When I told my husband I was going to do a post about seitan, we had the following conversation:
"Well, if you do a post about seitan, the title should be 'Hail Seitan!'--get it? Hail Seitan?"
"I think that joke has been made before..."
Husband is completely dejected. "Aw, I thought that was clever."
"Nope, I'm pretty sure they even sell Hail Seitan t-shirts."
…and indeed, they do.
Seitan isn't something I use in a lot of my cooking, but since I'm not too keen on most meat substitutes, when I do use seitan, I'm so very glad it exists. Seitan is pretty much the perfect substitute for poultry. You can substitute it ounce-for-ounce, cup-for-cup anytime you have a recipe that calls for chicken or turkey. And you don't need to make many (or any!) adjustments to the recipe either--that alone is reason to
hail love seitan.
Seitan is made from wheat gluten, so if you're on a gluten-free diet, you're going to have to steer clear. It has a savory yet unassertive flavor that makes it the perfect addition to a variety of dishes. It also has a chewy, meaty texture. If you're looking for a meat substitute that's not a faux meat but still has that same mouthfeel, seitan is the way to go. You can find seitan sold in big slabs, slices, or small cubes--I usually buy the slices or cubes for the sake of convenience. Open up the package, drain out the liquid, and you're good to go.
Unfortunately, seitan isn't an ingredient that's easy to find everywhere. I have to go into the city to get mine, which is the main reason I don't cook with it all the time. Let's be real, if I went to my small town grocery store and asked the produce guy, "Hey, where can I find seitan?", I'd probably get some looks. Of course, if you can't buy it locally, you can make it yourself too, although I haven't tried it personally.
This Seitan Cacciatore recipe is the perfect example of how easy it is to use seitan to make a recipe meatless. The original Chicken Cacciatore recipe from Eating Well called for 16 ounces of chicken; I used 16 ounces of seitan. See? Simple!
- 16 oz. seitan drained and cubed
- ¼ c. all-purpose flour divided
- ¼ tsp. salt divided
- ¼ tsp. freshly ground pepper
- 2 tbsp. olive oil divided
- 8 oz. white mushrooms quartered
- 1 small onion sliced
- 2 tsp. chopped fresh rosemary + more for garnish or ¾ tsp. dried rosemary
- ½ c. dry white wine
- 1 14 ounce can no salt added diced tomatoes, drained
- 1 c. vegetable broth
- ¾ c. sliced jarred roasted red peppers rinsed
- ¼ c. quartered kalamata olives
- Place seitan in a large bowl. Slowly add 2 tablespoons of flour to bowl, stirring to coat all sides of seitan pieces. Sprinkle with ⅛ teaspoon of salt and pepper.
- Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add seitan and cook until browned on all sides, stirring often, about 3-5 minutes. Transfer to plate.
- Return skillet to medium heat and add remaining tablespoon of oil. Add mushrooms, onion, rosemary, and remaining salt. Cook until onion is golden brown, about 5 minutes. Sprinkle vegetables with remaining flour and stir until coated. Stir in wine and cook for 1 minute. Add tomatoes, broth, roasted red peppers, and olives; reduce heat to medium low.
- Once cacciatore comes to a simmer, add seitan. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until sauce has thickened, about 5 minutes. Serve over brown rice, couscous, or pasta and garnish with rosemary.
alison @ Ingredients, Inc. says
i will be trying this!!
we learned how to make seitan in class last year, and it was surprisingly easy - you should give it a go sometime!
we are mostly gluten free, having docs tell us we have 'intolerance'. and seitan is one of the worst, we definitely feel the inflammation.
but it is soooo goooood <-- this is me whining. I LOVE the texture, the way it carries flavor, ooh everything. having no gluten in the house, it's something we usually enjoy when we're out to dinner... every time we attend a prix fixe dinner, that is usually one of the choices and we generally order opposite dishes and share... that way we each only get a little 😉 (wow... I am going on and on trying to justify my seitan, aren't I?)
seitan cacciatore sounds fantastic - and I am positive it was...
Yeah, I have a recipe for making it in a slow cooker, but it's one of those things that I've just never gotten around to doing. I should though! I'm sorry you can't eat seitan--sad! 🙁 Honestly, if I had to be gluten-free, I'd be cheating all the time. I have absolutely no willpower. But as long as you're not eating it all the time, you're okay, right?! 🙂
Ronnie Fein says
Have to confess I've never tried it. But you may have inspired me. Let's see if this is something to hail about.
Your Husband is hilarious ! I have never tried Seitan, but this is one of my favorite post's to date regardless! Give him a High Five for me!
I think he secretly loves when I write about him on here--ha!
Maria Tadic says
I literally just made this last week! It was the first time my husband had ever had seitan and he loved it! It really is a perfect substitute for meat!
Yeah, I think people are a wee bit scared off by it, but it's good stuff. 🙂
Robin (Masshole Mommy) says
That looks and sounds amazing. I've been wanting to have my brother in law and his girlfriend over for dinner & since she's a vegan, I've been looking for a simple - ish recipe to make and this one might just be it.
Well this one is pretty simple! 🙂
Serena (serenabakessimplyfromscratch) says
This looks delicious and easy! Perfect for a busy week night!
