Friday, February 11, 2011


This week I decided to try a new-for-me vegetarian source of protein, seitan.  You may see it called "wheat meat." It is a traditional food in the Japanese diet and has been eaten by Buddhists for hundreds of years.  As I mentioned in a previous post, I have been eating primarily vegan  as I am trying to lose a little weight and optimize my health.  I have had a few eggs and a tiny bit of milk but I am looking for good sources of vegetarian protein. So I thought I would try seitan.  I picked up a package of White Wave, Chicken Style Seitan at my local Whole Foods.  Chicken Style should have been a big clue!  It has good nutrition stats:  for one serving (three servings in a package) - 110 calories, 2 grams of fat (no saturated or trans fat),  2 grams of fiber and 20 grams of protein! It has a little bit of iron and calcium but not much else in terms of nutrients. It does have a fair amount of sodium (770 mgs) or 32% of the RDA.  I perused all my cookbooks and finally decided on Irish Stew with Potatoes and Seitan from this new cookbook: 

This is a wonderful cookbook, filled with recipes that sound delicious but are vegan and lower in fat.  This is the first thing I have tried out of about 30 recipes that I have flagged.  I can't reprint her recipe since I made it exactly to her directions.  Basically it is potatoes, carrots, onions and green beans, cooked in a beer and broth mixture and then browned seitan is mixed in at the end. I only used about 1/2 of the seitan called for because I only bought one package and I needed two. Oh well.  I made the full recipe with 1/2 the called for seitan.   The beer makes it absolutely delicious (I used a Stella Artois).  There is also some lemon juice mixed in at the end which adds a nice brightness to what might be kind of bland.  The flavor overall was great - kind of a fresh comfort food.

Unfortunately for me, the texture of the seitan is exactly that of chicken.  Well no kidding, I bought "chicken-style" -  what was I thinking?  I could not get over how much it was like chewing on chicken meat, not a great thing for someone who hasn't eaten meat in 9 years!  Despite that problem I liked the dish and actually ate all 4 servings, once for dinner and then three lunches this week.  I would definitely recommend this to anyone wanting a comforting, filling and tasty stew.  I will certainly try seitan again, but next time probably not the chicken style! This is the only contact I want with  chickens or anything chicken-like! 

Has anyone else eaten seitan?  What do you all think?

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