea flour
  • 1/3 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1 t garlic powder
  • 1.5 t poultry or chicken seasoning
  • 1/2 t paprika
  • 1/2 t cumin
  • 1/2 t onion powder
  • 1/2 to 1 T Herbamere or sea salt (I used a full tablespoon, but I love salt. Some people have found it to be a bit much)
  • Aluminum foil

Directions:

1. Wisk together broth and olive oil, and set aside.

2. In a large bowl stir together all the remaining ingredients. Once they’re completely combined, create a well in the center, then pour in the broth mix.

3. Stir with a rubber spatula until the entire mixture pulls away from the sides of the bowl. Now it’s time to knead!

4. Knead the dough for 2-3 minutes. Your hands may get tired but this step is crucial to develop the gluten. You’ll actually be able to see the dough’s consistency change, it’s pretty cool! You can knead in the same bowl, or you can move it to a cutting board (you’ll have to do that later anyway). Keep in mind as you’re kneading that you’re going to be cutting it into 4 loaves, so working it into a square/rectangle is better than a roundish lump. This was mine, about halfway through and before I transferred it to a cutting board…

5. Let it rest for about 10 minutes, then knead for another 30 seconds. This is your last chance to get it into a workable shape for cutting. Move to the cutting board if you haven’t already, and slice into 4 equal sized loaves.

6. From your box of aluminum foil, tear off 4 pieces, each about 6 inches wide. Wrap each piece of seitan by folding the long edges, and then the short edges. You want the loaf to be completely covered, but with room to expand.
7. Steam for 30 minutes. If you don’t have a steamer, you can use my ghetto-fabulous method. I fill a pot with about an inch of water, and heat it to boiling. I put the foil-wrapped loaves into a metal colander, which I place into the pan (make sure the water level is lower than the loaves themselves, you don’t want them to get wet) and cover.

If you’re using my method, and the loaves are at all stacked, you should switch them around about halfway through.

8. Remove from the steamer and let cool for 30 minutes or so before putting it in the fridge for at least an hour. Then you can wrap in plastic wrap or zippie bags.

Enjoy!

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{ 61 comments… add one }

  • Bianca- Vegan Crunk January 30, 2012, 11:03 am

    I love steamed seitan! It’s so delicious!

    • Barb January 30, 2012, 1:32 pm

      Me too! Since I made this last batch I’ve had it on pizza, and chopped up and mixed with taco seasoning, sprinkled on my salad!

  • gail January 30, 2012, 12:13 pm

    i’ve always thought about trying to make seitan – you make it look easy :) can’t wait for your cake recipe too!

    • Barb January 30, 2012, 1:33 pm

      Thanks!!

      I can’t wait to share it! I also can’t wait to get home from work and have another piece :)

  • Reia January 30, 2012, 10:50 pm

    I love how you incorporated the step by step pics this time. It’s a huge help for people like me who aren’t as comfortable in the kitchen as others, and like to have visual confirmation that things are going as they should! I’ve only tried making my own seitan once, but the recipe was very different, so I will have to give this one a shot.

    • Barb January 31, 2012, 1:33 pm

      I like having visual confirmation too! Unfortunately, now that I’m on this end, it’s not always the most convenient process…

  • Vegan Thyme (Kelly) January 31, 2012, 8:16 pm

    Excellent! What a great play-by-play photo job! I love this post as it reminds me why it is way too easy for me to linger in Whole Foods over all the “seitan” pre-packaged options and end up with them in my cart vs. making my own! I have that cookbook and love it! I need to get “satan” making!

    • Barb February 4, 2012, 6:33 pm

      It’s amazing how easy it actually is. I still sometimes buy the pre-made, but then always regret it…

  • Heather February 1, 2012, 8:31 am

    Your ghetto fabulous method is perfect for steaming! You make, making seitan look so easy, I have to try this method!

