Seitan/Wheat-Meat (made from wheat gluten flour) is one of the best meat substitutes for flavor absorption as well as texture. High in protein and low in fat, seitan (when properly prepared) will win over the meat-oholics in your life, from kids to grown-ups.
Once cooked, it can be used fresh or frozen until needed. When it’s defrosted, you can simply slice it into strips and serve with different sauces or ground in a food processor for tacos, lasagna, chili, or any other recipe where one would usually use ground beef.
Wheat gluten is the natural protein portion of wheat that is extracted when wheat is milled into flour. In its processed form, wheat gluten is a fine, tan-colored flour consisting of about 75-80 percent protein. You may be familiar with it as an additive to home-made bread, because the extra gluten helps the bread to stick together and therefore rise better without collapsing.
As many people know, gluten can cause allergic reactions or sensitivities in some people, which means that seitan is not a food to serve to your friends with wheat allergies! But for those who don’t react badly to gluten, seitan is a good source of protein and can be a big help for those transitioning to veganism.
Because of its amazing ability to imitate meat, seitan is a great food to serve at educational events or meals with non-vegan friends and family. When you add it to sauteed veggies and season it up with your favorite flavors or sauces, it is bound to surprise people who are not expecting the meal to contain any meat.
To make an easy, delicious dish for vegan educational events or pot-lucks, you can simply sauté up some onions and garlic with thinly sliced cabbage or dark garden greens. Mix this together with some sliced seitan that has been marinating in a pre-made vegan barbecue sauce, and then bake it in a casserole dish for 30-40 minutes. We served this recently at a vegan booth at a local fair, and people went wild over it. One diner commented that it was the best food she had ever eaten. You can’t get much better than that!
(For more ‘vegan food event’ ideas, please check out the recipes for Cashew-Carrot Paté and Tofu Eggless Salad, both of which are simple, easy recipes that are always a big hit and go well served in wraps or on crackers for a food sampling event.)
See the next page for a basic recipe to make your own seitan, then make sure to view the following pages for a variety of preparation ideas.