Grace @ FoodFitnessFreshAir says
Ha! I get that joke about seitan all the time. It tastes too good to be the devil though. I recently got into making my own! It's actually not that difficult, but does take some time. Have been wanting to make a cacciatore for awhile, and this looks great. Glad I stumbled across your blog.
I'm going to have to try to make it then. I think I have it in my head that it's more intimidating than it actually is. 🙂
Christine (Cook the Story) says
I had no idea this existed. I'm going to check it out. We're not vegetarians but are trying to reduce our meat intake. Seitan could help! The recipe looks and sounds delicious too. Thanks for it and the great info!
Let me know what you think if you try it! I know it sounds a little weird, but I think it's probably an easier sell than tofu. It's a bit more flavorful and the texture is very similar to meat.
dixya @ food, pleasure, and health says
what a unique ingredient to try 🙂 will be keeping my eyes out for seitan. I have been meaning to post about Nutrela which is similar to seitan, except that it is soy protein chunks rather than wheat protein. its found mainly in Indian Grocery stores and I am a big fan of it.
I've never heard of Nutrela--I'll be looking out for your post about it!
Courtney Rae Jones says
Awe, my mom used to make me chicken cacciatore all the time when I was a kid. I loved it. I've not had it in years! I'm looking forward to trying this out and bring back good memories.
I hope it's as good as you remembered it! 😀
Diana @ Eating Made Easy says
Thanks for the seitan tips and recipe, I've had it at vegetarian restaurants but haven't tried cooking with it myself yet so I'll give it a go with this recipe!
It's incredibly easy to cook with--much easier than tofu or tempeh!
Hannah @ CleanEatingVeggieGirl says
I am definitely bookmarking this recipe! It looks SO tasty! I have never cooked with seitan, but have been really curious about it every time that I see it as Whole Foods. This sounds like the perfect recipe to give it a try! 🙂
I hope you like it! It's really versatile, so you can throw it into just about anything. I have a turkey & wild rice casserole recipe that I love making with seitan!
Nat @ The Apple Diaries says
I swear I learn something new every time you post an article 🙂 I'm not a huge fan of meat substitutes like textured vegetable protein, fake bacon, etc, but this stuff sounds pretty convincing. We don't get seitan in Australia (at least not that I know of) so maybe I should try ordering it online. I'll let you know if I can up with any interesting recipes for it!
I hope you can find it! Sometimes it's also called wheat meat and some Asian markets will sell it as mock duck. I've never had duck before, so I have no idea if it really does taste like duck, though. 🙂
[email protected]'s Recipes says
Ate lots of them as a kid..you know, my mom actually made a stew with some pork for our lunch.
Love your vegetarian cacciatore!
Just tried it this past week. Found it in Earthfare (unfortunately about an hour from me).
Really liked it, as did my husband. Am trying to incorporate at least two meals a week that is vegetarian and it is ending up more. Really liking it!
Enjoying your posts & recipes. Thank you!
Our EarthFare is a drive too. Which is unfortunate because they sell a lot of great, veg-friendly products! Good luck with your new eating habits. 🙂
Katie (The Muffin Myth) says
I've had a date with a friend who was a chef in a former life to make seitan for, oh, over a year now. Our schedules just don't seem to line up into seitan making. I must fix that! I do love the stuff, especially as a chicken substitute.
Okay, if you do end up making it, you're going to have to post about it. Because I want to know! 🙂
Kelly @ Texas Type A Mom says
I've never heard of seitan before but this version of cacciatore looks way better than the version I keep trying.
I'm guessing a lot of people haven't because this post has gotten like no pageviews. Ha!
When I finally tried making seitan, it was so simple! It took about 5 min & then it just goes in the oven! I can't wait to try this recipe, it looks delicious.
Okay, all the comments about how easy it is to make seitan has me convinced that I need to try it!
Julia | JuliasAlbum.com says
Thanks for a very educational post! I learned a lot about a new ingredient!
I have never tried seitan, sounds interesting.
I am making seitan pies today, using the seitan I made yesterday. If you have vital wheat gluten on hand, it is actually rather easy to make. My boyfriend has made it once starting from flour that you wash out, which is quite the process.
I love using it, but I have to say if you use it instead of chicken in a recipe, non-vegetarian might be a bit disappointed. It is good, but not really like chicken when it comes to texture. (Maybe that is just the seitan I get here, though.)
Oh yeah, it's definitely not as chicken-y (okay, that's not a word, but let's go with it) as a chicken substitute would be. But since I don't use those substitutes, seitan is the closet I can get.
I've never heard of seitan. It does look like little cubes of chicken and this dish looks like a chicken and vegetable stir-fry. I'll have to check Seitan out. Of course with all of the wonderful vegetables in this dish, I probably wouldn't need meat or a meat substitute except for a need of protein. Great dish!
Definitely give it a try! It's not as easy to find as tofu or even tempeh, but it's really versatile and tasty. 🙂
Now that you mention it, I don't think I've ever run across it at the supermarket. The day I see it, I'll try to move past its sinister name. 😉
Have you ever had mock duck? That's seitan!
No, I've never heard of mock duck. Is it supposed to taste like duck?
Well, it's supposed to, but I've never had duck, so I don't know if it actually does. 😉
Just a side note: "Hail Seitan" always reminds me of Vegan Black Metal Chef: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CeZlih4DDNg
I haven't seen that before--thanks for the link! 🙂