Seitan Fit For A Saint: "Veggie Hack" St. Paddy's Day!

Cross-posted from The Green Fork

If toasting the Emerald Isle with a pint of green beer is not your style, why not celebrate St. Patrick's Day with a green corned beef and cabbage? That's green as in photosynthesis; in other words, creating a plant-based version of a classic meat-centric dish, aka "veggie hacking."

With a bit of googling, I found a recipe from chef Brian McCarthy, author of The Vegan Family Cookbook, for seitan corned beef. Better still, there's a video of Brian showing exactly how he does it, in case you're intimidated by the prospect of making homemade seitan. Don't be--it's easier than you may think, and the end result is as good or better than anything you'll find at the store. I just started making my own seitan a couple of months ago and have been consistently pleased with the results.

I tinkered with McCarthy's recipe a bit and borrowed a trick from a Joy of Cooking recipe for candied corned beef by coating the seitan with a brown sugar/soy sauce/mustard glaze and baking it to give it a sweet, cripsy crust. This faux corned beef may be more of a tribute to St. Francis than St. Patrick, but either way, it's pretty divine.

Seitan Corned Beef
(adapted from The Vegan Family Cookbook by Brian McCarthy)

Dry Ingredients:

2 cups vital wheat gluten
1/2 cup nutritional yeast
2 Tbs. paprika
1 Tbs. whole fennel seed (coarsely ground)
2 Tbs. whole caraway seed (coarsely ground)
2 tsp. allspice
1 tsp. ground cloves
1 tsp. thyme
1 Tbs. salt
1 tsp. ground black pepper

Wet Ingredients:

1 cup vegetable broth
1/4 cup finely minced onion
2 Tbs. maple syrup
1 Tbs. vinegar

Cheese cloth (one double thick 24-inch by 16-inch piece)
2 - 6-inch pieces of string

To simmer seitan:

2 cups beer
2 cups water
bay leaf
10 peppercorns
4 whole cloves
2 tsp. salt

For the glaze:

3 Tbs. brown sugar
1 1/2 Tbs. soy sauce
1 1/2 tsp. dry mustard


1) In a large pot, bring the beer, water, bay leaf, peppercorns, cloves and salt to a simmer.
2) In a large bowl, whisk together the gluten, nutritional yeast, paprika, fennel, caraway, allspice, cloves, thyme, salt, and black pepper.
3) In a separate bowl, whisk together the vegetable broth, onion, maple syrup, and vinegar.
4) Combine wet ingredients with the dry ingredients.
5) Form into a 5-inch by 8-inch corned beef-like loaf that will be about 1 1/2 inches thick.
6) Place corned beef loaf on cheesecloth and roll-up like a big flat rectangular tootsie roll (not too tight). Tie each end with a piece of string.
7) Place in simmering water, cover, and simmer for 1 hour and 15 minutes.
8) Take roast out of liquid and remove cheese cloth.
9) Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
10) Place seitan in a baking dish and coat with brown sugar, soy sauce, and mustard.
11) Bake for 15 minutes.

Slice thin, and serve with cabbage and potatoes.