"Are you sure this isn't chicken?"

That was my mom's first response to eating a stir fry made with my homemade seitan, broccoli, garlic, and spicy stir-fry sauce. If I hadn't made it, I would be equally as mystified at the meat-like concoction on my plate. 

Seitan (pronounced say-tan) is a plant-based meat substitute made from vital wheat gluten (VWG). VWG is essential a super-concentrated isolated protein from wheat. It was originally used as a stabilizer for bread, but has been adapted to use in many vegan kitchens and recipes because of its texture. You can purchase VWG at most grocery stores or online. 

Once prepared, seitan is a versatile substitute for poultry or red meats in stir-fries, kabobs, or soups. Its flavor is nuanced, meaning that it will absorb the flavors and spices of whatever it's combined into. Seitan can be stored in the fridge for several days, so it's a good option to have for dinner throughout the week. Some of the most interesting takes I've seen on seitan include fried buffalo-spiced seitan nuggets, spicy seitan ribs, and seitan meatballs

I personally love seitan because it's easy to make and is a more practical option than conventional "meat-alternatives." While Impossible Burgers and Beyond Burgers might be easy to pop on the stove after a long day, they are highly-processed and filled with a bunch of ingredients that I can't pronounce! Seitan, on the other hand, is a 2 ingredient, protein-rich alternative (one ounce of seitan has 21g of protein). 

After you have your finished seitan, you can follow almost any recipe. Add to your favorite stir fry, use in place of a meat in a curry, or get creative and bring out your air-fryer- the possibilities are endless! You can also add flavor to your seitan when you make it by combining spices (salt, pepper, garlic, ginger, rubbing spices) with the VWG or adding liquids (i.e. broth, soy sauce, oils, etc.) in addition to water. 

DIY Seitan

  • Prep Time:5 mins
  • Cook Time:20 mins
  • Total Time:25 mins
  • Servings:3
  • Easy


  • 1 cup vital wheat gluten
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 3 cups veggie broth
  • Optional seasonings- salt pepper garlic powder chili powder nutritional yeast onion powder
Sara Klimek
  • Step 1

    Pour vital wheat gluten (VWG) into a bowl. Add water.

    Sara Klimek
  • Step 2

    Stir VWG and water mixture together until ball starts to form.

    Sara Klimek
  • Step 3

    Separate dough into 2-3 smaller chunks. If the inside of the dough appears powdery-y, add another teaspoon of water and mix.

    Sara Klimek
  • Step 4

    In medium-sized pot, bring veggie broth to a boil. Place seitan dough into broth, cover, and simmer for twenty minutes. The seitan is finished once it doubles in size and has a chewy, but soft texture.

    Sara Klimek
  • Step 5

    To store, place leftover seitan into container with leftover broth. Use within 2-3 days.

    Sara Klimek