We’re talking about mad protein gainz today. Are you ready?
First off, there aren’t a lot of pictures here today because, um…have you ever seen anything less photogenic in your life?
I certainly have not.
I mean a log of vegan “meat.” It doesn’t get any less photogenic than that.
Seitan is a new-to-us vegan food, and we’re actually kind of loving it. I know I talked about how I’m not a fan of fake meat a few weeks ago, but I think I like seitan because:
- It’s homemade. No unidentified ingredients here.
- It’s simple.
- It’s got a ton of protein. Something that’s really important to Mark (because so swole, brah) and should be really important to me as a vegetarian / almost vegan who works out.
- It’s super tasty…if treated correctly.
So, uh, what’s seitan?
Glad you asked. Seitan is made from a special ingredient called…vital wheat gluten.
You can probably guess that wheat gluten is not gluten free. In fact, it’s the complete opposite. It’s all gluten, bb.
That’s not a bad thing if you don’t have celiac disease or a gluten intolerance. Gluten is just protein. A wonderful, versatile, easy-to-use source of plant-based protein. In fact, a 1/4 cup serving of the stuff has a whopping 23 g of pure protein. Cray, right?
Gluten is what gives gluten-full breads its wonderful stretch and chew. A perfectly chewy pizza crust? You can thank our good friend gluten for that.
You can read more about how vital wheat gluten is made here, but the tl;dr version is that it’s made by washing wheat flour until the starch is removed. Starch + a bit of fiber + gluten = wheat flour.
Yay food science!
Once you mix it with some spice and liquid and then bake it, you’ll have a log of tasty protein-filled setian.
Got it. So if that’s all it is, why does it have such a weird name?
Good question. I have no idea.
But it’s totally weird right?
Okay…so how do I make this Easy Italian Seitan recipe?
Let’s do it!
1. Mix your ingredients.
The only hands-on part of this entire recipe. I know! See, I told you! So easy.
Like pretty much every baked good recipe, we’ll mix our dry ingredients (vital wheat gluten and spices) with our wet ingredients (veggie stock, tomato paste, vinegar, soy sauce, and olive oil)
Once together, the mixture is going to start to look…uh, weird. Just super weird. Kind of fluffy, super thick, a little wet, and just all around…weird. It’ll come together in one mass, but keep mixing until you don’t see any more flour.
Then, dump it out on your counter and knead it a bit. Just like bread dough, only extremely stretchy. You only need to knead it (heh) 5-10 times, then you’ll form it into a log, wrap it up in aluminum foil, and move onto step 2!
Seitan bakes for a long time at a somewhat low temperature, 90 minutes at 350 degrees F. That’s okay. In that time, you can do a lot of things.
Read a book. Binge a TV show. Play with your floof. Drink some beer. Clean the kitchen floors, aka. the task you’ve been putting off for far, far too long. You do you. Just give it some time to get all baked and loafy.
In order to really cut this thing, you’ll need to let it chill, preferably overnight, in the fridge.
But after that, you can chop it, slice it, or whatever you want to do with it and eat!
My personal fave? Cutting it into cubes and frying it up like little chunks of crispy tofu. It has, more or less, the same texture as tofu, but it’s tasty because of all of the seasonings we added.
You can also do another thing with it that you’re going to see soon on the blog and omg I can’t even handle how excited I am about it eek!
Easy Italian Seitan
|Prep:||Cook:||Yield: 4-6 servings||Total:|
A vegan protein powerhouse, easily made at home! Customize the flavors to your taste buds and have a tasty, simple protein addition to any meal.
- 1 cup + 3/4 cup + 2 Tbsp. vital wheat gluten
- 2 Tbsp. nutritional yeast
- 1 and 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
- 1 tsp. smoked paprika
- 2 and 1/2 tsp. Italian seasoning
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1/2 tsp. red pepper flakes
- pepper, to taste
- 2 cups vegetable stock
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 2 Tbsp. soy sauce
- 2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
- 1 Tbsp. tomato paste
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.
- Grab a large bowl. Add your vital wheat gluten, nutritional yeast, garlic powder, smoked paprika, Italian seasoning, salt, red pepper flakes, and pepper, and whisk to combine. Set aside.
- In a smaller bowl, combine your stock, oil, soy sauce, balsamic, and tomato paste. Whisk to combine.
- Pour your wet ingredients into your dry ingredients, and mix with a wooden spoon. The mixture will look kind of curdled and it'll be thick and stretchy, but keep stirring until you don't see any more flour.
- Scoop your mixture onto a clean work surface, and knead it 10 times. Shape into a 8-inch log, and wrap tightly in two pieces of aluminum foil. Twist the ends and fold them up.
- Place your aluminum log on a baking sheet, and bake for 85-90 minutes, or until the log seems firm to the touch. Remove from the oven and place on a cooling rack.
- Once at room temperature, place in the fridge overnight. The next day, unwrap, slice, and enjoy!
Adapted from the Hot for Food Cookbook (affiliate link)
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