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Basic Seitan

Seitan is a meat substitute. It is made from wheat gluten and is quite high in protein and low in fat. With the right materials it is relatively easy to make. 

I prefer it over tofu in many recipes because it is less likely to fall apart and it accepts flavor as well. It has been my experience, over years of feeding vegetarians, that people generally either love it or hate it. If you hate it, skip it. If you love it, you'll find a recipe that's easier than any I've read. If it's new to you, give it a try. It's quite versatile. 

You can store extras in the refrigerator in the broth you used to cook it. It will keep for about a week and a half.


  • 1 gallon water

  • 1 chunk of ginger

  • 1/2 cup of soy sauce

  • 1 cup gluten flour (also known as high gluten flour, 
    or 80% gluten flour)

  • 1 to 2 cups warm water

 Makes 2 1/2 pounds.


  1. In a large pot begin boiling the gallon of water, along with the ginger and soy sauce.

  2. Mix the gluten with 1 to 2 cups warm water, mixing it with your hands until it becomes a sticky blob.

  3. Run cold water over it and knead it underwater for a few minutes, changing the water when it gets cloudy. 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.

  4. When the water boils, cut pieces of gluten about the size of a finger and drop them into the pot. Cook for 1 1/2-2 hours.

(Editor's Note: Seitan can be used as a meat substitute in any recipe that calls for meat... i.e. stir fry, spaghetti sauce, chili, "meat" stew, etc.)

This recipe was excerptedfrom The Accidental Vegan, 2000. Reprinted with permission from the publisher: The Crossing Press Inc., P.O. Box 1048, Freedom, CA 95019. http://crossingpress.com.

Info/Order this book


About The Author

Devra Gartenstein is the accidental vegan (vegetarian that uses no dairy, eggs, or any type of animal product). She stumbled on vegan cooking due to the overwhelming number of requests from people who were customers of her catering service. She had to adjust every recipe to make it at least as good, if not better than, meat-based or fat-based food. So the cooking in this recipe book has been pushed to the max. Her chapter on the use of seitan is worth the cost of the book by itself. Devra is the owner of The Lucky Palate in Seattle. Visit her website at http://luckypalate.com/index.shtml.

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