china-style thanksgiving seitan roast

(The above photo of the seitan served 20-25 people. The recipe below serves 2-3. Adjust accordingly.)

Vegan Recipe: Slow-Roasted Stuffed Holiday Seitan


If you want to have a vegan Thanksgiving, below is a recipe from Cliff Preefer, the founder and chef of Sacred Chow. As I mentioned in my video review of Sacred Chow, Cliff can make dishes like no one else. The guy is simply extraordinary. I asked Cliff to put together a Thanksgiving special for readers of livingmaxwell and this is what he came up with – a slow-roasted stuffed holiday seitan.

Seitan is the protein, or gluten, part of wheat flour. You are washing off the starch and leaving behind just the protein. If you’re using whole wheat flour, you’re going to be washing out the bran and germ as well, so it’s kind of pointless. Just use all purpose.

The starch that you wash off can be saved to thicken soups, stews, puddings, etc. Treat it just like corn starch and think of it as a pre-mixed slurry. If you’re not saving the water, throw it in the garden for compost or flush it in the toilet. It’ll clog your sink or bath tub.

For the flour, try to find hard red winter wheat flour because it has the highest protein content. It’ll give the best results with regards to the amount of seitan that you end up with. If you’d like to scale back, it works just fine. You can do any combination of bread flour and all purpose flour, as suits you. Please don’t use flour with any additions (pre-mixed flours).

10 cups unbleached white flour

3 – 3 ½ cups cold water

1 recipe stuffing (see recipe)

1 sheet fresh yuba

¼ cup yuba mix (2 TB paprika, 2 TB nutritional yeast, 1 TB garlic powder, 1 TB onion powder, 1 tsp salt, ½ tsp pepper)

Sift flour into the bowl of a stand mixer or a large bowl. Add 3 cups of cold water and knead well to make a dough. You may need more or less water, and more or less flour, to make sure that you end up with a dough that’s more or less smooth. It can be a little sticky.

If you’re mixing by hand, you’ll need to knead for about 10 minutes to develop the protein/gluten. The more you knead, the more protein develops.

Pour in enough warm water to cover the dough and let rest for 5 minutes. This begins the process of washing off the starch and/or bran and germ (if using whole wheat).

Set up two large pots. One with warm water and one with a colander placed over it.

Remove dough from the resting bowl and place in a large pot with warm water. Make sure that the dough is completely covered with warm water. Think of this process as if you’re washing a t-shirt. Start kneading the dough. Grab, knead, grab, knead.

The water will begin to get white and thick. Transfer the dough to the colander set over the 2nd large pot. Once drained, place back into first pot. Again, submerge the dough with warm water. Knead, grab, knead, grab. Transfer to the colander, and drain again. You’ll need to repeat this process about five times, until the protein completely separates into wheat muscle. Yes. It looks like muscle and is totally cohesive.

At this point, you have the actual seitan itself. Place into cold water, let sit for 15 minutes. This will allow it to drain off any final bits of starch and allow the seitan to completely firm up.

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.

Place and mold plenty of alumimum foil into a roasting pan. Next, spread and pull the seitan into a rough rectangle, lift and place in pan. Try to flatten it as much as you can. Stuff with Seitan Stuffing, and roll up into a log. Cover with a sheet of fresh yuba. Wrap tightly. Truss with twine, and cover in marinade. Roast in the oven for 60 minutes, basting with extra marinade every 10 minutes. After the first 30 minutes of basting, sprinkle the roast with yuba mix each time, so that the color starts to build slowly.


1 cup arborio rice (or any short grain rice such as sticky rice)

2 cups water

5 dried shiitake mushrooms

4 TB vegetable oil, split into 2 TB and 2 TB

2 shallots, thinly sliced

¼ lb fresh shiitake mushrooms, caps cut into ½ inch pieces

Salt & Pepper to taste

2 scallions, coarsely chopped

1 – 2 Chinese sausages (see recipe), or use store bought vegan sausage. sliced ¼ inch rounds

8 oz can of water chestnuts, drained and sliced 1/8 inch thick

2 TB cooking wine or dry sherry

2 TB soy sauce

2 TSP sugar

¼ cups chopped cilantro

Place rice in water. Bring water to boil. Cover. Return to stir the rice every 5 minutes, then re-cover. Continue the process for 15 minutes. When water is completely absorbed, remove from heat and set aside, covered, for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, put dried shiitakes into medium bowl and cover with boiling water until softened (about 20 minutes). Chop caps into ½ inch pieces. Carefully pour soaking water into a cup and stop before you reach grit.

Preheat oven to 350°F. In a deep skillet, add the oil and shallots, and cook until translucent. Add fresh shiitakes. Stir, cover and cook for 5 minutes. Add dried reconstituted chopped shiitakes. Cover and cook 2 minutes. Set aside.

Sautee the sausages in remaining 2 TB of oil, along with scallions, and cook until the sausages are lightly browned. Add water chestnuts, cook and stir until heated (about a minute). Add the mushrooms, and ¼ cup soaking liquid that you reserved, soy sauce, sugar, and bring to a boil. Add steamed rice. Stir to incorporate, stir in cilantro, season with salt and pepper.

Sausage (makes 5 large sausages)

2 cups vital wheat gluten

¼ cups nutritional yeast

2 TB sticky rice flour

1 TB onion powder

2 TB fennel

1 tsp black pepper

1 TB paprika

½ tsp red chile flakes (adjust as needed)

½ TB oregano

1 TB hickory salt

1/8 teaspoon cloves

½ cup olive brine

2 TB water

¾ cups white wine

2 TB garlic, chopped

¼ cups vegetable oil

2 TB soy sauce

1 ½ TB tomato paste

Combine all the dry ingredients. Combine wet ingredients. Mix wet into dry. Knead together until firm. If it’s too sticky and wet, add more vital wheat gluten. When combined, split into 5 large logs. Wrap in foil. Steam for 30 minutes (covered). Unwrap, and let chill.

If you have leftovers, they freeze perfectly.


3 cups water

1 cup apple juice

¼ cup soy sauce

¼ cups sesame oil

2 TB ginger

2 TB garlic

2 TB paprika

2 TB chili powder

3 TB corn starch

Combine in a blender until smooth. Use to baste seitan roast.

Serves 2-3.


Have a great Thanksgiving!
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