Tag Archives: homemade seitan

Meatless Monday: Barbecue “Pulled” Seitan

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One of my favorite things about learning how to cook has been figuring out how to make ingredients that, originally, I would have bought already made. (Then griped at due to the price versus the quality/quantity of the foods I end up with.) Pesto, breads, certain cookies and treats, hummus, etc. When I decided to experiment with making homemade seitan, the initial reason was that it ran us close to $5-6 for 6 ounces of seitan. To feed a family of four that includes a two dudes over 6-feet-tall and a rapidly growing 8 year old who is also nearly 5-feet-tall these days, that amount of seitan doesn’t go very far. $15 for just the seitan alone seemed silly to me when I could purchase a bag of vital wheat gluten for 5 bucks and make four times as much seitan with it.

The thing about seitan is it’s super versatile. It takes on flavors well, while maintaining a very “meaty” consistency. My husband is a Southern-born guy. He’s been a vegetarian for many years and therefore some of the more Southern dishes he did grow up around, he hasn’t been able to eat for decades now. Mainly I came up with this particular barbecued seitan with him in mind. When we had these sandwiches, one bite in, he told me, “this is just like eating a barbecue sandwich down South.” Mission accomplished.

I encourage you to read through the entire recipe before attempting to make it. The final step of making the seitan into “barbecue,” is filled with a description of what I do personally, rather than real set instructions. Use with your own discretion! :)

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Barbecue “Pulled” Seitan

Yields nearly three pounds of seitan.

Ingredients:

For the seitan:
12.3 oz firm silken tofu
4 cups vital wheat gluten
6 large crimini mushrooms
1 shallot, peeled
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon vegan worcestershire sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons liquid smoke
1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
1 teaspoon granulated garlic
1/2 teaspoon celery sauce
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1 1/2 cups No-Chicken or vegetable broth

For the barbecue sauce:
24 ounces ketchup
1 3/4 cups water
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup light brown sugar
2 tablespoons vegan worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 tablespoon unsulphured blackstrap molasses
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
1 tablespoon granulated garlic
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 teaspoon liquid smoke
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon red chili pepper flakes

Directions:

Prepare the seitan: Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. In a food processor or blender, combine all the ingredients for the seitan except for the broth. Pulse until the tofu and mushrooms are broken up and the ingredients have combined well. While the machine is running, slowly stream in the broth, until the mixture comes together in a ball of dough (4-6 minutes).

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Split the dough into two equal portions, forming each into loaves about 4″x7″. Spray two large sheets of foil with oil/cooking spray. Place one loaf of seitan on each piece of foil, then wrap it up tightly, being sure to seal the ends well. Place in the oven, seam side down, directly on the oven rack in the center of your oven. Bake for 90 minutes, turning the seitan over halfway through the cooking time.

Turn the oven off and allow the seitan to stay in the oven for an additional 30-45 minutes. Remove from the oven and leave wrapped until needed.

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Prepare the sauce: Whisk together all of the ingredients for the barbeque sauce in a saucepan. Turn the heat on to medium, and bring up to a simmer. Let the sauce cook for 20-30 minutes, the turn off the heat.

Preparing “pulled” barbecued seitan: Technically, the seitan is fully cooked at this point. You can slice it as thin or thick as you like, eat it as is, top it with the barbecue sauce (or your favorite sauce), use it as a meat substitute in your preferred dishes…

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When I am making this seitan for us, I use kitchen scissors to cut the cooked seitan into semi-thin slices until the whole log has been chopped up. This gives it an uneven, rough look and creates some pieces that are thicker or thinner than others – which I like for this particular recipe.

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Next, I heat a cast iron stovetop griddle to extremely hot, drizzling it with canola or sunflower oil. When the pan is very hot, I spread the chopped seitan out in a single layer on the griddle. Once the seitan starts crisping and browning, I flip it with a spatula, allowing the second side to crisp up. Spoon about 1/4-cup of barbecue sauce over the seitan, continuously turning it on the griddle until the sauce begins to cook into the seitan. Some places will begin to char, which I encourage (as would be the case with “real” meat barbecue). Add more sauce if you’d like as the seitan is cooking, no more than 1/4-cup at a time. Even as the outside begins to crisp or char, this seitan retains its tenderness.

