This easy vegan seitan chicken recipe is the best seitan recipe you’ll ever try! The texture of the vegan seitan chicken is just unreal and you can use it in so many different ways instead of chicken! Plus it’s a great source of plant-based protein (13 g of protein per 100 kcal or 23 g of protein per 100 g).
Why use chickpeas to make vegan seitan chicken?
This easy vegan seitan chicken is made with seitan powder and chickpeas. The combination of seitan and chickpeas gives it a texture that is shreddable and similar to chicken. Additionally, seitan powder is made from wheat and low in the essential amino acid lysine. But if we add chickpeas which are naturally high in lysine, we can balance things out. The chickpeas also help to mask some of the “wheat” flavor of seitan.
To learn more about protein quality and combining protein sources, check out this post.
What you need to make this easy vegan seitan chicken recipe
To make this vegan seitan chicken, you need the following ingredients:
- cooked chickpeas: You can use canned ones or cook your own. If you’re using canned chickpeas, rinse them before using them.
- apple cider vinegar: helps remove some of the “wheat” taste that seitan sometimes has
- onion powder
- garlic powder
- mushroom powder: you can make your own by blending dried mushrooms (like shiitake mushrooms) until you get a fine powder
- vegetable broth: or water, but vegetable broth adds more flavor
- seitan powder
Step by step guide to making this easy vegan seitan chicken recipe
Step 1: Blend the chickpeas
The first step is to blend the chickpeas until they are smooth. Add the chickpeas to a food processor or blender, along with the remaining ingredients but the seitan powder. Scrape down the sides of necessary to make sure the mixture is very, very smooth. If there are too many small pieces of chickpeas left, you might get a crumbly seitan.
Step 2: Mix with the seitan powder
Transfer the chickpea mixture to a mixing bowl and add the seitan powder. You want to combine everything using a (wooden) spoon. No need to use your hands here. The dough should come together easily and be quite sticky. Cover the dough and let it rest for 15 minutes.
Step 3: Knead the dough
Now, divide the dough into two equal portions. Add one to a food processor and blend for approximately 5 minutes on low/medium speed. The dough will likely fall apart first and become very crumbly. Don’t worry!
Eventually, the dough will come together again. When you’re done blending, it should be one elastic ball with a smooth surface. It should be stretchy and slightly sticky but not so much that it sticks to your hands. Also, the dough will be very warm – that’s normal!
Repeat with the second dough.
Step 4: Steam
Before we can steam the vegan chicken seitan dough, we need to first wrap it in aluminum foil. You’ll want to wrap it very tightly. You can add a second layer of aluminum foil to make sure it’s even more secure.
The reason we wrap the seitan dough so tightly is because we don’t want it to expand while we steam it. If we would just add it without any wrapping, the seitan would expand a lot and become gummy and not have that shreddable texture we are looking for.
Want a low-waste/eco-friendly alternative for aluminum foil? You can also wrap the seitan dough with a muslin/cheese cloth. It’s not as tight (the seitan will expand a little, little bit while cooking) but that’s fine.
To a large pot, add 1-2 cups of water. Place a steaming basket on top. Add your seitan dough parcels to the steaming basket and steam it on medium-low heat for 2 hours. You’ll want to check back in between to make sure that there is enough water left in the pot or add more if necessary.
Step 5: Let it cool down and shred
After two hours, remove the seitan parcels from the heat and let them cool down to room temperature. You can carefully open the parcels to speed up the process.
The seitan needs to be cooled down before you attempt to shred it. Otherwise, it will not be as shreddable and the texture might be mushy. And you might burn your hands.
Ideas for serving this easy vegan seitan chicken
So, now that you’ve made your easy vegan seitan chicken, what do you actually do with it?
This recipe is a base recipe that you can then use for a lot of different type of meals, like
- pasta bakes
BUT you’ll want to add some kind of marinade/spices. Otherwise it might taste a little bland. I suggest shredding the seitan and then letting it marinade for at least an hour, or even overnight. Then you can fry it in a pan or put it on the grill.
