Archives for May 2013

Spicy Seitan

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!

spicy seitan

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.

Spicy Seitan
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Spicy Seitan


1 - 15 oz. can white beans (rinsed and drained)

2 c. water

1/4 c. olive oil

1 tsp. soy sauce

2 tsp. onion powder

1 tsp. sea salt

1 tsp. garlic powder

1 tsp. cumin

1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper

1/4 tsp. chili powder

2 3/4 c. vital wheat gluten


    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.

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 Have you ever tried or made seitan?

Vegan Chili

Can you believe how fast time flies? It was 4 years ago — almost to the day — that I was rubbing elbows with Joey Fatone, cooking my vegan chili for the TV show My Family Recipe Rocks! I’ve been cooking this recipe for almost 17 years now! Back in 2000, a good friend of mine made it especially for me, knowing I was a vegetarian. (SO KIND!) I was ecstatic to be able to eat chili again!

Sure, nowadays being vegetarian or vegan isn’t so difficult; but back in 2000 or the late 90’s?

Yikes. SLIM pickin’s! There was ONE brand of soy crumbles and most people curled their nose at the mention of “vegetarian chili”. That is… until they tried it.

Over the years, I’ve converted my friends’ recipe a bit, modifying it to my changing tastes and using various protein choices – since there are now so many! This recipe is really easy to make your OWN. You can change the spice level, you can use your favorite meatless protein source and it will always turn out amazing.

my family recipe rocks vegan chili

Its even won “Best Vegetarian Chili” twice at work events! Even the hearty meat eaters, who swear by meat-based chili enjoy my meat-free, vegan chili. (The word “vegan” tends to scare some people off, so I sometimes say vegetarian instead. LOL)

vegan chili my family recipe rocks

Vegan Chili
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Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour, 45 minutes

Total Time: 2 hours, 15 minutes

Yield: 16 cups (8 Servings)

Serving Size: 2 cups

Vegan Chili


Prepare spices first in a small dish and set aside.

1 TBSP. chili powder (or less if you want it less spicy)

1 TBSP. dried basil

1 TBSP. dried oregano

1 TBSP. ground cumin

1 tsp. black pepper

1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper

1/2 tsp. Real salt

Main ingredients

2.5 cups homemade seitan

(or other protein; I sometimes add cooked quinoa, Soyrizo is great too)

2 medium onions, chopped

3 cloves garlic, pressed

3 - 26.46 oz. containers of chopped Pomi tomatoes*

1 - 7 oz. can tomato paste

1-2 yellow and/or sweet bell peppers, seeds removed and chopped

2 - 15 oz. cans dark red kidney beans drained**

*I avoid using canned tomato products due to BPA lining. You can also use fresh tomatoes - 12 romas and 6 large beefsteak, diced with seeds removed, add 1 c. water to pot.

**I like to buy these BPA free or in paper containers too.


    1. In a large stock pot on medium heat add chopped onions and a couple tablespoons of water. Stir well and let cook for 2-3 minutes.

    2. Add pressed garlic, stir well and cook until the onions start to become transparent.

    3. Add desired protein (seitan, soyrizo, soy crumbles - whatever you prefer) and stir well.

    4. Add all of the spices and stir well until combined.

    5. Add chopped tomatoes and stir. Add tomato paste and stir well until combined.

    6. Keep on low to medium heat while you prepare the remaining ingredients. Remember to stop and stir the chili once or twice to avoid scorching or overheating on the bottom.

    7. Drain and rinse kidney beans, add to pot and stir.

    8. Prepare sweet peppers by removing seeds and chopping into small pieces, then add to pot and stir.

    9. Let simmer for at least one hour, on low heat, stirring every 20 minutes. I set a timer after each stir, so I don't forget!

    10. It freezes great and tastes even better when reheated.This is GREAT with cornbread or tortilla chips, we've topped it with everything from vegenaise, to cashew cream to Daiya Jalapeño Havarti.

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vegan chili my family recipe rocks

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