Seitan in a Plant-Based Diet

You may be wondering why I’m sharing an article on seitan–which is gluten–as a meat-like substitute in vegan or plant-based diets when there’s such negative hype about gluten intolerance and the inflammatory perils of ingesting even the slightest bit of it into the body.

Well, for one thing, in my mind, the jury’s still out about gluten being bad for everyone. Yes, I know there are people with celiac disease and similar conditions for whom even the slightest hint of gluten is impossible and dangerous. And yes, there are people with gluten intolerance that, while the condition may not be life-threatening, have uncomfortable and sometimes severe digestive and inflammatory reactions that can affect their ability to function on many levels.

However, I do not seem to have any intolerance to gluten, and I’ve never been a heavy wheat, bread, or pasta eater, anyway. I’m sure there are many other plant-basers out there who aren’t sensitive to gluten, and so for us, seitan can be a wonderful addition to our diets.

Recently, I’ve tried a couple of different methods of making seitan and my favorite so far is very similar to this recipe I’m sharing with you below. Rather than use vegan chicken or beef flavored bouillon powder, I just made a strong broth from homemade vegetable broth powder, powdered onion and garlic, liquid aminos, tamari, nutritional yeast, and a few fresh herbs from the garden. I didn’t put any seasonings in the gluten flour mix at all; the flavoring seeped in sufficiently from the strong vegetable broth during the slow simmering process.

Warning: My seitan pieces seemed to swell to about four times their size, not just double, while simmering, and they looked like big sponges bobbing around on top of the hot liquid. Once they were cooled, though, they did subside to about double their uncooked size. Use a big enough pot.