Seitan: the vegetable meat par excellence
Seitan is one of the most popular foods in vegetarian and vegan diets. We tell you how to prepare it and the health properties of this “vegetable meat”, which is one of the best ways of reducing your consumption of meat products without giving up on flavour.
TRIED AND TESTED25 September 2019
What is seitan?
Seitan is a food preparation based on wheat flour. It is commonly described as a “vegetable meat” due to its appearance and texture when cooked, which is quite similar to meat. Along with tofu and tempeh, it is one of the pillars of vegetarian and vegan diets for providing protein for the body. Its name comes from a Japanese word meaning ‘vegetable protein’. This food is widespread in Eastern Asia, particularly in China, Taiwan and Japan.
The traditional way to prepare seitan consists of washing a wheat flour dough with water to separate the gluten from the starch. Although it is currently separated through industrial processes, you can buy gluten powder. After this, it is boiled in a broth of soya, kombu seaweed and ginger.
Despite being very simple to prepare, today we can find ready to cook seitan in almost every supermarket.
Seitan is basically wheat protein; therefore it is a food rich in protein and low in fats and carbohydrates. 100 grams of seitan contains around 16g of protein. However, seitan protein does not have a high biological value, and for this reason, it is worth combining it with vegetables to obtain all the essential amino acids. Furthermore, this food is low in calories, as 100 grams has just 99kcal.
One of the main advantages of seitan is that it is very versatile for cooking. It can be prepared in many ways: fried, coated, stewed, in pastry, as a base for meatballs, even like a cold meat for preparing sandwiches or snacks
It is a food that does not require you to have great culinary skills. One of the simplest ways to prepare it is on the griddle. It can be quick fried in a pan by turning it. Simply add a little soya sauce or fry some garlic in oil until it is golden and add a few slices of seitan and a little parsley.
This vegetable meat can also be used to prepare a bolognaise sauce or to fill cannelloni, as well as adding it to pasta or to some noodles with vegetables, if you want to give it a more oriental touch.
You can cook it in a stew, coated, stuffed with cheese, or eat it instead of a burger, which is one of the most popular ways to eat it.
Seitan is a good solution for anyone who wants to reduce their meat consumption but who is not sure what to replace it with.