    • Barb February 4, 2012, 6:34 pm

      If you do, let me know how it turns out!

  • Natalie March 11, 2012, 10:59 am

    What if I want to eat right away? Do I have to put it in the fridge? Can’t this be eaten warm?

  • Barb March 11, 2012, 12:08 pm

    The time in the fridge helps it to firm up, so if you ate it right away it would probably have a different consistency.

  • Connie Fletcher May 5, 2012, 12:26 pm

    Barb, go to Planeat.com it’s a video and has recipes from some folks, one s for Seitan Brisket by Chad Sarno….it’s driving me nutz, cuz I made it and it didn’t work out. See what you think, cuz the flavor is out of this world…..really delish, but (and it’s a BIG but…no, not that kind…) it didn’t hold together and it’s soo smooshy….yuck…but the flavor is stunning….Help??!!??

  • Connie Fletcher May 7, 2012, 6:43 am

    Actually, I tried to go to Planeat. om ad it didn’t work, so I googled Planeatmovie and it took me to the right site. Please help me…someone..this is really worth trying………

    • Barb May 11, 2012, 4:45 pm

      I’ll add it to my “to make” list, it does sound good! I have to warn you though, it’s a pretty long list :) Seriously… I spend way too much time dreaming up new recipes to work on, not to mention pinning and bookmarking other people’s recipes I want to try! But I promise to get back to you when I do!

      • Connie Fletcher May 11, 2012, 4:57 pm

        Thank you….I think it will be worth your while. The flavor is really great, but the texture……..not so much. Again, thank you!

  • Moonrivers June 15, 2012, 7:38 pm

    Any reason in particular to using chickpea flour as opposed to something like teff or soy or some other kinds of flour? I always buy different flours for different recipes and sometimes forget what flour is for what recipe so I’ve got too many kinds of flour.

    I’ve always got to question things, I know. Have you ever tried teff flour?

    • Barb June 18, 2012, 10:49 am

      The reason is simply that it’s my flour of choice. I’ve never tried it with other types, if I were you I’d google recipes that call for a flour you’d rather use.

  • Sarah July 16, 2012, 3:15 pm

    I made this seitan yesterday and used it in a recipe today. It was the BEST I have ever made and I’m pretty sure I can use it in place of the crazy pricey tofurky deli slices my kid has been eating. And a helluva lot healthier. THANK YOU!!!

    • Barb July 17, 2012, 5:24 am

      You’re so welcome, and I’m super happy to hear that it works for you!

  • johnrpotter August 16, 2012, 4:05 pm

    This is the best seitan recipe thus far!!!! I have to say I try to avoid the whole mock meat issue, however my kids enjoyed the chicken nuggets I made with this and I am currently cooking a second batch to try my hand at a mock chicken salad.

    • Barb August 16, 2012, 5:11 pm

      I’m so happy to hear that!! I don’t buy a lot of the mock meats either, I mostly stick with tofu (or just veggies), but I really enjoy home made seitan.

  • Taylor September 13, 2012, 10:32 am

    Amazing recipe! Do you know the nutrition facts?

    • Barb September 13, 2012, 11:49 am

      I’m sorry, I never tabulated them. It’s on my “list” to start doing that for recipes, though. Sorry!

  • Jane September 20, 2012, 6:50 am

    Hi Barb,
    This look delish. Can you tell me, what brand of chicken seasoning did you use? I am thinking that depending on the brand, there could be a lot of variation in sodium content and if my seasoning has more salt, I might want to cut down on the amount of salt I add to the recipe.
    Thanks!

    • Barb September 20, 2012, 6:54 am

      It was the Sunflower Farmer’s Market brand, which probably doesn’t help you much. Sorry!

  • Timi Caswell February 23, 2013, 2:57 pm

    Hands down, the BEST seitan recipe I’ve tried! I almost gave up on making it from scratch but you renewed my faith. Thank you, thank you!!!!

