As more people experiment with plant-based diets, meat substitutes are coming into the spotlight. There are plenty of versatile, high protein options out there for those looking to cut a bit of meat out of their diet. One of our favorites might be seitan, a meat substitute that can be cooked in plenty of ways and goes well with a variety of seasonings. Here’s what you need to know.
What is Seitan?
Seitan is a meat substitute that’s been around for a long time, but it’s been picking up in popularity lately. It’s similar in texture and flavor to chicken, but it’s made from vital wheat gluten.
Vital wheat gluten is essentially just protein, so if you’re concerned about cutting out meat and losing out on the protein it provides, seitan makes for a great addition to your diet. It’s no surprise that it forms the base of a variety of faux meat products, from plant-based bacon to tofurky.
How it Tastes
As we mentioned, seitan tastes similar to chicken, but it also has a savory umami flavor to it. The other benefit of seitan is that it’s great at absorbing other types of flavors. It can be kneaded with various seasonings or cooked with savory ingredients like soy sauce. If you’re looking for a versatile meat substitute, seitan is it.
Recipes for Seitan
Because of its versatility, seitan can be cooked in many ways or simply added to other recipes when you want to up the amount of protein in a meal. It can be cut up into cubes and added to a soup or stew, where it will absorb every flavor and heat up quickly. It can be sliced up and put into a stir-fry, or it can be cubed and put onto skewers. Just marinate it first, and then grill it to seal in all of those flavors!
It can even be used in more unique recipes. Slice it up and batter it, then fry it. Then you can put it on a roll and cover it with melted cheese and tomato sauce to make a plant-based hero that tastes similar to chicken parm. Put seitan in a food processor until it has the consistency of ground meat, and then use it in tacos or chili. There’s a ton that you can do with this unique plant-based food.
What if I’m Gluten-Free?
Unfortunately, seitan is gluten-based, so if you’re gluten-free you’re probably not going to want to add it to your diet. Fortunately, there are other meat substitutes out there that you can enjoy. Tofu and tempeh, for example, are soy-based. You can use these versatile meat substitutes instead, and some seitan recipes can be modified for use with other types of plant-based foods.
Learn More About Meat Alternatives
If you want to learn more about plant-based food and meat substitutes, visit the Organic Restaurants blog. We have tips about cooking vegan dishes at home, and we can also direct you to organic food shops and restaurants in your area. Start eating healthier today!