Seitan Worshipping

What is seitan? 

Seitan is wheat flour with all its starch granules washed away, leaving only the strands of pure gluten.

Why cook with seitan?

Seitan has a satisfying juicy, chewy texture. It is versatile, and can be baked, steamed, fried, roasted, braised, stewed, etc. It can be cooked to have a variety of textures and flavorings. There are endless possibilities! Bartleby’s has tested dozens upon dozens of different cooking methods to find the version that pairs best with the fried crispiness of our sandwiches and nuggets.

How does seitan stack up nutritionally?

Seitan is low in fat, low in carbohydrates, and high in protein. It contains no sugar, no saturated fats, and no cholesterol. It contains significant amounts of iron, calcium, and potassium, plus several B vitamins. Seitan also contains eight essential amino acids, which are the basic building blocks for our organs and tissues.

Our cutlets weigh in at approximately 3 oz, which yields an estimated 2g of fat, 4g of carbohydrates, and 26g of protein.

Do I need to worry about gluten?

If you have celiac disease or an intolerance to gluten, then yes. Gluten (wheat) is included as one of the eight major allergens; if you have a gluten/wheat allergy, you should avoid it. For the rest of us? Gluten is awesome. It’s delicious, and has many excellent nutritional properties (see above). Of the three most popular meat alternatives, seitan has the highest protein levels per serving, about four times as much as tempeh, and a whopping nine times as much as tofu. 

What’s the history of seitan?

Seitan has been consumed around the globe for nearly 1500 years. It has long been popular with the Buddhist vegetarian cuisines of China, Japan, and Viet Nam. In the west, the popularity of seitan as a meat alternative began to grow in the mid-20th century, during the rise of vegetarianism. It is now a prominent player in many plant-based diets, and available to consumers in most supermarkets, health food stores, specialty markets and cooperatives. 

How does seitan support a healthy environment?

Scientists have studied the impact of our collective diets and food systems for decades, and shown that the consumption of fewer animal products yields fewer negative effects to our environment. Plant-based foods emit fewer greenhouse gases into the atmosphere during their production as compared to animal-based foods. Analyses show that when compared to beef, seitan has dramatically lower impacts on the environment, particularly in regards to land use. Shifting toward a plant-based diet is “is an efficient strategy for countering biodiversity loss and climate change” [source:]. And here at Bartleby’s, we believe that shift is tasty, too.