A friend instant messaged me yesterday and announced that she wants to try becoming a vegetarian. I all but jumped out of my chair and ran to the adjacent building where she works. I’m always thrilled to hear that a friend is considering reducing their animal product consumption, let alone trying a complete vegetarian or vegan diet.
The transition to vegetarianism can be difficult and I’m always so very happy to share recipes and tips to make sure folks have a positive experience and, with any luck, decide to stick with the lifestyle. This particular friend inquired on a recipe for seitan. I adore seitan – it is cheap, simple, filling, super high in protein, low-fat and works very well in a variety of recipes. When fully cooked, the consistency of seitan is so much like meat that Mr. Husband “oohs” and “ahs” while devouring multiple servings.
This basic seitan recipe is from Devra Gartenstein’s cookbook The Accidental Vegan. It does take a bit of time to cook, and will heat up your kitchen if you have a tiny place, but otherwise is quite possibly the perfect protein.
1 gallon water
1 chunk of peeled ginger
1/2 cup tamari (or low sodium soy sauce)
1 cup Vital Wheat Gluten Flour
1 to cups warm water
- In a large pot begin boiling the gallon of water, along with the ginger and soy sauce.
- Using your hands, mix the gluten with 1 to 2 cups warm water until it becomes a sticky blob.
- Run cold water over the blob and knead it underwater for a few minutes, changing the water when it gets cloudy. I usually change the water 3 times. If the gluten you use is fresh, the dough will hold together. If the gluten is less fresh, it will break apart as you knead it. If this happens, pour the water through a wire strainer, then collect the pieces you strained out and press them back into the original blob.
- When the water boils, pull pieces of gluten about the size of a finger and drop them into the pot. Cook for 1 to 1.5 hours.
I like to prepare seitan on Sunday morning and then save it till later in the week. To do this, cook the seitan as indicated above, then allow it to cool in the liquid on the stove. Store the seitan and liquid in an air tight container in the fridge and use within the week.
My ALL TIME FAVORITE way to use this seitan for a super fast, super delicious meal is to make BBQ seitan and serve it over warm buttered amaranth. To do this chop one onion, slice up a variety of peppers (I like poblano and sweet red peppers). In a large skillet or wok, cook your onions in a spot of oil. Meanwhile, steam the peppers for about 3 minutes. Toss the steamed onions in with the peppers, add your cooked seitan and a cup or two of your favorite vegan BBQ sauce. Heat until the meal is piping hot and serve over hot buttered amaranth. Delicious!