Hand holding up a Crispy Seitan Cutlet burger with slaw and pickles

Part 1: What the Hell is Seitan?!

You may have heard people shouting “HAIL SEITAN!” in the grocery stores as they pick up their Bartleby’s Nuggets and have been a bit confused, or even scared. No, they aren’t professing their love to Satan, even though it may sound similar. They are simply expressing their joy for their favorite plant-based protein. Once you have seitan, you’ll also be shouting your love on the top of rooftops because it magically has the top 3 things you want in a food: versatility, nutrients, and deliciousness. 

Let’s start with the basics: Seitan is the protein in wheat. It is also known as the “wheat meat” because it has a texture and protein content that resembles meat and is often used as an alternative for people looking to cut back on their meat consumption. To make seitan, you start with the grains from wheat, which are then ground into a flour. Mix the flour with water to form a dough. Knead the dough in a colander and wash it with more water. For a step by step, check out the Seitan Society “Wash the Flour” tutorial here. This ‘washing’ removes the starch and carbs, leaving mostly protein. From here, you can mix in different spices and cook this protein in a variety of ways (bake, simmer, steam, or even pressure cook) depending on what texture and flavor you want the end result to be. The options are truly endless.

Seitan has been eaten for centuries, originating in Japan and China, and was traditional food for Buddhist vegetarian diets. It is still used to this day because it is minimally processed and has a high protein content, making it a great choice to add to any meal.

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