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Our favorite way to eat this barbecued seitan is as a sandwich on rolls, consisting only of the barbecued seitan, vegenaise, yellow mustard, and a little extra barbecue sauce.

  • Reheating is best done on a stove top griddle or in a hot cast iron pan.

Jamaican Jerk Seitan

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It’s officially summer around here. While I enjoy long summer days, filled with sunshine at 5:30 AM well until after 8 PM, already that time is flying by.  I’m looking forward to meals that don’t involve heating my kitchen, or standing at the stove trying to decide whether to leave the windows closed or open, whether it’s hotter in the kitchen or outside. A toss-up these days.

I’m not complaining. Summer means sitting on my front porch to drink my first cup of coffee, wondering if I’ll get a sunburn at 9 in the morning? It means bare feet in long grassy parks. It means swimming in the lake with our dogs. It means picking dinner straight from the garden. It means iced adult cocktails and warm evenings that stay light out past what would’ve been kid-bedtime just days prior. Summer is blue skies for miles and miles, breezy skirts and shorts that unfortunately seem to get shorter the older I get (much to my dismay). This year summer may mean homemade ice cream, homemade pickles, and raw veggie sauces. Summer is too hot for covers, sleeping with the windows open and listening to the late night hustle and bustle of this downtown summer town.

The oncoming summer has also brought peaches to our grocery co-op, an array of fresh peppers I like to examine every time I walk past them. There has already been super sweet watermelon, bright sweet mangoes (even if they don’t come from Oregon and serve mostly as nostalgia for my tropical upbringing). Let’s get into sweet corn, too while we’re at it. And snap peas. I love sugary snap peas. The flavors of this time of year and the open-endedness of summer days easily inspires new dishes to prepare.

I don’t know where the idea for this seitan came from, but I’m glad it did. The sauce is thick, spicy, sweet, tangy, HOT. But I assure you it was also 7-year-old approved, with a side of coconut rice and vanilla rice milk to drink, both serving to calm the spiciness. When you bake the seitan, then slowly allow it to cook further under the broiler, it’s texture becomes very similar to actual meat. It’s chewy, it also falls apart in your mouth, it’s slightly charred along the edges, and it’s got some “pull,” much like real barbequed meat. You don’t have to be vegetarian to enjoy this. I imagine the sauce would be delicious on tofu, tempeh, or even light, mild fish. It’s definitely a new addition to our go-to sauces.

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Jamaican Jerk Seitan

Serves 4-6 people.

Ingredients:
¼ cup malt vinegar
5 green onions
4 cloves garlic
½ cup fresh hayden mango, cut into chunks (1 medium mango)
1 tablespoon fresh chopped thyme
2 cherry bomb peppers or 1 habanero *
1½ tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 teaspoons ground allspice
2 teaspoons ground ginger
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon dark brown sugar
½ cup ketchup
1 pound seitan (NOT ground seitan) **
zest from one lime
¼ cup fresh squeezed lime juice
oil

* Remove the seeds and ribs from the peppers for less spice. I left them in and thoroughly enjoyed the heat within this sauce.

** I prefer making my own seitan to any of the store bought versions. I used my chicken-style seitan for this recipe and simply cut it into cutlets about ¼-inch thick.

 

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Directions:

In a food processor or high-speed blender, combine the vinegar, green onions, garlic, mango, thyme, peppers, soy sauce, oil, allspice, ginger, cinnamon, salt, nutmeg, black pepper, and brown sugar. Blend until completely smooth (3-5 minutes).

Stir the ketchup into the sauce, until completely combined.

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Arrange the seitan in a large, rimmed dish. Squeeze the lime juice all over the seitan, rubbing it, and the lime zest, into the seitan, using your hands.

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Reserve about a ½-cup of the sauce, then pour the rest over the seitan cutlets, turning them to coat both sides. Cover and allow the seitan to be refrigerated at least one hour, up to 24 hours.

Once the seitan has been refrigerated, preheat your oven to 375°F. Lightly oil a large sheet pan. Place the seitan on your prepared pan, arranging them in a single layer. Bake for 20 minutes. Brush the seitan with some of the sauce you set aside earlier, then flip the cutlets and bake for another 20 minutes.

