By now, tofu and tempeh are widely known as awesome alternatives to meat. Add mushrooms and legumes to the list, and you’re good to go as far as plant-based substitutes go—well, almost good to go. There’s one more important—and seriously amazing—option that needs to be in your vegan protein repertoire: seitan.
Pronounced say-tan or say-tahn, it’s made from the gluten found in wheat, and when mixed with spices and hydrated with water or stock, turns into a chewy high-protein source that works well in everything from wraps to roasts. Plus, it’s often found in mainstream grocery stores, and it’s surprisingly easy to make at home so it’s way more accessible than you might think.
But don’t just take our word for it—try it out for yourself. These 19 seitan recipes prove that while its name may sound kind of devilish, you’ll feel #blessed once you make it part of your life.
Everyone loves a grain bowl these days, but make yours grain-free by using mashed kabocha squash instead. The naturally sweet veggie is a perfect flavor and texture match for the seitan, which is coated in a homemade, lower-sugar teriyaki sauce, while some steamed broccoli rounds out the dish.
Next time Meatless Monday rolls around, try this take on a stroganoff. The creamy gravy here uses plant-based milk instead of dairy, incorporates seitan strips along with portobello slices for extra beefiness without the beef, and is served on top of polenta instead of egg noodles just to keep things interesting.
Seasoned generously with chili powder, paprika, coriander, and cinnamon, the seitan in these gyros have a complexity that proves just how flavorful vegan cooking can be. Fresh spinach and cucumber plus sautéed bell peppers add some crunch, while a zesty vegan aioli adds a touch of richness.
Diced mango chunks add a surprising but totally welcome burst of sweetness to this otherwise savory stir-fry, without adding a ton of sugar as most teriyaki sauces do. It’s a quick and easy way to get your take-out fix without the unhealthy ingredients.
No grill needed for these seitan kebabs—all you need is a working oven. The made-from-scratch wheat protein is kicked up in flavor with herbs, liquid smoke, tomato paste, and Worcestershire sauce, so the skewers taste exceptional enough on their own. But you really don’t want to leave out the accompanying peanut sauce—creamy and addictive, it’s what really makes the satay shine.
A really good meatless burger is hard to come by. Store-bought ones taste too processed. Black bean ones can be dry. And portobello ones, well, they’re not convincing anyone. But this one, with seitan for meaty texture, dried porcinis for umami flavor, and beets for some authentic color, may just end your hunt for an herbivore-friendly hamburger.
Ground seitan makes for an uncanny imitation of pork in these light but filling bundles. Cooked with maple syrup, lime juice, lemongrass, and serrano chili, it makes for a sweet, sour, and savory filling that’s perfect with the cool and crisp Boston lettuce.
Add some protein to your Asian-inspired vegetarian noodles by tossing in a pack of seitan strips. They provide a meaty bite to the dish and hold up impressively to the rich, slightly spicy peanut sauce.
These Middle Eastern-inspired pita pockets resemble the popular shawarma sandwich, but instead of roasted meat, it’s skillet-cooked seitan tucked inside, and instead of regular yogurt, this tzatziki sauce is a vegan blend of cashews, garlic, and lemon. It rivals anything you’d get from a food truck!
Thickened up with cornstarch and sweetened with coconut sugar, this Mongolian-inspired sauce is a quick, better-for-you alternative to store-bought condiments that come with hidden sugars and MSG. Pan-cooking the seitan separately makes sure it can get nice and crispy before being tossed into the sauce.
As the name probably implies, there’s usually nothing vegan about a Philly cheesesteak. However, this recipe makes a few clever, herbivore-friendly swaps by using seitan strips for the meat and nondairy cheese, plus throwing in a heap of sautéed peppers and onions for some extra veggie action. Stuffed into hoagie rolls, they make for a fun, casual yet hearty dinner.
If you’re too time-crunched to cook a Bourguignonne and too vegan to eat beef, this version of the classic French stew might be what you need. You’ll still get the rich, red wine-kissed broth, the sliced carrots, and the fresh herbs, but seitan stands in for the meat, and the whole thing comes together in just an hour (as opposed to several).
It’s the most annoying when everyone else around you gets to tuck into adorable meat sliders while you’re stuck with a big-as-your-head portobello bun. Now, you can get in on the mini burger fun with these mini seitan sliders. Packed with a Sriracha avocado spread, seitan pieces sautéed in pineapple juice, and a cilantro pineapple salsa, they may be small in size, but they’re enormous on flavor.
Most of the ingredients in this long-looking list are basic pantry spices like cumin and oregano, so don’t let it scare you off. While you will have to make sure you’ve got a dark beer, seitan, and cornmeal on hand, they lend such depth of flavor and hearty texture to this meatless chili that you’ll be so glad you didn’t skimp on them.
For a speedy 20-minute meal that gets in a hefty dose of protein and fiber, this skillet-cooked seitan and veggie dish fits the bill. Seasoned with soy and cumin and delicious served with rice, potatoes, quinoa, or even tortillas, it’s an especially helpful recipe to have on hand when you need something versatile and simple.
Making seitan from scratch sounds intimidating, but it’s surprisingly easy. This recipe kneads vital wheat gluten with oatmeal, yeast, and flax, then rolls the dough to resemble hot dogs that get put in a steamer. Making these at home also means you can pile on all the fixings you like.
Rather than the unrecognizable mush that was once served in school cafeterias all over, this meatless take on Salisbury steak is something you’ll actually look forward to eating. Made from a combination of lentils and wheat gluten then smothered in a mushroom and garlic gravy, it’s hearty and rustic—the ideal cold weather comfort food.
Sick of lentil tacos and bean burritos? There are other ways to do vegan Mexican night at home, like these juicy seitan fajitas. The wheat gluten is tossed with sliced veggies in a sweet and spicy honey, soy, cumin, and cayenne mixture and cooked until the sauce gets nicely absorbed. Scooped into tortillas, the filling is so tasty, you may not even need toppings.
Give tofu and mushrooms a break, and fill your crunchy (or soft) taco shells with this mouthwatering mix of crumbled seitan instead. Seasoned with a homemade spice mix of cumin, paprika, and garlic and onion powders, it’s a ridiculously easy recipe that yields a ridiculous amount of flavor.