Roasted beef-style seitan with rosemary and thyme
I decided to go vegetarian 3 years ago and I usually don’t crave or miss the taste of meat but Christmas always makes me feel a little bit nostalgic for roast beef. It was always one of my Mum’s signature recipes and one of my absolute favourites growing up.
I have learnt so much over the last year about flavour combinations and textures that it seems even more unnecessary to eat meat – which is usually heavily seasoned anyway – when I could just recreate a similar experience using different herbs and spices with just as much effort. So for our Christmas dinner last year, I decided to create a beef-style roast using seitan no, not satan – a fairly popular meat substitute amongst vegans.
Seitan is made from Vital Wheat Gluten (VWG) which is the main protein found in wheat. When steamed, the dough expands and becomes firmer and takes on a meat-like texture. It’s the perfect base for a meat substitute because you can add different combinations of seasonings to get the style and flavour of “meat” that you want.
If you’re interested in trying out the recipe or making up your own, I’ve included a few links below for where you can buy Vital Wheat Gluten in the UK:
Wholefoods (in store)
Holland & Barrett (online only)
Prep: 1½ hours
Cooking time: 2 hours
Equipment: High speed blender, measuring cup in mls
This list might seem like a lot but I guarantee you’ve got most of these ingredients in your kitchen already!
Roast “Beef” Seitan
|170g||Vital Wheat Gluten|
|4 tbsp||All Purpose Flour|
|1 small||Beetroot (for 200mls of purée)|
|1½ tbsp||Garlic purée|
|1 tbsp||Tomato purée|
|3 tbsp||Meat herb mix/ vegan beef stock mix|
|2 tbsp||Dried mushroom powder|
|2 tbsp||Nutritional yeast|
|1½ tbsp||White caster sugar|
|1 tsp||Black pepper|
|1½ tsp||Onion powder|
|¾ tsp||Dried oregano|
|½ tsp||Dried thyme|
|½ tsp||Dried basil|
|½ tsp||Chilli powder|
|5 tbsp||Olive oil|
|1 handful||Fresh Rosemary|
|1 handful||Fresh Thyme|
Only make a stock if you have a muslin cloth to wrap your seitan dough in. If you don’t have one, wrap the loaf in foil and skip step 7
|Bay leaves (dried or fresh)|
|White caster sugar|
- Peel the beetroot and roughly chop into 1-inch pieces. Add to a high speed blender with 150ml water and blitz until it becomes a smooth, thick purée.
- In a large mixing bowl, add the following dry ingredients (amounts shown above):
- Vital Wheat Gluten
- All Purpose Flour
- Meat herb mix/ vegan beef stock mix – even though it’s labelled as beef, most herb mixes are vegan but just check the packet anyway to be sure
- Dried mushroom powder – if you can’t find mushroom powder, you can always buy dehydrated mixed mushrooms and blend into a fine powder
- Nutritional yeast
- White caster sugar – any granulated sugar will do
- Salt – go easy on the salt at this point as some of the other mixed herb seasonings will contain salt, as well as, the stock if you prepare one
- Black pepper
- Onion powder
- Dried oregano
- Dried thyme
- Dried basil
- Chilli powder
Mix together well.
- To the dry-mix, add the beetroot purée and olive oil and partially mix.
- Then add the following ingredients (amounts shown above) to the seitan dough:
- Garlic purée
- Tomato purée
- Using your hands, lightly knead the mixture until all the herbs, spices and purées are well combined and the pink colour is evenly distributed throughout the dough. Try not to over-work the dough – the mixing shouldn’t take longer than 2-3 minutes.
- Shape your dough into a meatloaf and tightly wrap it in cling film and allow to sit in the fridge for 1-2 hours.
Make the stock in the meantime (If you don’t have a muslin cloth skip step 7)
- To a large (preferably non-stick) boiling pot, add the following (amounts shown above):
- Red onions, roughly quartered
- Cracked bay leaves
- Whole garlic cloves with skin on
- White caster sugar (2 tsp)
- Salt (1 tsp)
- Fill the pot with enough water to just cover the seitan loaf. Turn the heat on high and bring to the boil. Do not add the seitan loaf into the pot at this point.
- Once the broth has come to the boil, turn the heat down to the lowest setting. Unwrap the seitan loaf from the cling film and tightly wrap in a muslin cloth. If you don’t have a muslin cloth, wrap the seitan loaf tightly in foil – making sure to carefully seal the edges to prevent water getting in.
- Gently and carefully place the wrapped seitan loaf into the pot and allow to gently simmer on the lowest setting for about 1 hour. Routinely check the pot to make sure the stock hasn’t boiled down too much – add more water if necessary.
Now is the best time to line your baking tray and prep the vegetables for roasting
- After 1 hour, carefully remove the seitan loaf from the pot and carefully remove the foil or muslin cloth and allow to rest for 10-15 minutes.
- Rub your seitan loaf with a bit of olive oil and tap/pat onto the sides of the loaf any leftover herb/meat mix. Stick into the loaf sprigs of fresh rosemary and thyme and place in the centre of a baking tray lined with greaseproof/parchment paper.
- Add into the tray your oiled and seasoned vegetables for roasting and pour vegetable oil into the baking tray up to about ½ centimetre in depth.
- Cover the entire tray with foil making sure it’s sealed around the edges and bake in the oven at 180-200ºc (fan-assisted) for 40 minutes.
- Remove the tray and discard the foil. Carefully turn the seitan loaf over to cook on the other side and place the tray (uncovered) back into the oven to cook for a further 20 minutes to crisp up.
- Remove from the oven and allow to rest for 10-20 minutes. Cut into slices and serve.
Need ideas for what to make with this dish?
- Roasted Potatoes, Parsnips and Red Onion
- Buttery Brussels Sprouts
- Giant Yorkshire Puddings
- Maple-glazed Carrots
- Creamy Garlic and Mushroom Sauce