    • Barb February 25, 2013, 11:43 am

      You’re welcome, and I’m so glad it worked out for you! :)

  • malbertini February 24, 2013, 6:40 pm

    This recipe is fantastic! Thank you for giving me a new staple to work with. (I’ll never go back to store-bought!)

    • Barb February 25, 2013, 11:42 am

      You’re welcome, and THANK YOU!

  • Joshua March 3, 2013, 2:59 pm

    Wow! I’m really impressed by this recipe – I had it on my list of things to make for a while now, but overestimated the difficulty and underestimated the deliciousness. Last time I tried making homemade seitan, I boiled it in broth and the flavor didn’t really come out that well, and this is an amazingly different thing! Thank you so much for posting this!

    • Barb March 4, 2013, 9:16 am

      Thanks for the great feedback! I made some myself yesterday, and it truly is my FAVORITE!

  • Choy soo Ying March 28, 2013, 1:33 am

    I cannot find vital wheat gluten where I live in Malaysia. Is there a way to make ones own? I really would like to make my own seitan as I also cannot find this . Thank you for whatever suggestions.

    • Barb March 28, 2013, 10:17 am

      I would recommend buying it online, perhaps through Amazon? I’m not aware of any ways to make your own, sorry. Good luck!

  • Ashley April 2, 2013, 12:00 pm

    I made this before and had a question on the recipe. I used one tablespoon of sea salt as the recipe suggested. It turned out way too salty, was that a typo? I’m thinking one teaspoon may be more appropriate.

    • Barb April 4, 2013, 7:08 am

      No, I meant a Tablespoon, but I tend to love salt more than other people ;) I just edited it to add that some people might prefer less, thanks for the feedback!

  • April April 8, 2013, 9:35 pm

    Would it work if I use parchment paper instead of aluminum foil and just fold it well?? Has anyone tried it? I try to avoid aluminum touching my food, and I like the safer non-stick properties of the parchment paper.
    Thank you so much for this recipe! I tried making seitan with another recipe once and it wasn’t even edible, and was a TON of work and mess to clean up. This looks easy and like it would be more flavorful too! Can’t wait to try it!

    • Barb April 9, 2013, 2:23 pm

      I’m really not sure… you’d have to do something to make sure the paper doesn’t come unwrapped…

      • April April 9, 2013, 3:09 pm

        Tell me if you think this would work…..wrapping the seitan loafs in parchment paper using a burrito type fold and having the loose edge sitting on the bottom so it doesn’t open….??

        • Barb April 10, 2013, 1:40 pm

          I think that would work, but you do need to flip them halfway through. Perhaps by then the steam will be holding the parchment paper together better? Let me know how it turns out!

          • April April 10, 2013, 4:05 pm

            Ahhh yes. I forgot about that part. Maybe I could use something like a small plate to weight them down if needed to keep them closed at that point? Or would that make for extra ugly seitan? LOL I will let you know how it goes for sure. Thanks for all your help!

            • April May 20, 2013, 9:32 am

              Update- What turned out to be easiest for me was to wrap in parchment paper and then foil just to keep it closed.

  • Gen May 21, 2013, 3:18 pm

    Can’t wait to try this! Silly question but when you say poultry/chicken seasoning, do you mean chicken flavoured seasoning or seasoning/herbs you would usually add to chicken? can’t seem to find vegan chicken flavoured seasoning easily in UK. Thanks very much

    • Barb May 21, 2013, 3:20 pm

      It’s the herbs and spices you would normally add to chicken. Here you can buy it bottled, all mixed together. No need to get a vegan version, they’re all vegan (or should be!)

  • website July 25, 2013, 2:34 pm

    Whoa! This blog looks just like my old one! It’s on a totally different subject but it has pretty much the same layout and design. Great choice of colors!

  • Sophie September 13, 2013, 8:25 am

    I also make my own seitan & love it too! You can make it chewy too!
    Your chicken style seitan recipe looks like a real winner,…..OOOh yes! Yummmmmmm.

