I have never let my schooling interfere with my education. - Mark Twain

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Savoring success

A beefy style seitan has finally been achieved! (The previous attempt is documented here). Well, if not exactly 'beefy', it is at least darker than my standby turkey seitan, and it has officially been added to the WTM recipe files.

The way it slices up is not much different from the turkey seitan, but it has a deeper flavor and will definitely be more suited to dishes that need that beefy edge.

Often I question the necessity of long ingredient lists in recipes, but I would say none of the ingredients are superfluous in the recipe below; they all contribute to the flavor and texture of the end product. Now if you absolutely can't find one of the seasoning ingredients, give it a go anyway, especially if you will be using the seitan in another dish, and not just all be itself. It will still be good!

I tried to use as many 'real' ingredients as I had on hand for this recipe- i.e., minced onion and garlic instead of dried/granulated, but I also tried soy protein powder, which is of course a highly refined product. It worked great, and I don't eat boatloads of soy protein powder by any stretch, so it's not a concern here. You can use another flour instead of the soy protein if you do have a concern; I typically use garbanzo bean flour for sausages or turkey seitan.

Vegan beef-style broth powder, Marmite, and Liquid Smoke are also refined and/or concentrated products, but the small amounts used in the recipe contribute greatly in the flavor department. OK, that finishes the justification of the non-whole food ingredients!

Vegan Worcestershire (Wooster) sauce is becoming more widely available, so don't skip it if you can find it. Google it to find a recipe for homemade if your store doesn't carry it. The link is for a Martha Stewart (of all people) vegan Wooster sauce- go figure... I will post my version at some point, but usually get the Wizard brand if in a pinch.

There is no table salt added, as there is plenty of salty going on in the Tamari and Marmite, at least for my taste. And the black pepper seemed to be just enough- I get a hint on the back of the tongue, nothing that screams "Pepper!" I think sometimes people over-season meat and dairy alternatives to try to 'make up' for them not being meat or dairy. It's just not always necessary. At any rate the seasonings may be adjusted to taste.

Using a combination of steaming and baking makes this tender, yet plenty firm enough for thin slicing. I think steaming/baking has become my method of choice for larger seitan roasts, but I will likely continue to use just steaming for smaller sausages that cook more quickly. They seem to firm up just fine with steam all by its lonesome.

Savory Seitan Roast
Makes ~ 3 lbs.

Dry ingredients (will be about 4 cups, not packed):
2½ cups vital wheat gluten (two 6.5 oz. boxes of Hodgson Mill)
½ cup soy protein powder
½ cup finely ground almonds
½ cup nutritional yeast
1 Tbs. vegan beef-style broth powder (or 2 vegan beef-style bouillon cubes, blended with the wet ingredients to dissolve)
1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

Wet ingredients (will be about 28 oz.):
15 oz. can kidney beans, rinsed and drained, or about 1-2/3 cups home cooked (start with 4 oz. dry beans)
1½ cups water
½ cup minced onion (about half of a medium onion)
¼ cup Tamari or regular soy sauce
¼ cup neutral tasting oil (such as light olive oil or canola oil)
2 Tbs. tomato paste
1 Tbs. minced garlic (about 2 medium-large cloves)
1 Tbs. vegan Worcestershire sauce (preferred), or steak sauce
2 tsp. Marmite (available in the 'international' section of the grocery store)
2 tsp. liquid smoke

In a large bowl, mix the dry ingredients. In a blender, puree the wet ingredients. Scrape the wet puree into the dry mix, blend well, and knead to form a smooth dough. Shape into a loaf about 4" in diameter. Now it's a roast!

Prepare a steamer with at least an inch of water in the bottom, and bring water to a boil.

While water is coming to a boil, cut about a 24" length of foil and place roast in the middle of the foil, long sides of roast parallel to long sides of foil. You can wrap the roast in parchment first if you prefer- some people don't like the foil contacting the seitan, but I don't think these conditions are going to leach aluminum into the food.

Wrap foil up snugly around the roast, place in the covered steamer, and steam with heat reduced to maintain a steady simmer for 30 minutes.

Turn roast over in the steamer, meanwhile preheating the oven to 350° F, and allow to steam covered for 15 more minutes.

When finished steaming, place roast in the preheated oven and bake for 30-40 minutes. I took this roast out after 30 minutes, and it turned out great, but will try 40 minutes next time to see if it gets even a little firmer without drying out.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool a bit before slicing. The roast will firm up even more after refrigeration.


  1. This is a very interesting and creative recipe, I've never seen half of these ingredients in seitan before (soy protein? almonds? broth powder? brilliant!) but it sounds amazing and unique!

  2. Sarah, check out Felicity's seitan recipes at ThriftyLiving.net for where I first saw ground almonds in a seitan recipe. Soy protein powder I've seen on VegSpinz and other blogs. I've seen broth powder used in the simmering water for recipes which specify boiling as the cooking method, so I just incorporated it into the seitan itself (which I'm sure others have done, too!) This recipe swipes from many others which have gone before, trust me...