Seitan: a quick and dirty how-to

Super high in protein, this popular choice for vegetarians is shockingly like the look and texture of protein when cooked. Seitan (said say-tahn) is made from gluten, the primary protein of wheat, by washing wheat flour dough with water until all of the starch dissolves. This leaves insoluble gluten that must be cooked before it should be eaten.

It’s really truly possible to make seitan yourself, though it's time consuming. By mixing flour and water you form dough, this dough is then kneaded and washed under running water for about 20 to 30 minutes. The gluten then must be boiled in broth for 1 to 2 hours before it can be eaten. The shortcut to this naturally is to buy already separated wheat gluten instead of beginning from flour.

Seitan is a low sodium and extremely fat free protein. It has approximately 10 mg of sodium, zero grams of fat and 7.5 grams of protein in simply an oz. Protein sensible, it is calorie for calorie higher in protein than both tofu and tempeh.

The drawback of seitan, is that lots of the time it is processed and extremely high in sodium. Also , any person with celiac disease, or a gluten allergy needs to stay away.

Below is a recipe I found for Buffalo Seitan (vegan buffalo wings). Done right , this can be a good snack for the seitan-virgin.

Buffalo Seitan with Vegan Ranch Dip

To make the seitan:

1/2 Cup Vital Wheat Gluten

1/2 Cup water

Mix these together in a bowl. It will get too thick to utilise a spoon, so dig in with your hands. Kneed for 5 minutes and set aside.


2 Cups of water

1 Cup vegan chick’n broth (sold in natural foods stores for plenty of money, or in a powdery form in many Asian markets for inexpensive)

1 tsp each: thyme, dried parsley, rosemary, oregano, onion powder

1 bay leaf

garlic powder to taste

ground pepper to taste

In a large frying pan, bring the broth ingredients to boiling point, and lower the heat. Pinch off tiny pieces of the gluten (rather smaller than bite sized) and drop into the broth. Cover the pan, and cook. It is very important to be sure that the broth doesn't come to a boil, so you’ll have to keep a tight eye. Boiling seitan makes it hard and chewy, which might be good for some things, though not these. You may broil these for about 50 minutes, stirring once each 10 minutes or so while the broth reduced. If by the end of 50 minutes it looks like bite-sized pieces of brain floating in a broth, you've done perfect. Take off heat, but leave in the broth until ready. You can even stick this in the fridge at that time if you are not quite ready to turn them into spicy pieces of deliciousness.

Buffalo-ing them:

Heat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit

2 Tbs Vegan marg (similar to Earth Balance)

2 Tbs Hot Sauce or Sriracha

Melt the ingredients together in a tiny shallow pan. Add the seitan from the broth, and coat with the margarine mix. Spread the covered seitan pieces out on a cookie pan, and bake for 10 minutes. Remove to a bowl or tray, and pour any remaining margarine mix over the seitan; toss to coat. Serve with Vegan Ranch Dip, instructions follow.

Vegan Ranch Dip

1/2 cup Vegenaise

1/4 cup minced parsley

1 lemon, zested and juiced

salt, pepper and garlic powder* to taste

Add all ingredients to a little bowl and mix together. If lemon is especially large or juicy, either consider yourself fortunate or add the juice slowly until you reach the consistency you need. Less juice = more dip-like, more juice = more salad dressing-like.

*Powdered garlic works miles better than raw minced garlic here. If you should happen to feel up to it, two roasted mashed garlic cloves work far better.

(Recipe from

Cathy Roosa is a vegan, and is a contributing writer to several websites.

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