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Seitan made with Vital Wheat Gluten

Seitan is a vegan meat alternative that you can use for steaks, sausages, schnitzel, stews, gyros and many more typical meat dishes. This seitan is quick and easy to make and is not as hard or rubbery like many store-bought seitan products are. You can make the seitan in a food processor (=almost no kneading at all!).

Seitan made with Vital Wheat Gluten

I love seitan but it took me exactly 4 years to master making it at home! Seitan always turned out too hard, too chewy, too rubbery. Does anyone else thinks that store-bought seitan is rubbery as hell?! So that wasn’t an option for me either.

I’m really proud of this seitan recipe. The seitan is soft and fluffy, while still having a nice meaty texture. Thanks to two tricks, this seitan is different from any seitan you’ve ever had (more about that below).

You can make seitan by washing out flour until all the starches have washed away. But this takes a lot of time. For this seitan, we’re using vital wheat gluten instead. This makes it so much faster!

What is Seitan?

Seitan is a vegan meat alternative. You can use seitan in any dish in which you want to substitute meat. Seitan is especially great for steaks, schnitzel, sausages, gyros, Philly cheesesteak sandwiches, pepperoni, curries, goulash or stews.

Is Seitan healthy?

If you can’t eat gluten, you shouldn’t eat seitan because seitan is pure gluten. Other than that, seitan is a great source of protein, calcium, and minerals.

What is Vital Wheat Gluten?

Vital Wheat Gluten is made from the protein found in wheat. You can buy vital wheat gluten in powder form and it looks just like flour! It’s the key component for making seitan. It makes the seitan chewy, gives it a nice meaty texture and binds all the ingredients together. It’s pure magic. Except when you’re gluten intolerant. Then it’s not for you.

How to make Seitan

Seitan made with Vital Wheat GlutenStep 1: Cook onion and garlic until slightly browning. Add fennel and cumin.

Seitan made with Vital Wheat GlutenStep 2: Add all the ingredients in a food processor (except the vital wheat gluten): chickpeas, thyme, salt, tomato paste, smoked paprika, onion-garlic-mixture, soy sauce, and sparkling water. Pulse.

Seitan made with Vital Wheat GlutenStep 3: Now add the vital wheat gluten. Pulse again.

Seitan made with Vital Wheat GlutenStep 4: The seitan should come together in the food processor.

Seitan made with Vital Wheat GlutenStep 5: Transfer the seitan onto a board and press it together until it’s a ball.

Seitan made with Vital Wheat GlutenStep 6: Basically, you can use the seitan now for all kinds of shapes: nuggets, sausages, chunks, steaks.

Seitan made with Vital Wheat GlutenStep 7: You can steam, cook, or bake the seitan. For steaks, my preferred method is to steam the seitan and then roast the steaks in a grilling pan for nice grill marks.

Now… what do you want to make?

Do you want to know how to make vegan Schnitzel or vegan sausages with this seitan base? Or you can grill the seitan filets in a grilling pan, add herb butter on top and enjoy as seitan steaks!

How to make Seitan that isn’t spongy/rubbery/tough?

My #1 super secret ingredient for this seitan that has just the right balance of soft and firm is sparkling water! It’s just a simple substitution with a huge effect. Trick #2 is to use canned chickpeas instead of chickpea flour. This makes the seitan soft (even the next day or the day after!).

Can you freeze Seitan?

Yes, I’ve tried it with this seitan recipe and it works great! Let the seitan cool off completely, place the seitan in a freezer-safe container or ziplock bag, freeze. When you’re ready to eat the frozen seitan, let it thaw at room temperature for a few hours, then grill/cook/roast/whatever you want to do with it! It’s good as new!

More Seitan Recipes you will love

I hope you’ll enjoy this homemade seitan as much as I do! 

Let me know if you give this recipe a try! I’d love to hear how it turns out for you.

