One of the hardest parts of being a new vegan (or even an old seasoned vegan) is trying to keep up with all the new products out there. I must have spent over $50 looking for the "right" vegan cheese my first year being a vegan and I have over 50 vegan/vegetarian cookbooks in my arsenal but not all the recipes are the greatest. I’m the first born so I’m used to being a Guinea Pig and now I’m your Vegan Guinea Pig. So here are my recommendations and critiques. Let me know what you think!

Sunday, February 24, 2008

La Dolce Vegan's Faux Chicken Seitan

If there is a such thing as a Seitan Snob then I am a card carrying member of the club (if not the president). I hate store bought seitan (picture me eyes closed, wringing my first in anger at store bought seitan). I've tried a couple versions of homemade chicken seitan but, by far, the best that I have ever made or had in life is the Faux Chicken recipe from La Dolce Vegan! by the wonderful Sarah Kramer. The recipe for Faux Chicken actually comes from one of Sarah's readers (Cori from Missoula, MT) who adapted it from a recipe in Simply Heaven. I have since adapted the recipe from the one in La Dolce Vegan! to take down some of the salt in the recipe and accommodate my pantry (I never have celery seed lying around).

So here it goes. The BEST Faux Chicken Recipe you'll ever try. In my estimation the recipe, as is, yields about 1 pound of Faux Chicken Seitan. I usually double the recipe (to make 2 pounds) and cut it into "chicken breast", nuggets and strips to use for various recipes later. This usually makes about 16 "chicken" nuggets or 4 "chicken" breast.

Basic Instant Gluten
1/2 cup instant vital wheat gluten flour
1/2 cup water

In a medium bowl, stir together the wheat gluten and water until it becomes elastic. The original directions say to knead for 5 minutes but I never knead it longer than 1 (out of pure laziness, but I like the texture better too). Cut into you desired shapes and sizes.

Faux Chicken
2 cups water
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
2 tablespoons Bragg's liquid aminos
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 heaping teaspoon sage
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

In a medium sauce plan, bring all of the broth ingredient to a boil. Add prepared seitan into broth. Reduce heat and cover with lid. Let simmer for 50-60 minutes stirring every 10 minutes, until broth has reduced completely. (watch it closely I've had cooking times range from 20 minutes to 70 minutes). Use chicken immediately in your dish of choice or store in the refrigerator (for up to 6 days) or the freezer (for up to 6 months)

Thanks so much to Sarah Kramer for giving me permission to reproduce this recipe. Check out her website at


  1. This was the most amazing seitan I've ever had. Thanks so much for posting the recipe. I made it for my Seitan a la King recipe and my husband and I practically swooned at each bite.

  2. I was a little disappointed in this after doing my first batch, but I am sure it's me doing something wrong. The seitan came out very rubbery and compact. Any ideas on what I might have done wrong? (The taste was fine but the texture wasn't.)

  3. Hmmmm...I'll try to take a stab at what went wrong without knowing all the steps you took. I'm guessing that you over kneaded the dough. Next time, don't knead it at all if you can. Just enough to get it in place to cut it into your desired shapes. Ideally it should come out with a light, chewy texture. You should see it expanding and settling as you stir it during the cooking process. Hope it turns out better next time!

  4. I made this last night. My first attempt at seitan used another recipe, I ended up with a result very similar to Jonas' above.

    Then I discovered this recipe. I breaded and lightly fried it afterwards. My little once in a blue moon unhealthy treat. It was the most amazing thing I've ever eaten. It was tender, juicy, wonderfully textured and bursting with beautiful and lovely flavours.

    Rest assured, that may be the first, but it most certainly won't be the last time I use this recipe. Thank you so very very much for introducing me to it Alicia.

  5. I am 14 years old , and i am a vegetarian. I have been looking for a recipe like this because bought faux chicken is sometimes kinda soggy and I don't really like that. Thank you Alicia. Your recipe came out great , I made it last night and my parents where proud that I cooked for them .

  6. I made this a while ago from Sarah's cookbook and adored it. Every single recipe I have tried from any of her cookbooks came out delightful which is a lot more than I can say for other cookbooks we own. We breaded and fried it (my fav), made stir fry and a curry and all were very good.

  7. This is the best seitan ever. Way better than the restaurant-made / store-bought seitan. Thanks for the tip about kneading the dough - I liked the texture when I did it for only about a minute. I made a India Chicken Fry and ate it with flat bread. Amazing!!!

  8. Always use very cold liquid to mix with your VWG. Warm liquid activates the gluten, while cold liquid won't react as quickly, giving you more time to mix well. I'm anxious to try this recipe, I have been craving "chicken" lately.

  9. So easy and tasty- I'll never buy the overpriced, over-processed stuff again. Glad to have found you- thanks!

  10. I just made this and I AM IN LOVE!I opted to make four "breasts", browned them in a little EVOO and topped them off with a mushroom-garlic wine reduction.DE-LICIOUS!
    Thank you so much for sharing!

  11. I made this for dinner tonight and I just died! The texture of mine was moist and chewy, and it absorbed the flavors I added perfectly! I cut the "chicken" into strips and then cooked it in some buffalo sauce. SCRUMPTIOUS(:

  12. I am just about to try out your recipe, and I've noticed the wide range of cooking times. As I'm new to vegan cooking, I am not at all sure how I will know when my seitan is done. Can you help me out? Please and thank you.

  13. Hey Sandra Leigh, per the directions cook until broth is completely reduced. Hope that helps! Happy cooking :)

  14. This looks great! I'm definitely going to use this and then batter and fry it to make vegan chicken tenders. I have a few questions. I've heard that boiling seitan can lead to it having a spongy texture - is that true for this recipe? I've also heard that wrapping it in cheesecloth before you boil it can make it more firm, rather than spongey. Do you think that would work for this recipe?

  15. Oh and one more question... I have also heard that seitan has a less rubbery, spongey texture if you put it in the cold broth and then bring it up to a simmer rather than placing it directly in the boiling broth. What do you think of that idea?

  16. I haven't made this particular recipe in nearly 3 years but I don't remember it ever being spongy. I do recall that I really loved the texture and it didn't need anything additional like cheesecloth which would make it more into a big log rather than cutlets or nuggets shapes. I'm not sure how you would do it if you wanted to create tender strips, were you thinking of wrapping each individual tender in cheesecloth? I also have never tried to method cold to hot water and am not sure what a difference this would make. I'm sorry I couldn't be of more help. I've been using the seitan recipe from Q&E Vegan Comfort Food for pretty much all my seitan needs for the last 3 years

  17. I notice the original recipe calls for celery seeds. What change would they make?

  18. Well everyone else has said it! This recipe is amazing! One question. You mentioned the expanding and settling stage. Mine were definitely settled when the broth was gone. The expanded stage looks better though. Should you take it out expanded or does it matter? Thanks for a wonderful recipe!

    1. Hello Tom! It's best to let it cook all the way through for maximum flavor and the best texture. The expansion is just a product of how the heat moves through the air bubbles in the seitan while cooking. Happy cooking!


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