Here are a few ideas for easy marinades for this vegan seitan chicken:
- soy/coconut yogurt, lime juice, curry spice mix, agave syrup
- bbq style: either use a pre-made bbq sauce or make your own (tomato paste, agave syrup, smoked paprika, liquid smoke, soy sauce)
- olive oil, lemon zest, lemon juice, minced garlic, dried herbs (rosemary, thyme, …)
- mustard, agave syrup, apple cider vinegar, salt, olive oil
- lime juice, paprika, cayenne pepper, cumin, coriander
- minced garlic, minced ginger, soy sauce, rice vinegar, black pepper
Substitutes for this easy vegan seitan chicken recipe
This recipe is not gluten-free and it’s not possible to make it gluten-free because seitan powder is a central ingredient. But, there are other things you can substitute if you don’t like a particular ingredient:
- chickpeas: You can use cooked/canned white beans instead, or even try tofu.
- mushroom powder: If you can’t find mushroom powder in the supermarket, you can make your own by blending dried shiitake mushrooms. Alternatively, you could replace it with more garlic and onion powder.
- tahini: Instead of tahini, you can also use a neutral cooking oil (like olive or canola oil).
- apple cider vinegar: You can use another vinegar or lemon/lime juice because that’s also acidic.
- you can add other herbs and spices like smoked paprika, rosemary, thyme, sage, marjoram, nutmeg, oregano, …
Commonly asked questions about making seitan
Can I eat seitan raw?
Once you’ve steamed the seitan dough for 2 hours, you can eat it straight away or cook the shreds in some other way like frying or putting them on the grill. I wouldn’t advice eating the raw seitan dough. It’s basically raw bread dough and might cause problems with digestion (plus it doesn’t taste very nice)
Why is my seitan rubbery?
If your seitan is rubbery/chewy you might have kneaded it for too long. Another reason might be adding too much seitan powder and too little chickpeas (the chickpeas really help with the texture).
How do you make seitan taste good?
Spices! Lots of spices! Just using seitan powder without any type of flavoring will taste very bland and boring. So make sure to use enough spices. You can also add vegetable broth, miso paste, soy sauce or mustard for more flavor.
Is it better to steam, boil or bake seitan?
There are different ways to prepare seitan:
- steam: Steamed seitan doesn’t absorb any liquid and therefore stays more dense – perfect for this recipe.
- cook: When you absorb seitan, it absorbs some of the cooking water and really expands in size. It may become mushy and too soft/spongy.
- bake: When you bake seitan, it tends to become more dry than using the other two methods. You’ll want to keep a close eye and not over-bake it. Baking works well for burger patties.
Can I freeze homemade seitan?
Totally! You can either store seitan in the fridge for up to a week or freeze it for several months. To defrost, make sure to remove it from the freezer and place it in the fridge one day before you want to use it.
How do you get the “wheat” taste out of seitan?
First, spices! You need to add a lot of flavorful spices. I love going for a combination of mushroom powder, garlic powder and onion powder because it has a very strong flavor and also kind of imitates a meat-y flavor. Dried herbs (thyme, sage, marjoram) are also a great choice. Adding apple cider vinegar also helps with masking the “wheat” taste.
Easy Vegan Seitan Chicken Recipe
- 240 g chickpeas, drained and rinsed 1 ½ cups
- 20 g tahini 1 tbsp
- 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp mushroom powder
- ¾ cup vegetable broth
- 160 g seitan powder 1 ⅛ cup
- Add all ingredients except the seitan powder to a food processor/blender and blend until very smooth.
- Transfer to a mixing bowl and add the seitan. Using a wooden spoon, combine everything until it comes together and forms a dough.
- Cover the dough and let it rest for 15 minutes.
- Divide the dough into two equal pieces and add each piece to a food processor on low/medium speed for 5 minutes. The dough should be very smooth and elastic.
- Tightly wrap each piece of dough into a piece of aluminum foil (or a cheese cloth).
- Place the parcels in a steaming basket and steam for 2 hours (medium-low temperature). Check back in between to make sure there is enough water in the pot.
- Remove the dough parcels from the heat and let them cool down completely. Then you can pull apart the individual seitan strands.