If you're looking for new and tasty protein options to explore, you're going to love this seitan chicken recipe! Made with vital wheat gluten, this vegan chicken alternative is chewy, flavorful, and inexpensive. It's also surprisingly easy to make, requiring just 8 ingredients!
Why This Recipe Works
If you're anything like me, you're going to be totally in love with this seitan chicken! Made with vital wheat gluten, nutritional yeast, and a few simple ingredients, it's a DIY protein that you can easily make at home.
The texture is chewy, "meaty", and is filled with tons of flavor. Thanks to ingredients like broth, liquid smoke, and garlic powder, this vegan chicken is super savory. It's also made in one bowl with just 8 ingredients. See!? SO easy!
And while this recipe is vegan, you totally don't need to be vegan to enjoy it! I'm an intuitive eating dietitian. This means that I believe that all foods fit, you shouldn't follow strict diets, and you should listen to your body's cues. I am also a strong advocate for gentle nutrition, which is where the body's wants intersect with your nutritional knowledge to empower you to fuel your body intuitively.
Using plant based proteins like this seitan chicken is perfect for gentle nutrition! You can satisfy the craving for something chewy and savory, while also providing your body with ample protein as fuel. It's also great for switching things up and trying new flavors and texture, since variety is the spice of life!
- Vital wheat gluten: This can be found at bulk food stores, or in the baking section of larger grocery chains. If you can't find it a local store, it's very easy to find online.
- Nutritional yeast: This adds a savory flavor to your seitan chicken. It's a very popular flavor enhancer in vegan recipes.
- Broth: A standard vegetable broth or mushroom broth is recommended for the best flavor, while still keeping it vegan. You could totally use chicken broth if you prefer!
- Liquid smoke: Just a touch of liquid smoke gives it that authentic "grilled" flavor!
- Olive oil: A little bit of oil holds everything together and helps it brown beautifully. I used olive oil, but you could use your favorite oil such as avocado, sunflower, or vegetable oil.
- Seasonings: Just garlic powder, onion powder, and salt!
How to Make This Recipe
Step One: To get started, bring a pot of water to a simmer and insert a steamer basket.
Step Two: Combine the ingredients for your seitan chicken in a medium sized bowl.
Step Three: Mix everything together with a fork until completely uniform.
Step Four: Use clean hands to knead the seitan for 3 minutes. This is what will give it the best texture, and so you definitely don't want to skimp on this step!
Step Five: Divide your kneaded vegan chicken "dough" into 4 pieces. The easiest way to do this is to pat it down flat and divide it in half both lengthwise and widthwise.
Step Six: Form each of the fourths of "dough" into patties, roughly the same size and shape of a standard chicken breast. Unlike chicken, you will want to flatten them out quite a bit. The finished size of your seitan patties should be about 3" x 5". Repeat with each remaining portion of dough.
Step Seven: Wrap each vegan chicken cutlet loosely in aluminum foil, and place them inside of the steamer basket for 30 minutes. For the best results, spray the foil with a bit of a nonstick cooking spray to ensure your vegan chicken doesn't stick.
Step Eight: Spray a grill or cast iron grill-style skillet with nonstick spray and head over medium heat.
Step Nine: Place your seitan chicken cutlets on the hot grill.
Step Ten: Place another heavy skillet on top of your vegan chicken to help flatten it out, and get those beautiful grill marks on the surface.
Step Eleven: Cook your seitan chicken cutlets for approximately 2-3 minutes per side, working in batches if you need to.
Step Twelve: Remove from the heat and transfer to a plate to cool slightly before serving.
Frequently Asked Questions
The main ingredient in seitan chicken is most often vital wheat gluten (also known as gluten flour), although some recipes may include chickpeas, tofu, or other filler ingredients. This versatile vegan protein has a "meat" like texture, and can be used in a variety of dishes where a protein like chicken would be used.
While seitan doesn't taste exactly like chicken, it does have a similar flavor and texture. Like many vegan protein options, it takes on the flavors that are added in, so adding flavors that give a chicken-like flavor will give you the best results. I recommend broth, nutritional yeast, and a little bit of liquid smoke.
Your seitan may be rubbery if you spent too much time kneading the mixture. You want to mix everything together very well and get it incorporated, but over mixing will cause the gluten to continue to develop and you may have rubbery or spongy seitan as a result.
Seitan is a great source of vegan protein, and packs a serious punch when it comes to iron, too! Seitan is very versatile, and is an excellent vegan chicken substitute for all of your favorite dishes. Its versatility makes it a great option for plant based protein, since it's so easy to use and the texture is close to meat.
While store bought seitan may be as much per pound as meat, or even more, homemade seitan can often be made very affordable using basic ingredients that can be found at many large grocery chains. If you're on a tight budget, making your own seitan at home is the way to go!
- Store your seitan chicken in the fridge for up to 1 week. Just make sure to wrap it tightly or place it in an airtight container!
- If you want a longer storage time, you could totally freeze it! Allow everything to cool completely first. Then wrap each piece tightly in plastic wrap or foil and then drop into a freezer bag. Remove any excess air, seal, label, and freeze for up to 3 months!
- Use it in your favorite meals, either sliced or whole. Think topping salads, adding into stir fries and curries, or wrapping it up in a tortilla with your favorite veggies for a delicious on-the-go wrap.
If you love this recipe, be sure to leave a star rating on the recipe card and leave a comment below!
Don't forget to pin it on your Pinterest board for later, or tag me on IG @no.food.rules if you try the recipe and love it!
More Vegan Recipes
- 1 cup vital wheat gluten
- 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 cup broth (faux chicken flavor or veggie)
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 1/2 tsp liquid smoke
- Bring a medium sized pot of water to a simmer and insert a steamer basket or attachment.
- While your water is coming to a simmer, combine all ingredients in a medium sized bowl and mix well with a fork.
- Take your “dough” out of the bowl and knead your seitan “dough” for a solid 3 minutes. Don’t shortcut this! (I just squeeze it between my fingers and work it for 3 minutes.)
- Cut into 4 equal parts and make into patties. (It takes a little time to shape them and get them as smooth and flat as possible! They should not be domed balls. Final dimensions should be ~ 3x5”.)
- Wrap each piece loosely in aluminum foil creating a “packet” and place inside of a steamer basket for 30 minutes. (I like to spray the foil with just a bit of non-stick spray just to be safe!)
- Remove from the steamer and “grill” them. (I use a cast iron skillet with grill lines on the stovetop or you could use a grill.) Spray the grill skillet or grill itself with a bit of non-stick spray or oil.
- Place your “chicken” on it.
- Place another heavy skillet on top, you want them to be flattened a bit. This helps you get those nice grill marks!
- Cook for ~2-3 minutes on each side over medium heat.
- Remove from heat and enjoy!
Storage: Store your seitan chicken in the fridge for up to 1 week. Just make sure to wrap it tightly or place it in an airtight container!
Freezing: If you want a longer storage time, you could totally freeze it! Allow everything to cool completely first. Then wrap each piece tightly in plastic wrap or foil and then drop into a freezer bag. Remove any excess air, seal, label, and freeze for up to 3 months!
Serving Ideas: Use it in your favorite meals, either sliced or whole. Think topping salads, adding into stir fries and curries, or wrapping it up in a tortilla with your favorite veggies for a delicious on-the-go wrap.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 294Total Fat: 6gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 2mgSodium: 402mgCarbohydrates: 14gFiber: 3gSugar: 1gProtein: 48g
Nutrition info is provided for Google. You get to determine what your portion size is each and every day! There is no right or wrong!