Vegan Chicken (Seitan)

by Adam Sobel

Experience the ultimate succulent meaty texture and flavor with my seitan-based vegan chicken recipe. This plant-based alternative rivals the real thing, without the cholesterol or harm to cute chickens. Perfect to use in any dish, this recipe will satisfy even the most skeptical meat-eaters. Check out the complete step-by-step guide to making this Vegan Chicken, along with information about modifying it to suit different dietary needs. This recipe was contributed by Chef Adam Sobel from The Cinnamon Snail, a vegan and kosher caterer located in New Jersey.


15 oz can navy beans (or other white bean)

1 Tablespoon “No Chicken” bouillon paste

1 Tablespoon nutritional yeast

1 teaspoon onion powder (optional)

1 Tablespoon mirin

2 Tablespoons olive oil

1 ¼ teaspoon salt

⅓ cup unsalted vegetable broth

2 cups vital wheat gluten (300 grams)

1 Tablespoon olive oil (additional)

2 ½ cups unsalted vegetable broth

2 teaspoons tamari

1 Tablespoon Chinese fermented bean paste, taucu, or miso paste

  1. Add the white beans along with all of the liquid in the can directly to a food processor, or blender along with the “no chicken” bullion paste, the onion powder (if you want it), nutritional yeast, mirin, olive oil, and salt.
  2. Puree for 2 minutes until smooth.
  3. Add 1⁄3 cup of veggie broth and vital when gluten, and continue to process for 5 minutes. If your food processor struggles, stop it to rest halfway through to avoid overheating.

    Take it easy on your poor food processor!

  4. If you have a stand mixer, do the rest of the mixing in there instead! First, just puree the wet ingredients in a blender. Then add the puree to the broth and gluten and follow the same 5 minute initial mixing time in your stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment.
  5. After 5 minutes, add the remaining 2 teaspoons of olive oil, and process for another 30 seconds. The olive oil will coat some of the strands of gluten, and create a more tender, meatier textured seitan.
  6. The dough should look like this when it is finished mixing. Scrappy, textured, and somewhat like it came from a far off galaxy.
  7. Divide the gluten dough into three roughly even parts.
  8. Press each portion of dough out flat using the palm of your hand. Allow the dough to rest for 5 minutes so that the gluten relaxes a bit.
  9. Cut the dough twice keeping the butt end intact, and stretch it and braid it into a long three strand braid. As you braid it keep pulling the dough as much as you can without breaking it.
  10. Once each portion of dough is braided, allow the braids to sit again for 5 minutes to relax the gluten. Then squeeze and stretch each braid to form long braided ropes of rough about 12 inches long.
  11. Again, let the dough rest, this time just for a couple of minutes, and then knot the ropes of seitan dough at least once, but up to three times if you can. This will improve the texture of the seitan and give the strands of protein a more natural configuration.
  12. Lightly oil 3 sheets of parchment paper. Place each portion of gluten into the center of each sheet of parchment. Roll the gluten up like a burrito, and then wrap the paper wrapped gluten with aluminum foil as tightly as you can. Tightly wrapping the dough will prevent it from becoming spongy or dense while cooking and cooling.
  13. Place the wrapped packages of dough into your steamer, fitted with a steamer basket and cook for 90 minutes on medium heat. Check while it is steaming to ensure the steamer doesn’t run dry.
  14. After 90 minutes, turn the steamer off, and allow the seitan to cool inside the steamer for one full hour. Unwrap the seitan. It may have a somewhat uninspiring texture on the outside, but don’t worry, it’s going to be great after marinating. Place the wheat meat into an airtight container and pour the 2 1⁄2 cups of vegetable broth and 2 teaspoons of tamari, and the fermented bean paste over them. Refrigerate the seitan overnight in the marinade.
  15. After marinating overnight, the final product will be tender, juicy and ready to use! I especially think the texture is fantastic when it you pull it ad roast it with barbecue sauce, shred it and sautee it in sesame oil with chili crisp, sesame seeds, and green onions, or rip it into irregular small pieces by hand to make vegan chicken nuggets. My kids love this recipe when I make them vegan buffalo chicken.
  16. The torn seitan pieces are the key protein in making my Korean BBQ Seitan and vegan butter chicken. I served this vegan meat substitute to a lot of people from my food truck and a ton of people who didn’t realize our truck was veg swore they were eating real chicken. My kids love this recipe when I cut the seitan into vegan chicken strips, batter fry them, and serve with maple mustard dressing, whipped sweet potatoes, and collard greens.

  1. This Vegan Chicken recipe was contributed by Chef Adam Sobel from The Cinnamon Snail, a vegan and kosher caterer located in New Jersey. Find more of Adam’s recipes on Facebook and Instagram.

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