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Tender Seitan Slices In Herbed Gravy

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Turkeys aren't very thankful when it comes to Thanksgiving due to the fact that they all know that they are going to be the Main Course in most households across North America on the 4th Thursday in November every year.  As a longtime dedicated vegan, I am always looking for main course alternatives to meat, poultry, and fish.  

Seitan (pronounced say-tahn) is not to be confused with Satan, which is also known as The Devil. Seitan isn't evil; it's just misunderstood.

Seitan has been around for centuries, but for the average consumer, it seems it is only now a new revelation.  Seitan is also known as Meat Of Wheat, as it is made using vital wheat gluten.  

Making your own seitan isn't as complicated as most people assume it is.  It can take a long time, if you make it completely from scratch (which involves isolating the wheat gluten on your own by starting with 8 cups of white flour and 8 cups of whole wheat flour mixed with water to form a dough and then washing and rinsing the dough until all the water runs clear, which can take several hours.)

Over the years, I have tried many, many seitan recipes and all of them fell short somehow, so I developed this recipe using a lot of trial and error, but  now I think it has reached Perfection as well as an award-winning status :)

Lucky for all of you, there are shortcuts that make this very easy to make (!)  The key to this recipe is the gravy.  If your gravy is good, your seitan will also taste good. 

We all like easy and uncomplicated recipes, especially during the hectic holiday season when time always runs out at the most inopportune moments.  

Equipment:

heavy duty aluminum foil
food processor with a "S"-blade
Steamer* (You can use a big pot with a lid and a colander instead if that is all you have)
colander
measuring cups
can opener (if you are using canned garbanzo beans)
saucepan
spoon or spatula for stirring

Ingredients:

3 c Vital Wheat Gluten Flour (I use Bob's Red Mill, but use whatever you can find)
1-15 oz can organic garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed  (or dried garbanzo beans that have been fully cooked, drained and rinsed)
2 c Herbed Gravy* (see below)

Herbed Gravy Ingredients:
1/4 c vegan margarine (I use Earth Balance Original, either Buttery Spread or Buttery Sticks)
1/2 c fresh minced herbs of choice (rosemary, oregano, thyme, sage, etc)
2 TBSP dried herbs of choice (usually a mixture of Organic Poultry Seasoning and Kirkland Organic No Salt Seasoning from Costco)
2 vegan chicken-style bouillon cubes (I use No-Chicken Bouillon Cubes from Edward & Sons)
4 c plain unsweetened nondairy milk (I use almond milk)
1/4 c Tapioca Flour (Bob's Red Mill or other brand)
1-2 tsp garlic granules or powder
1-2 tsp onion powder or flakes
salt & pepper, to taste* (FYI: Bouillon cubes are salty, so you probably won't need to add any additional salt)

Melt margarine/heat oil in a saucepan on low heat. Add minced herbs. Dissolve corn starch/tapioca starch/flour in 3 c cold, plain, unsweetened almond or other nondairy milk . Add to saucepan, along with vegan bouillon cube dissolved in water, garlic, onion powder & salt & pepper, if desired . Stir continuously on medium heat until gravy thickens. Use to make Tender Seitan Slices with Herbed Gravy.

Now that you have the recipe, lets get started!

You will want to make the gravy first.  Once made, set it aside and allow to cool (It can be warm, but if it is too hot, you will burn your hands when trying to knead the seitan..).

Set up your food processor with the "S"-Blade.

Prepare garbanzo beans by draining and rinsing off with cool water in a colander.

Add garbanzo beans to the food processor bowl and pulse for 30-45 seconds, or until they are well chopped (but not pureed).

Add cooled gravy to pulsed garbanzo beans.

Pulse again for 30-45 seconds or until well blended.

Slowly add vital wheat gluten flour to the food processor a cup at a time.  

You know when it's done when it starts to form a ball of soft, stretchy, slightly shiny dough.

Remove from food processor and knead for 3-5 minutes or until smoothed out. Cover, and allow to rest 30 minutes. Meanwhile, start a pot of water to boil or set up a steamer.

Break into 4 smaller balls of dough and roll out into logs.

Wrap tightly in foil and steam seitan for 1 hour and 15 minutes. (Note: Depending on your steamer size, you may not be able to fit all of them in there at once.  That's OK, but make sure all your raw seitan is wrapped in foil until ready to be steamed. It is best to steam it as soon as possible though, because it doesn't turn out as well if you wait more than a couple of hours to steam it).

