How to Cook Store Bought Seitan

What is seitan?

Seitan, a plant-based meat alternative made of wheat gluten, is extremely popular and very versatile in the kitchen. Commonly believed to have been invented by ancient vegetarian Buddhists in China and Japan for more than 1,000 years ago, seitan has more protein per serving than tofu. The word seitan (pronounced say-tan) comes from the Japanese words “sei” and “tan”, which together loosely translate to “made of proteins.” Although commonly mispronounced as “satan”, this cruelty-free meat substitute is far from bad. On the contrary, it is actually quite delicious, versatile, and super easy to prepare. What’s more, it is one of the few meat substitutes that truly tastes like meat!

Where do I find seitan?

While not as common as tofu, the most popular vegan protein, seitan can still be found in many large chain supermarkets or neighborhood grocery stores. However, you’re more likely to find this delicious meat alternative at your nearest natural or organic food store, usually near the tofu and tempeh. While purchasing unprepared seitan can be more fun and gives you more recipe options to choose from, you can still find many premade seitan dishes in the frozen foods section, such as vegan ‘chicken’ and even burger patties.

How do I cook/prepare seitan?

Store bought seitan is surprisingly easy to prepare. For fast and easy preparation, you just dice or slice it up, toss it in a pan with some oil of choice, add in some choice seasonings, cook for a few minutes, and you’re good to go! Unlike tofu, seitan doesn’t need to be pressed (to dry out excess water) and it soaks up flavor much quicker as well. Also, as mentioned earlier, it truly has a meaty texture that blows tofu and other meat substitutes out the water.

The quick and easy instructions above are great if you’re just looking to quickly add the seitan to your plate in a matter of minutes, with no extra preparation involved. If you have a little more time or want to really get your hands dirty in the kitchen, here are five delicious and fairly easy seitan recipes to try. Number three is out of this world!

#1: Seitan and Broccoli Stir Fry

Seitan is the vegan’s answer for roast beef. This easy-to-make recipe takes the popular dish and replaces the beef with seitan, making it a low-calorie yet delicious vegan meal. Once cooked, the stir fry can then be served with hot cooked brown rice or Asian noodles, along with any other seasonings you’re in the mood for.

#2: Vegan Fajita Bowl

If you’re wanting Mexican tonight, look no further than these delicious vegan fajita bowls. The seitan is seasoned and sauteed with garlic mushrooms, red bell peppers, and maple lime quinoa. What’s not to love? To top it off, this recipe only takes about thirty minutes to make!

#3: Buffalo Seitan Bites

Aside from the shape, you’ll be hard pressed to tell whether or not this is made with real chicken. These tender yet chewy buffalo bites are perfect as appetizers at the table or even as a snack while watching the big game. Serve them with vegan ranch and you’re golden!

#4: Vegan Seitan Ribz

These seitan ribs are simply amazing, and can be lathered in barbecue sauce or lightly seasoned with salt and pepper. For a complete dish, serve these vegan ribs with steamed broccoli and a grilled potato. “Grill Master” apron and lemonade/beer optional.

#5: Meatless Gyro Wrap

Craving a gyro but want to forgo the meat? Look no further than this seitan gyro wrap! This recipe combines the flavorful and heavy seitan and pita bread with fresh veggies such as spinach, cucumbers, and lemon dill, making it a perfectly balanced (and super healthy) treat.