Vegetarians, vegans, or anyone aiming to limit their meat intake will enjoy the versatility of seitan, a high-protein meat substitute made from wheat gluten. The mock meat can be shaped and seasoned to resemble anything from ground beef to turkey breast. Although slow cookers may conjure up thoughts of rich meat dishes, you can use the handy appliance for vegetarian seitan. In fact, this low-and-slow method produces an ideal meat-like texture. Other methods, like boiling, can yield a spongy or rubbery bite. Even picky eaters will devour tasty, slow-cooked seitan that mimics a juicy roast.
Things You'll Need
- Vital wheat gluten
- Dry seasonings such as pepper, garlic powder and dried herbs
- Mixing bowl
- Nutritional yeast flakes (optional)
- Soy sauce, tahini or tamari (optional)
- Cold water or vegetable broth
- Olive or sesame oil (optional)
- Sturdy vegetables, cut into large cubes or chunks (optional)
- Vegetable stock or broth
- Seasoning such as dried herbs and pepper
Combine the wheat gluten with desired dry seasonings, such as pepper, garlic powder and dried herbs in a mixing bowl. Stir in some nutritional yeast, if desired.
Combine your wet ingredients. Add optional soy sauce, tahini or tamari to cold water or vegetable broth in a mixing bowl. Stir in a little bit of olive or sesame oil, if desired.
Add the liquid to the dry ingredients, all at once. Stir the mixture together to combine. Feel the dough to check for a stiff, formed dough that is not dry or crumbly. Add a little bit more water or broth, if needed.
Once mixture is well combined, knead the seitan 10 to 15 times and allow it to sit for 5 minutes. Knead a few more times.
Knead the seitan mixture on a counter or other work surface with your hands for a few minutes until it is smooth and elastic. Shape the dough into a loaf shape.
Plug in the slow cooker and turn it to the low-heat setting. Place large chunks or cubes of vegetables in the slow cooker in an even layer, if desired. Try sturdy vegetables that stand up to long cooking like carrots, turnips, onions, celery and potatoes.
Add some vegetable broth or stock to the cooker. Use at least 1 cup of liquid to keep the seitan moist. Submerge the mock meat completely in liquid if you desire. Season to taste with dried herbs and pepper.
Set the seitan loaf in the slow cooker. Cover and cook for four to six hours. Serve hot with the slow-cooked vegetables.
Tips & Warnings
- You can, alternatively, cook on the high setting for about three hours. However, low heat provides a better texture.
- Slow-cooker seitan makes a hearty main dish, and is tasty served with the vegetables it was cooked with and a crisp salad.
- Cube, grind, or slice leftover seitan for use in virtually any meat dish. Try it in soup, tacos, stir fry or pasta. Prepare dishes like these in your slow cooker if the recipe warrants. Your seitan will hold up perfectly fine to a second round.
- You can purchase cooked seitan that resembles turkey or beef in most health food stores. These products just needs a short stint of two or three hours in the slow cooker to heat up.
- The Vegetarian Resource Group: Seitan: The Vegetarian Wheat Meat
- Robin Robertson: Slow-Cooker Seitan Pot Roast
- The Vegan Slow Cooker; Kathy Hester
- The Big Book of Slow Cooker Recipes; Rachel Rappaport
- Photo Credit Hemera Technologies/AbleStock.com/Getty Images