Seitan: A Healthy Meat Alternative

by | Mar 22, 2021

Seitan is a versatile meat alternative made from gluten, the protein found in wheat. It can be made using a variety of broths and herbs making it full of flavor. This alternative has a good texture, making it a great vegan substitution.

Why should I choose Seitan?

Seitan is high in protein, offering 25g per 4oz serving per the USDA. In addition, it is a low carb, low fat protein source that is high in iron

This protein source is not a complete protein, meaning it does not provide all the essential amino acids. To make a complete protein, it can be paired with other plant-based sources, such as nuts, grains, and beans.

Unlike tofu and tempeh, seitan is not made from soybeans, making it a great alternative for individuals with a soy allergy. It is not recommended for those who are sensitive or allergic to gluten.  

How do you prepare Seitan?

Seitan is extremely versatile and can be prepared in the following ways:

·         Pan fried

·         Steamed

·         Shredded

·         Baked

·         Sauté in favorite sauce or marinade

·         As a deli meat

·         Grilled

Seitan can be purchased in stores or made at home. If purchasing in store, make sure to read the ingredient label and avoid over-processed sources that are high in sodium. To make at home, see the recipes below.

Homemade Seitan Recipe


2 cups of vital wheat gluten

1 tsp onion powder

1 tsp garlic powder

½ tsp paprika

1/8 tsp cayenne pepper

1 tsp salt

¼ tsp black pepper

2 cups of water

Directions: In a mixing bowl, combine all dry ingredients. Once combined, slowly stir in water to form a dough. Knead the dough for 5-7 minutes to allow the seitan to form its meat like texture. Divide the formed dough into 3 flat parts. In a large pot, bring broth of choice to a boil. Add the flat seitan pieces and allow them to cook for 25 minutes over medium heat. It is normal for the pieces to expand as they cook. Once cooked, remove from broth, and allow to cool. Once cooled, the seitan can be prepared in any of the methods above using any of your favorite sauces or herbs. 

Turn the Seitan recipe above into a meal with these savory recipes: 

Teriyaki Seitan Jerky


Homemade or store bought seitan 

¼ c low sodium soy sauce

1 tbsp rice vinegar 

1 tbsp honey 

1 tsp sesame oil 

1 tsp ground ginger 

1 tsp garlic powder 

Salt and pepper to taste 

Directions: Mix all the ingredients for the teriyaki sauce in a large bowl or dish. Slice the seitan into thin slices using a sharp knife and place them in the dish containing the teriyaki sauce. Place the dish in the fridge allowing the seitan to marinate in the teriyaki sauce for 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 100 degrees fahrenheit. While the oven preheats, place the thin slices of seitan on a baking sheet. Bake for 60 minutes, flipping pieces over halfway through cooking. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 10-15 minutes before placing in the fridge in an airtight container. The seitan can be stored for up to 5 days. 

Seitan Parmesan


Homemade or store bought seitan 

3 large eggs

½ c flour

1 ¼ c of breadcrumbs 

¼ c grated parmesan cheese 

1 tsp garlic powder 

1 tsp onion powder 

½ c tomato sauce 

½ c shredded mozzarella cheese 

½ tsp of salt 

Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees Farenheight. In a small mixing bowl beat eggs. Prepare two separate bowls or plates to create a breading station. One will contain the flour and salt and the other will contain the breadcrumbs, onion powder, garlic powder, and parmesan cheese. Slice the seitan into cutlets. Begin to bread the cutlets by dipping them first into the flour mixture, then the beaten eggs, and lastly in the breadcrumb mixture until fully coated. Once all cutlets have been breaded, lay them flat on a non-stick baking sheet. Spoon tomato sauce on each cutlet spreading it out into an even layer. Next, sprinkle about 1/8th a cup of shredded mozzarella to each cutlet. Place the baking sheet in the oven and bake for 20 minutes. Allow to cool for 5 minutes and then serve with a side of vegetables and whole grain pasta for a complete meal. 

*Note: This recipe can be made vegan by using vegan parmesan and mozzarella and replacing the eggs with a flax egg. To make a flax egg mix 1 tbsp of ground flax to 3 tbsp of water (this recipe would call for 3 tbsp flax: 9 tbsp water) 

Grilled Seitan BBQ Burger


Homemade or store bought seitan 

1/8th cup BBQ sauce 

1-2 tbsp of Worcestershire sauce 

1 tsp salt 

1 tsp garlic powder

½ tsp onion powder

½ tsp chili powder 

Directions: Heat grill to medium-high heat. Cut seitan into patty like portions. Mix all ingredients together in a small mixing bowl. Coat BBQ sauce mixture over both sides of seitan patties and place them in the fridge to marinate 15-20 minutes. Once they have sat in sauce for 15-20 minutes, place them on a heated grill cooking for 3-5 minutes each side. Remove from the grill and enjoy on a whole wheat bun with your favorite toppings or over mixed greens. 

Seitan Pita Pockets with Tzatziki

Makes 5 servings


Homemade or store bought seitan 

1 package of pita pockets 

2 handfuls of spinach 

2 tomatoes chopped 

For Tzatziki sauce: 

1 c plain greek yogurt 

2 garlic cloves, minced

½ english cucumber finely chopped 

½ tbsp dill, chopped 

1 tbsp lemon juice 

½ tbsp olive oil 

Salt and pepper to taste 

Directions: Add all ingredients for tzatziki sauce in a small mixing bowl and combine until all ingredients are mixed thoroughly. Place the bowl in the fridge for up to 1 hour. Slice up the tomatoes and set aside. Next, slice up seitan into small strips. In a non-stick pan over medium heat, add 1 tbsp of oil. Place seitan strips in non-stick pan cooking until heated through about 5-7 minutes, then set aside. In another pan over low-medium heat, add pita pockets one at a time to warm. Add 2 oz of seitan strips to the pita pocket with spinach, diced tomatoes and tzatziki sauce. 

Seitan Tacos


Homemade or store bought seitan 

4-6 corn tortillas 

2 tsp avocado oil 

½ red onion, chopped 

½ tsp chili powder

½ tsp paprika 

½ tsp garlic powder

½ tsp onion powder

¼ tsp sea salt 

2 tbsp lime juice 

Cotija cheese (optional) 

Fresh cilantro, for garnish 

Directions: Dice up approximately 8oz of seitan. Add seitan, diced onion, lime juice, chili powder, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder and sea salt in a small bowl until thoroughly combined. In a non-stick pan heat avocado oil over low-medium heat. Add all ingredients from the small mixing bowl into the pan cooking for 5-7 minutes or until warmed through. While the taco mixture is cooking, in another pan add corn tortillas one at a time until warmed. Scoop seitan taco mixture into corn tortillas. Top with cojita cheese and fresh cilantro. *Optional: Feel free to get creative with this recipe and add in any of your favorite mexican toppings, such as peppers, beans, salsa, guacamole, etc! 

Information in handout adapted from Women’s Health Magazine:

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