Smokey, intensely savoury, Seitan Steaks are on the menu today. These vegan steaks are packed with big onion, mushroom and garlic flavours with extra smokiness, wrapped and roasted as a slab of vegan meat, before being carved and finished off in a griddle pan, or on the grill.
Seitan has been a constant companion of mine on my journey to eat less meat. Once you've got the hang of it, it's really quite a joy to whip up and flavour. Today's recipe is for steaks, and we're serving them with an absolutely wonderful sauce, that I've dubbed the Everything Steak Sauce. There's both a meaty and a vegan version over on that recipe. The sauce is a hybrid between a burnt shallot sauce, a peppercorn sauce and a boozy brandy sauce - it complements these steaks and almost everything else you'll ever eat.
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Let's dive in and learn how to make seitan. Shall we?
What Is Seitan?
Seitan is made using vital wheat gluten - the high protein gluten that's left behind after rinsing away the starch from wheat. It is the base for a whole range of vegan meat alternatives that you'll find available in all the supermarkets. There's a fantastic piece all about seitan over on The Spruce Eats, go check that out if you're interested in what exactly seitan is.
Buying ready-made seitan is super expensive. Making it at home is not. At its core, it's just vital wheat gluten, mixed with a flavoured broth and some herbs and spices. The dough we make is a versatile vessel for just about anything.
If you're a regular around here, you'll know that I haven't yet to publish a "standard" seitan recipe, although that is on my to-do list. Instead, I've flavoured each recipe with its final use in mind. My Vegan Doner Kebab recipe is a good example of how you can pack the seitan dough, or "meat" with the flavours that mimic the meaty version of what you want to create.
Ingredients For Seitan Steak
For this recipe you will need:
- 1 large onion - roughly diced
- 150 grams of chestnut mushrooms - portobello or white mushrooms will work too
- 4 cloves of garlic
- One 400g tin of cannellini beans
- One tablespoon of each of liquid smoke & marmite
- Two tablespoons of tomato puree
- Half a tablespoon each of mustard powder, dried rosemary and dried thyme
- 2 teaspoons of salt
- A teaspoon of ground pepper
- 6 sundried tomatoes - the ones that come in oil
- 450 grams of vital wheat gluten - plus 50 - 75g for dusting and kneading
- 50 grams of chickpea flour
- 400ml vegetable stock - made using one stock cube
Changes & Substitutions
If you don't have liquid smoke or marmite, soy sauce and miso, respectively, could work in their places. I'd highly recommend sourcing liquid smoke though - it adds, well, a smokiness to the seitan that's difficult to replicate. Miso will add a deep umami flavour, which is exactly what the marmite is here for.
As with other seitan recipes on this blog, you can replace the chickpea flour with pea protein if you wish. You will likely need to add 20 - 30 grams of additional wheat gluten though.
It's also possible to replace the mustard powder with mustard, just double the quantity. Likewise, you could replace the dried herbs with fresh herbs.
How To Make Vegan Steak
I hope you're ready to get your hands dirty and make some seitan steaks. The process is super straightforward. You will need to grab your blender out of the cupboard though, so do that before we dive in.
Wet Ingredient Prep
First up, roughly dice the onion. You don't need to be too precise here, as we're going to pop it in the blender shortly. Add about 1.5 tablespoons of oil to a frying pan over medium heat and then add the onions. Saute the for about 5 minutes until they're soft.
Whilst the onions soften, roughly dice, or slice, the mushrooms and garlic - add those to the pan with the onions and cook, over low heat, for about 10 minutes - or until the mushrooms are cooked, but not browned. Meanwhile, gather all remaining ingredients.
Next, transfer all ingredients, except vital wheat gluten and chickpea flour, to a blender and blitz until you have a smooth liquid, almost the consistency of a smoothie. Do not try it at this point - it'll taste weird, and you'll think I'm leading you down the garden path.
Adding The Dry Ingredients & Shaping
We're nearly there! Next up, add the chickpea flour and vital wheat gluten to a large mixing bowl, stirring to combine. Then, pour in the blender's contents and stir, stir, STIR until everything is well combined and a dough has formed.
Finally for this stage, liberally dust your work surface with wheat gluten, tip the dough on top, and knead for 10. Stretch and shape the dough into a slab or log and wrap tightly in tinfoil. Make sure the ends are covered properly. You might want to add a couple of tin foil layers to be on the safe side here. You really don't want the dough to be exposed in the oven and to burn.
A quick note on shaping your seitan. The final shape doesn't affect the taste or texture of your steaks, so if you're struggling to get it perfect, don't worry about it, it'll still taste fab!
Cooking The Seitan
Place the, well wrapped, seitan log onto a baking tray and bake at 180c for one hour, turning half way through.
Allow the seitan to cool slightly before unwrapping. Slice thick "steaks", about an inch and a half thick, brush with either olive oil OR, if you're feeling fancy, a garlic oil, and cook in a super hot griddle pan, for 6 - 7 minutes each side.
That's it, you're ready to serve.
What To Serve With Seitan Steak
So aside from my Everything Steak Sauce, I'd ordinarily go for one of the following combinations. First, the CLASSIC, seitan steaks, chips with grilled mushrooms and tomatoes. How could you possibly go wrong with that?
When I'm pretending to be on a health kick, my second option is crushed new potatoes and some roasted broccoli. Easy.
Slice leftover seitan into thin strips and serve in a toasted sandwich with your favourite vegan cheese and lashings of super green pesto.
More Seitan Recipes
Did You Try This Recipe?
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- 1.5 tbsp olive oil
- 1 large onion
- 150 grams chestnut mushrooms
- 4 cloves of garlic
- 400 g tin of cannellini beans
- 1 tbsp liquid smoke
- 1 tbsp marmite
- ½ tbsp mustard powder
- ½ tbsp dried rosemary
- ½ tbsp dried thyme
- 2 tsp salt
- 2 tbsp tomato puree
- 1 tsp ground pepper
- 6 sundried tomatoes
- 400 ml vegetable stock
- 50 g chickpea flour
- 450 g vital wheat gluten + 50 - 75g for dusting, and kneading
- Pre-heat oven to 180°C
- Roughly dice onion, soften in a frying pan, with oil over medium heat, about 5 minutes.
- Whilst the onions cook, roughly dice the mushrooms and garlic. Add to the pan with the onions, turn heat down low and cook for about 10 minutes - or until the mushrooms are cooked.
- Add onions, garlic, mushrooms and all remaining ingredients (except chickpea flour and vital wheat gluten) to a blender and blend until you have a smooth, smoothie like, liquid.
- Add the chickpea flour and vital wheat gluten to a large mixing bowl, stir until well combined.
- Add the wet ingreidents from the blender and mix until well combined, and a dough has formed.
- Dust your work surface liberally with wheat gluten, and tip your seitan dough onto the work surface and knead for 10 minutes.
- Form the seitan into a log, slab or ball and wrap tightly in aluminium foil. The shaping doesn't have to be perfect, it won't affect the taste or texture of your finished steaks, but it will look stunning.
- Pop the tightly wrapped seitan onto a baking tray and cook for one hour, flipping half way through the cooking time.
- Remove the seitan from the oven, allowed to cool slightly before unwrapping. Unwrap and carve out four 1.5 inch steaks.
- Cook the steaks in a hot griddle pan for 6 minutes per side.