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Brush the top of the seitan with more of the remaining sauce. Turn your oven on to broil, at the highest temperature you can get, making sure the rack in your oven is on the shelf closest to the broiler. Let the seitan sit under the broiler for 1-2 minutes, then brush with more sauce, flip, and return to the broiler for another 1-2 minutes.

The seitan should char a little on the edges. If it hasn’t by this point, just keep repeating the previous instructions until it does.

Serve hot with steamed rice and/or the vegetables of your choosing.

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Homemade Seitan Fried Chicken

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When it came to potlucks when I was a kid, everyone had two requests from my mom: her stir-fried beef broccoli or her fried chicken. Even writing the names of these things down makes my mouth salivate. I remember the taste of both, regardless of the fact that I’ve eaten neither in probably close to ten years, at least. Although I don’t cook meat at home (save for fish here and there), there are times I still crave things like fried chicken.

What’s a girl to do? I suppose I could go out and eat some, but that gets pricey and especially for something like fried chicken, I end up feeling guilty about spending more money than necessary on something that would be so cheap to make at home. So, I make a batch of chicken seitan and fry it as I would were it “real” chicken. I’m never disappointed AND! I don’t feel guilty about it. Plus I can add garlicky-cheesy mashed potatoes, creamy crimini gravy, and a huge salad alongside it to feel entirely stuffed from a fully from-scratch meal. Win-win.

I’ve been making seitan at home for a couple years now. At first, I’d use a slow-simmer method, but realized that the texture didn’t quite fit what I was after. After much (MUCH!) experimenting, I’ve finally come up with an easy go-to recipe that I rely on all the time. The food processor does the majority of the work for me. Then I steam the tightly wrapped seitan so it doesn’t get overly chewy or spongy, which happens too often when I simmer it.

Once the seitan has been steamed, it’s technically cooked. You could use it as is in any recipe you’d use chicken in. We make sandwiches with it, chop it up and add it to pasta, salads, etc. Or use the following recipe to make some damn good fried vegetarian chicken. :)

 

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Homemade Seitan Fried Chicken

Makes about eight 3.5oz cutlets

Ingredients:

For the seitan:
2 cups vital wheat gluten
3 cloves garlic
½ cup vegetarian chicken broth powder
1 tbsp. brewer’s yeast
1 tbsp. lightly flavored oil
1 tsp. poultry seasoning
1 tsp. smoked paprika
1 tsp. granulated garlic
½ tsp. ground black pepper
½ tsp. ground sage
¼ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. ground turmeric
1½ cups water

For the fried chicken:
one batch of above seitan
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 tbsp. smoked paprika
1 tbsp. granulated garlic
2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. ground black pepper
1 tsp. poultry seasoning
2 eggs
1 cup buttermilk
high heat oil (canola, peanut, sunflower, etc.)

 

Directions:

Make the seitan:

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In the bowl of your food processor fitted with the large chopping blade, combine all the ingredients for the seitan. Blend until the mixture comes together into a ball.

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Let the dough rest for 5-10 minutes, then separate into 8 even-sized balls of dough.

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Flatten each ball of dough into “cutlets” that are about ¼-inch thick. This can take some patience, as the dough is very stretchy and will continuously shrink back on itself. Just keep flattening, using your hands or a rolling pin. Wrap each cutlet tightly with foil. Steam the cutlets (I use a two-layered bamboo steamer) for 40-50 minutes, until they’re firm to the touch. Allow the cutlets to cool completely.

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Make the fried chicken: In a shallow pan or dish, combine the flour, paprika, garlic, salt, pepper, and poultry seasoning. Blend well.  In another shallow pan or dish, whisk together the buttermilk and eggs until thoroughly combined.

Over medium-high, heat enough oil in a large heavy pan (I prefer cast iron) to cover about 1/3 of the pan’s depth. Drop a tiny pinch of flour or buttermilk into the oil to test its temperature. The buttermilk/flour should sizzle and float up, but not burn. If using a thermometer, bring the oil to 325°F.

Unwrap all of the seitan cutlets. If you want, cut each one in half. Dip the seitan in the flour mixture, turning to coat. Next, dip the floured cutlets into your buttermilk mixture. Dip back into the flour mixture, turning to coat. Shake off the excess.

Place the seitan into the pan. Cook until golden brown on each side (8-12 minutes, approximately).

Drain the fried seitan on paper towels or a cooling rack placed over a sheet pan. Serve immediately.