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Cheers, Bianca

Seitan made with Vital Wheat Gluten

Seitan made with Vital Wheat Gluten

Elephantastic Vegan
Seitan is a vegan meat alternative that you can use for steaks, sausages, schnitzel or wherever you'd use meat. This seitan is quick and easy to make and is not as hard or rubbery like many store-bought seitan products are. You can make the seitan in a food processor (=almost no kneading at all!). 
4.34 from 18 votes
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 45 mins
Total Time 1 hr
Course Basics
Cuisine Vegan
Servings 4 large steaks or 8 vegan sausages
Calories 222 kcal


  • 1 teaspoon canola oil
  • 1 large white onion - chopped
  • 2 garlic clove - chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1/2 cup cooked chickpeas
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1/3 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon thyme
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup sparkling water
  • 1 1/2 cup vital wheat gluten


  • In a large pan with canola oil, sautée the chopped onion and garlic cloves until soft. Add the cumin and fennel seeds. Let it cook for another minute until the spices are toasted.
  • In a food processor, add the chickpeas, onion-garlic-spices mixture, tomato paste, salt, thyme, smoked paprika, soy sauce, and sparkling water. Pulse until it’s saucy. Then add the vital wheat gluten and pulse again until it comes together in a ball.
  • Prepare a large pot (filled with a couple of inches of water) with a steaming basket and bring it to high heat.
  • Now you can bring the seitan in the shape you want. 
    For sausagesDivide the seitan into 8 equal chunks. Roll and press the seitan into a sausage shape. Roll each sausage in parchment paper and aluminum foil (roll it tightly). Twist the ends so that the seitan is completely covered in foil. Add the seitan sausages into the steaming basket and let them steam for about 40 minutes, flipping them after 20 minutes. 
    For steaks or to use them for Schnitzel: Cut the seitan into 4 pieces for large steaks or 8 for smaller ones. Roll them out flat. Steam in the steamer for at least 10 minutes on each side. You can grill the seitan steaks afterward for nice grill marks. 


Calories: 222kcalCarbohydrates: 14gProtein: 36gFat: 2gSodium: 844mgPotassium: 226mgFiber: 2gSugar: 2gVitamin A: 390IUVitamin C: 5mgCalcium: 89mgIron: 3.5mg
Tried this recipe?Mention @elephantasticvegan or tag #elephantasticvegan!

This post was first published on November 8, 2014. Updated on August 10, 2018.

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Recipe Rating


Wednesday 24th of February 2021

This turned out great! Living in Indiana, seitan is not always available. And when I do see it in the store it's kind of expensive. I followed your recipe exactly and the result was excellent--both in flavor and texture. I doubled it so I could try making both sausages and cutlets. My only question about steaming. I only have a small steamer insert for a medium sized sauce pan. This worked fine for the sausages as I could kind of stack the wrapped sausages inside. But with the cutlets, what is the best method? Do I need to get one of those steamer baskets that stack so the cutlets can be arranged in single layers? Should they be wrapped somehow? I tried to stack two of them and it was a bit messy. Other than that, I had no issues and the family loved them. I used it to make Isa's Autumn Seitan Sandwiches from "I Can Cook Vegan". Tonight we will have the Pantry Mole Bowls from the same. Can't wait!

Rene Sweets

Saturday 11th of July 2020

I should have commented a year ago on this . I use the chickpea and never looked back on kneading! My ratio is different. I use my own spices but always. 1 cup Of liquids to half cup of chick peas and one cup of gluten.... I double or triple recipe as needed! But I do not knead Ever! The food processor takes care of that for me! People always say how do you make all that Seitan? That too much kneading. I just smile and say I don’t! They always look at me in awe. Check my IG out! Vegan_heat!


Thursday 4th of June 2020

Thank you for this recipe! I've tried to make Seitan before and failed miserably but I followed your recipe and made the most wonderful sausages! I printed it out and will be using it often! Thank you so much! <3


Saturday 22nd of February 2020

Hello! Just wanted to let you know that I really like your method of steaming the Seitan. I don’t know if that technique is specific to your recipe but I guess I’ll find out as I try different recipes on how to make Seitan. I started eating plant-based me in January of this year and just recently started making my own “wheat meat” . So far my family likes pretty much everything I’ve made. And with your method of steaming the wheat meat I feel a little more confident in what I’m doing so thank you very much. Also if you’re interested I had a “craving” for Café Rio’s sweet pork Barbacoa which has pork in it. And so since we are now eating plant-based protein I decided to concoct my own recipe and using your method of cooking the seitan and the sweet pork Barbacoa style sauce I sautéed strips of this seitan in a little sauce so it caramelized a little bit bell peppers , onions and made a burrito and inside the burrito was lime cilantro brown rice, black beans, pico de gallo and avocado my family ate it up so fast it made my head spin! I’ll be making that recipe again for sure😉


Monday 2nd of December 2019

Kneading isn’t necessary??? Does pulsing in food processor take place of the kneading?