This spicy seitan recipe was a dream come true for Mr. Zucchini Runner and I, when I made the first batch. It is an excellent substitute for meat because of it’s texture and I like that it is not just a lump of tofu either. It is bursting with flavor and loaded with protein. I originally found the recipe on Vegan Dad’s website and then started creating my own variations shortly after! Making a spicy seitan to add to chili seemed to make perfect sense, as well as a version that didn’t have any fennel or sausage-like spices!
The one drawback to seitan, is that it is NOT celiac or gluten-sensitive friendly. It is almost entirely gluten – hence the name “vital wheat gluten” as the primary ingredient. We have been trying to reduce the amount of gluten in our diets, treating it how we treat desserts – in moderation – so I don’t make this often. Luckily it freezes very well and makes a good size loaf.
Another fun fact about this recipe? It is featured along with my Vegan Chili on My Family Recipe Rocks! It works great as a replacement to deli slices, and you can switch up the spices to create whatever flavor you want, since vital wheat gluten doesn’t really have a strong flavor alone.
1. Get a large steamer heated. I use a large stock pot filled with 1" water and place a steaming pot (with holes), inside of it. You will also need to preheat your oven to 350° F, but you can do that in the last 10 minutes of steaming.
2. Combine all of the above ingredients in a blender with the exception of the vital wheat gluten, and process until the beans are tiny, tiny bits.
3. Measure the vital wheat gluten into a large bowl and pour the blender contents over the vital wheat gluten and stir with a wooden spoon or spatula immediately. The gluten will be very sticky and start to gel together, so you may need to finish it up with your hands. You want a dough ball essentially, so mix it really well!
4. Shape the dough into an oblong cylinder the best you can and wrap in aluminum foil tightly, ensuring you seal the ends and seam very well. The gluten will expand and the tighter the foil is, the firmer the seitan will be. If you want a softer texture, you can wrap it loosely, but still seal all the openings well.
5. Steam for 30 minutes. (Once your steamer is producing steam, you can turn the heat to low.)
6. After 30 minutes of cooking, use oven mits to get the loaf out of the steamer. Be very careful!!
7. Place loaf directly on oven rack of preheated oven and bake for an additional 35-40 minutes.
8. Remove from oven and cool for 30 minutes, with foil still in tact.
9. Once it has cooled, you can carefully remove the foil and see your loaf of seitan! It can be sliced for sandwiches as a lunch "meat" or you can refrigerate it overnight and then blend it in a food processor to use in place of ground beef or turkey. I sometimes use it in my homemade vegan chili.