11 Easy Vegetarian and Vegan Seitan Recipes

Seitan stir-fry on a plate
  Annabelle Breakey / Getty Images 

Generations of Asian cooks have prized seitan, a vegetarian meat substitute, for its versatility. You can use it in countless ways, from cutting it into steaklike strips for fajitas to stir-frying it, to mimicking barbecue. You can cook it on the grill, pan-fry or deep-fry it, braise it in the oven, simmer it in a slow cooker, and more.

Essentially wheat flour with the starch washed away, leaving only the protein-packed gluten, seitan tastes a bit like mushrooms. But its ability to absorb flavor makes it a neutral palette for an endless array of recipes, while its truly meatlike texture gives it an edge over tofu and tempeh for replicating meat-based dishes such as barbecue. You can purchase packaged seitan at health food stores and many well-stocked grocery stores, or make your own. For even more plant-based cooking inspiration, look at other vegetarian recipes you could adapt for seitan or explore other vegetarian meat substitutes.

  • 01 of 11

    Seitan Tacos With Roasted Vegetables

    Vegetarian corn tacos with salsa and lime wedges

     Natasha Breen / Getty Images

    Seitan paired with roasted vegetables and seasoned with chipotle, cumin, and chili powder makes for a brilliant vegan taco when you stuff it into corn tortillas and top it with your favorite Mexican condiments. Follow the recipe for a five-star result or modify it to suit your own taste.

  • 02 of 11

    Easy, Versatile Barbecue Seitan Strips

    Seitan strips with coleslaw on a bun

    The Spruce / Anastasiia Tretiak

    Seitan sautéed with soy sauce, barbecue sauce, and vinegar delivers meaty flavor and texture without the meat, perfect for use in sandwiches, burritos, wraps, and bowls. Depending on your intended use, you can keep the seitan in strips or chop it into bite-sized chunks after you cook it.

  • 03 of 11

    Seitan 'Fried Chicken'

    Fried seitan mimics fried chicken
    rusvaplauke / Flickr

    Deep-fried seitan with a blend of spices results in a dish quite similar in appearance and taste to fried chicken. A seasoned batter and a coat of flour give it a satisfyingly crispy "skin." Serve it with your favorite dipping sauce or as the starting point for recipes that call for fried boneless chicken breasts, such as chicken parmigiana.

  • 04 of 11

    Chinese Vegetables and Seitan Stir-Fry

    Chinese vegetables and seitan stir-fry on a plate

    The Spruce / Sheridan S.

    Chinese-style stir-fry with seitan and sweet hoisin sauce calls for seitan, broccoli, and bell peppers, but feel free to substitute any veggies you prefer. Serve this saucy stir-fry over rice or noodles to capture every drop of the fragrant flavor.

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  • 05 of 11

    Vietnamese Pho With Seitan

    Vegetarian pho with seitan

    The Spruce 

    The popular Vietnamese noodle bowl called pho gets a vegan makeover with seitan. Traditional spices, including cardamom and star anise, add authentic flavor, and the seitan soaks up the soupy goodness.

  • 06 of 11

    Seitan and Guinness Stew

    A big pot of seitan and beer stew cooking on a stovetop

     Greg H. / Flickr

    Seitan mimics the beef in this vegetarian take on traditional Irish beef and Guinness stew, a popular pub meal in the British Isles. The beer flavor intentionally dominates in this recipe, but you can cut it with veggie broth if you find it too stout for your liking.

  • 07 of 11

    Slow-Cooker Seitan Stew

    Crock pot vegetarian stew in white bowls

    The Spruce / Anastasiia Tretiak

    When you want to fill the house with the aroma of a meat-and-potatoes slow-cooked stew—minus the meat—try this vegetarian version with seitan. It delivers the same warming comfort but with less fat and no cholesterol.

  • 08 of 11

    Spicy Seitan 'Buffalo Wings'

    Buffalo wing-style fried seitan in a bowl

     The Spruce

    Seitan, coated in Buffalo wing-style hot sauce, yields a vegan substitute for spicy chicken wings. The recipe for this take on the traditional bar-food favorite gets its kick from Frank's RedHot Hot Buffalo Wings Sauce, but you can substitute your favorite brand or a homemade secret sauce.

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  • 09 of 11

    Easy 'Hot Wings' With Seitan

    Easy vegetarian "hot wings" with seitan with celery

    The Spruce / Emily Hawkes

    Maple syrup and lime juice add sweetness and brightness to the traditional flavor of Frank's RedHot Hot Buffalo Wings Sauce in this seitan "hot wings" recipe. For variety, substitute another flavor of hot sauce, such as a mango habanero or Thai Sriracha.

  • 10 of 11

    Easy Grilled Seitan in Barbecue Sauce

    Grilled seitan steaks on a cutting board with vegetables
    kabVisio / Getty Images

    This recipe uses packaged seitan and store-bought barbecue sauce to yield quick results from your backyard grill. Serve it in slabs with corn on the cob and saucy beans like a Southern barbecue ribs plate, or use it as the base for a variety of recipes.

  • 11 of 11

    Vegetarian Thai Massaman Curry

    Massaman curry with chapatti
    MelanieMaya / Getty Images

    A southern Thai specialty, massaman curry reflects Indian and Malay influences with its distinctive combination of sharp and sweet spices mingling in coconut milk. Traditional versions are loaded with chicken and potatoes, but in this vegetarian curry, seitan adds the meaty texture.