  • natalie love October 20, 2013, 3:07 pm

    hey barb, i am in loooove with this recipe…..soooooo much so iv added a link from my blog to here (i hope thats ok) as i just posted my andalucian seitan and rice recipe in which i use your seitan recipe so i put your recipe as a do it yourself option for people so that they can hopefully get away from the premade sduff lol so i thank you barb keep up the good work :) hope you can pop over and see your recipe being used in a yummy way :) http://loveecoliving.wordpress.com/ …..love and peace, natalie xx

    • Barb October 21, 2013, 11:07 am

      I’m so glad to hear that! :)

  • Patty October 27, 2013, 1:39 pm

    So good!! I’ve tried various homemade seitan recipes before, but always ended up with something that looked like “nasty brains” with an unpleasant gluten aftertaste. Thank you so much for sharing this…wish I’d found it sooner. Now a permanent addition to my kitchen!

    • Barb October 31, 2013, 1:52 pm

      I’m so glad to hear that!!

  • Deanna November 11, 2013, 9:50 am

    I’m about to make this, it’s just me and my husband, can it be frozen? And how long will it keep if refrigerated?

    • Barb November 12, 2013, 9:35 am

      It’ll keep a week or two in the fridge, and for months if you freeze it!

  • Lavender Peony December 10, 2013, 1:43 pm

    Hi Barb,

    I hope you still get comments from old posts! Thank you for sharing this recipe. I was new to seitan and the couple other recipes I tried before this were just blech! This one has flavour and really great texture! I’ve got a question about the taste, though. The first two batches that I made with your recipe had really good flavour and texture but there was some kind of funky aroma/aftertaste. It was like flour or something in it had gone bad or rancid. I tried it again a few weeks later and that aroma was even stronger. I sniffed my VWG and it seemed to be the culprit. I got a fresh new bag and did the recipe again. The aroma was not as strong but still very faintly there.

    Is that just the way VWG is? If you don’t mind, could you describe the aromas that you smell as you eat your seitan? If that funkiness I’m smelling is not how it should smell, then I’ll have to play around with the other ingredients – maybe it’s the chickpea flour or something??

    • Barb December 10, 2013, 2:14 pm

      I’ve never noticed a bad smell.. although it does have kind of an “odd” smell, before it steams. Definitely not bad though. I did some googling and it looks like VWG can go rancid, so maybe that’s what happened? http://www.livestrong.com/article/340714-how-long-will-vital-wheat-gluten-last/

      • Lavender Peony December 10, 2013, 11:53 pm

        How wonderful of you to reply to such an old post – thank you! Okay, that settles it then. I got a fresh new bag of VWG and got that same funky aroma. It must be one of the other ingredients. I’ll keep trying the recipe! Thanks again Barb!

  • Dennis December 12, 2013, 12:24 am

    I make steamed seitan pepperoni! And this is exactly my technique! I too use the colander and pot method. It works great. The steamed texture ends up the best I have found so far. When I make pepperoni I roll the seitan in a roll instead in the foil so I can make slices. The foil makes the final product hold its shape.

    • Barb December 12, 2013, 8:35 am

      I’ve been messing around with a new sausage seitan recipe, and I love the way the foil helps it hold it’s shape!

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  • Deborrah April 9, 2014, 4:09 am

    Barb, do you know where to order vital wheat gluten in amounts larger than the one pound Bob’s Red Mill package? That’s all I’ve been able to find locally. Goes too fast and costs too much per serving.

    • Barb April 9, 2014, 7:48 am

      Have you looked online? Amazon or veganessentials.com maybe. I usually buy it in bulk from whole foods or sprouts.

    • DBRooks April 9, 2014, 9:49 pm

      I buy it in 25 bags at a local whole foods type place. It is expensive but cheaper. It tends to last my family of five approx 6 mo.

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