Carefully remove foil packet from steam, unwrap and allow to cool slightly before slicing.

After being steamed and sliced,  place slices in a lightly greased baking dish, completely cover slices with Vegan Herbed Gravy, then cover dish with foil and bake at 350ºF for 60-90 minutes.

Serve alongside other veganized Thanksgiving foods (such as mashed potatoes, festive cranberry relish, candied yams, wild rice stuffing, and if you are not stuffed, gluten-free vegan pumpkin or pecan pie(!)

Happy Thanksgiving (especially from the turkeys)!
davisest9 months ago
What am I doing wrong? The dough was so sticky and although I kept adding gluten flour while trying to knead it just stuck to my counter and hands. DId I not pulse long enough? I ended up spraying the dough with pam so I could manage it. Please advise? Have not steamed it yet but hoping it turns out with so much extra flour added!
SLCVeganista (author)  davisest9 months ago
Was the gravy hot when you added it? It needs to be around room temperature or cooler-otherwise it will cook your vital wheat gluten and react too soon and make it the wrong consistency.
That might have been my problem! I was too impatient! Thanks for the info! Despite the kinks it worked out so well which says a lot for this recipe!! The gravy was soooo nice! Only had dried herbs but it was really good!!
davisest9 months ago
Looks different than the picture but smells and tastes lovely! Any tips on managing the kneading part so dough is not so sticky and messy would be much appreciated. I just used regular gluten flour. Not sure if that made a difference?
SLCVeganista (author)  davisest9 months ago
Yes-it does make a difference if you use regular gluten flour vs vital wheat gluten flour. I use Bob's Red Mill pretty much exclusively and it turns out right every time.
I will try the Bob's next time. Despite my problems it was very delicious and everyone enjoyed it! I will be keeping this recipe for sure!!
tobyjug31 year ago
After steaming, can the seitan be frozen in the log form?
SLCVeganista (author)  tobyjug31 year ago
I've never done it, but I'm sure it could be frozen as a log and be OK.
SLCVeganista (author) 1 year ago
Also...I have made it with flour before (as part of the gravy)...the texture didn't turn out quite right...it was sort of "bready"...tasted OK, but not quite right...
SLCVeganista (author) 1 year ago
Tapioca Flour is also known as Tapioca Starch. Most well-stocked grocery stores carry it - it is usually either in the baking section, the natural food section, or sometimes it might be in the gluten-free section (if your store has one). Also, pretty much every Asian store carries it too, so if you don't have luck at the grocery store, check at one of those. It works similarly to flour in that it acts as a thickening agent (as in gravy). However, I use tapioca starch/flour rather than flour because it creates a much smoother consistency and it doesn't clump up like flour does when it cools down (it stays thick but doesn't become a big blob...)
rrkrose1 year ago
I wish I had seen this before Thanksgiving but I will have to make this anyway. I just have one question about the recipe. What is tapioca flour and why should I use that instead of regular flour?
mpickles1 year ago
I have this cooking right now - the gravy is so delicious, that I really don't want to wait to bake it, once it finishes steaming. Wasn't too hard to make, can't wait to taste!
This sounds great! I've always had trouble with my seitan getting too wet and falling apart - maybe steaming would help. I bet this would be extra awesome followed by some vegan pecan pie :)
SLCVeganista (author)  shesparticular1 year ago
Steaming I think helps a lot - in fact, I think it is a key element to making good seitan. When I first started making seitan, I used other recipes that I found online and every one of them said to boil it... Texturally, it was very bad when I did it that way. It was gristly, like chewing on a piece of fat or something. Steaming is WAY better :) Slicing the steamed seitan and then baking it in gravy for an hour or so totally makes this recipe shine. In the past, I baked the whole loaf in gravy, but slicing it first makes a huge difference. Each slice soaks up the moisture and flavor of the gravy. My dad, who isn't a fan of faux meats at all, really loved this, and my mom, who is more open to faux meat said this was the best seitan she has ever had in her life (and not just because she's my mom, but because she actually did think that).
SLCVeganista (author) 1 year ago
I agree- it would be totally awesome followed by a vegan pecan pie! Might have to go make one right now :)
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