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  • Hail Seitan! The New Vegan Meat Alternative That Is Going Viral

Hail Seitan! The New Vegan Meat Alternative That Is Going Viral

Date Published: 28-06-2022

sliced and roasted vegan seitan ham

The number of people in the UK switching over the plant-based diets has rapidly increased over the past few years and the rise in popularity of Veganuary every year highlights that many are wary of the effects that meat and dairy have on climate change, our health, and the welfare of animals. The vegan boom has been difficult to ignore with supermarket chains and restaurants massively increasing their meat-free offerings.

Although we may be spoiled for choice, these plant-based substitutions can sometimes be a little on the pricey side, and in response to this many have turned their attention to the almighty seitan. Made up from either traditionally washing the starch from flour or simply using vital wheat gluten flour, seitan - pronounced say·tan – is a versatile ingredient that can be used in a variety of tasty dishes. It may surprise you but this recently popular vegan substitute has a long history and has been used as far back as the 6th century by Buddhists to make the transition to a vegetarian lifestyle easier.

So is seitan good for you?

Generally speaking, yes. It is packed full of protein – a whopping 21g per 100g serving – as well as minerals such as iron, calcium, selenium, and copper. It is also low in carbohydrates, fat, and sugar. It is worth noting however, that store-bought ready-to-use seitan can contain other ingredients and additives that can change the nutritional value.

Are there any downsides?

Seitan is mostly comprised of wheat-gluten and, as the name suggests, is not suitable for coeliacs, or those with gluten intolerances. So it is better to stick with substitutes such as tofu, tempeh or soya protein and avoid seitan if you are sensitive to gluten.

The versatility of seitan cannot be understated. Think of any meat substitute you would want to make and the likelihood is that you can make it with seitan. You do not need to look far to find recipes by others that have spent a great deal of time meticulously experimenting to create unbelievable substitutes that would fool even the most stubborn meat-eaters. Just a simple search on social media sites such as Facebook, Instagram and TikTok will provide you with a treasure trove of seitan recipes, varying from deli-style vegan meats to seasonal showstoppers. To get you started, we will be sharing some of our favourite seitan recipes over the coming weeks. Make sure to keep your eyes peeled!

Image: Vegan prosciutto-style seitan. Provided by Natalia Sartre (seitansociety.com)