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Vegetarian Chicken Sausage with Spinach, Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Pesto

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Seitan can be intimidating, especially if you’re not familiar with it. For any new vegetarian, especially, this wheat-based veggie “meat” is straight up weird. It’s texturally similar to chicken (with a slightly larger amount of chew). While store bought versions tend to be cooked in a soy sauce based broth, seitan actually takes on most flavors pretty well, regardless.

The soy sauce flavor is what initially got me into making my own seitan. I wanted to make something that didn’t have traces of that flavor at all. When I read about making seitan, there were processes that sounded much more intimidating than fun… These included washing, rinsing, and squeezing flour over and over again until you were left only with the gluten present. That sounded more technical than what I wanted to get into. The other versions I saw used vital wheat gluten, a flour made with the natural proteins found in the wheat berry. Magic happens when you add liquid to it – it turns highly elastic, soft, and dough like. There are various methods of cooking seitan – simmering and steaming at the top of those lists. I prefer steaming for a more sturdy final product (simmering seems to create a softer, more chewy seitan than I’d like).

There are other vegetarian sausages available in the markets around here. Tofurky makes some good ones – their sweet Italian sausage with tomato and basil is tasty, but often more oily than I like. Field Roast is by far my favorite, packed with flavor, fresh vegetables, and spices you can actually identify by name! You can’t go wrong with any of their sausages, really.

However, sometimes I want to create something specific to the flavors I’m craving. That’s where these particular sausages came from. Before I go on though, I feel the need to acknowledge this: as I write this post, I feel like a prepubescent teenager. I’ve been laughing as I write you directions to make these, I’ve been cracking up while photographing things like the following gem of a picture:

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Regardless, these vegetarian chicken sausages are flavorful. We ate them with cheesy polenta for dinner, then the following morning I fried some of the leftover polenta up for my husband, topping it with “runny egg,” as Silas likes to call them, along with slices of this sausage. It was delicious (and pretty – which I also appreciate in a meal). You can eat them as they are or add them to any recipe that asks for chicken sausage. Bon appétit!

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Vegetarian Chicken Sausage with Spinach, Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Pesto

Yields 5 or 6, approximately 5 oz., sausages

Ingredients:

1½ cups vital wheat gluten
½ cup vegetarian chicken broth powder
½ tsp. celery seed
¾ tsp. sea salt
½ tsp. ground white pepper
½ tsp. smoked paprika
1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
¼ tsp. dried oregano (or ½ tsp. fresh)
3 tbsp. fresh sage, chopped
1 cup fresh spinach, packed
4 cloves garlic
7 oz. extra firm tofu, drained
3 tbsp. julienned sun dried tomatoes
2 tbsp. prepared pesto (or homemade)
3 tbsp. olive oil
½ cup water

Directions:

Fit your food processor with the large chopping blade. Add the wheat gluten, chicken broth powder, celery seed, salt, pepper, paprika, cayenne, oregano, sage, spinach, garlic, tofu, tomatoes, and pesto. Blend until the mixture is pretty well combined (1-2 minutes).

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Add the olive oil and water, blending long enough for the mixture to turn into a soft ball of dough (3-4 minutes). Turn the dough out to a clean, dry surface. Let it rest while you do the following: prepare five or six pieces of plastic wrap that are about 12” x 12” as well as five or six pieces of foil that are 10” x 10”.

Divide the dough into five or six equal portions. Roll them out into sausages about one inch in diameter, and eight or nine inches long. Roll each sausage individually, first tightly in a piece of plastic wrap and then a piece of foil, twisting each end, both to tighten the foil and to seal each end to make sure no extra moisture seeps in while steaming.

I use a double layered bamboo steamer situated on a large stock pot of water in order to steam these sausages (and most homemade seitan). You can use whatever you’ve got for steaming – a bamboo steamer, steamer basket, etc. Steam the sausages until they’re firm to the touch (60-75 minutes).

Once the sausage is cooked all the way through (you can feel the difference), let it sit for ten minutes, then remove the foil and plastic wrap. Technically the sausage is cooked all the way through at this point and you can use it in any recipe that asks for chicken sausage. Or, brown it in a skillet with a bit of olive oil.

Store in the refrigerator, wrapped, up to a week. These also freeze well. Thaw fully before using. : )