Homemade seitan (“wheat meat”) is wrapped around a savory stuffing in this elegant vegan main dish.
This is A Tale of Two Seitans.
For Thanksgiving this year, I decided to make something a little fancier than the baked tofu my husband, daughter, and I usually enjoy while our omnivorous extended family is eating turkey. The day before the big feast, I took one of my old favorite stuffings, wrapped wheat gluten around it, sealed it in foil, and baked it like “Veggeroni.”
Right out of the oven, the savory flavor of the stuffed seitan was divine. Though the texture was verging on dry, I had to chase away family members circling like ravenous wolves so that I could wrap it up for the trip to my parents’ house.
The next day, I reheated the foil-wrapped seitan in the oven alongside my green bean casserole and my mother’s cornbread dressing. And that’s where I made my mistake. I should have steamed it or microwaved it because it came out of the oven much drier than before. Doused with mushroom gravy, it was still good, but it could have been better.
I posted a photo of the first seitan roulade on my Facebook page and planned to share the recipe when I got back from my Thanksgiving trip. But because I wasn’t completely satisfied with how the stuffed seitan “performed” for the big meal, I decided to see if I could come up with a moister, more tender seitan that would hold up to reheating.
That’s how this second seitan roulade came to be.
In this version, I “oven-steamed” the seitan first in a little broth before uncovering and baking it. Success! The stuffed seitan was so tender that we didn’t need any gravy.
The only downside is that because it wasn’t confined by foil, the roast expanded as it cooked and lost its “rolled” design. It’s also less sturdy than the foil-baked version, so if we were planning to travel with it, we’d need to pack it much more carefully.
Overall, I prefer the final version, but if you want the roulade look, follow the variation in the recipe below. Whichever way you make it, just be careful how you reheat it. Or better yet, eat it while it’s still piping hot out of the oven.
“Savory.” That’s the best word to describe this meat-free roast, redolent with the flavors of thyme and sage and enlivened with the sweet-sour tang of dried cranberries. You won’t have any leftovers!
Seitan Stuffed with Walnuts, Dried Cranberries, and Mushrooms
- 1/2 large onion chopped
- 1 rib celery chopped
- 4 ounces mushrooms sliced or chopped
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon rubbed sage
- generous grinding of pepper
- 3 ounces whole wheat bread (about 2 slices), cut into small cubes
- 1/3 cup dried cranberries or cherries
- 1/4 cup chopped walnuts or sunflower seeds, for nut-free
- 1 teaspoon whole chia seeds or ground flax seed
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1/2 cup water (more as needed)
- 2 cups vital wheat gluten (10 ounces)
- 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon rubbed sage
- 1 teaspoon marjoram
- 1/3 cup quinoa flakes or quick oatmeal
- 1 teaspoon chia seed or ground flaxseeds
- 1 1/2 cup vegetable broth
- 1 cup great northern beans cooked
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce or coconut aminos
- 1 clove garlic peeled
- 1 tablespoon tahini (preferred) or nut butter
- 1/2 cup vegetable broth
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce or coconut aminos
- 1/2 teaspoon dark sesame oil (optional)
- 4 sprigs fresh rosemary
Make the stuffing:
- Sauté the onion and celery in a non-stick skillet until onion is becoming translucent. Add the mushrooms, thyme, sage, and a generous grating of black pepper and cover. Cook until mushrooms exude their juices, about 3 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients along with enough water to moisten the stuffing but not make it soaking wet. Remove from heat and keep covered.
Make the seitan:
- In a mixing bowl, combine the dry ingredients (vital wheat gluten through chia seeds). Place the 1 1/2 cups of broth, white beans, soy sauce, and garlic in blender and process until liquefied. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients, add the bean mixture, and stir until gluten is completely moistened. Drizzle the tahini over the top and knead it into the dough. Keep kneading until dough holds together in a ball. Set aside while you make the broth.
Make the broth:
- Heat all ingredients until hot but not boiling. A microwave works well for this.
- Preheat oven to 400. Lightly oil an oval or rectangular baking dish, 11-13 inches long and 6-8 inches wide. (Your seitan will expand to fit it, so try not to use a very wide dish.)
- Line your work surface with plastic wrap, parchment paper, or waxed paper. Place the dough in the center, cover it with plastic wrap, and roll out the seitan, making sure that it is the same thickness in all places, until it's about 9x13 (an inch or so either way doesn't matter, but make sure it's not longer than your pan). Spread the stuffing evenly, leaving a 1-inch margin on all sides.
- Lift up the plastic wrap on one of the long edges and roll the seitan up like a jelly roll. (Alternatively, arrange the stuffing in a horizontal line across the middle of the seitan and bring one long edge up and over it to the other side.) Pinch the ends sealed first and then pinch well to seal the long seam. Take care to make sure that the edges are completely sealed and no gaps or stuffing shows.
- Lift the seitan roll carefully and place seam-side down in the prepared casserole dish. Pour the baking broth over it, add rosemary, and cover tightly. If the dish doesn't have a cover, use aluminum foil to cover tightly. (Did I mention "tightly?" Tightly! I enclosed even the bottom of the dish in foil.)
- Bake for 25 minutes. Remove from oven, baste with broth, recover tightly, and bake for another 25 minutes. Baste again and return to oven uncovered for about 30 minutes. Baste 2 or 3 times as it's cooking. Seitan is done when top seems firm and brown and the broth has evaporated. You can test it by cutting a small slit in the middle; if it is doughy rather than firm, return to the oven.
- Remove from the oven and let cool for 5-10 minutes. Transfer carefully to a cutting board or serving platter and cut into 1/2-inch slices.
Nutritional info is approximate.
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Federico BerghmansJanuary 29, 2016 at 12:44 pm
Your seitan is my obliged dinner every xmas. First time I did it baked, but then I tried the roulade but by boiling it in film paper. I dont find it too dry (depends on the stuffing too).
AnastasiaSeptember 4, 2016 at 7:49 am
My Mom has made this recipes since the 1950’s and it has always been a big hit. Wonderful savory taste for all to enjoy! This was popular in Germany in the mid 1900 and still cannot be improved upon. EXCELLENT DISH!!
CameronNovember 6, 2016 at 5:22 pm
I want to make this for Thanksgiving in a few weeks and was just thinking: do you think it would work to wrap the whole thing in cheesecloth and THEN place in the pan with broth and cover with foil? It would hold it’s shape more, then, wouldn’t it? While still getting steamed? Either way, this looks delicious and I’m excited to try it!
Susan VoisinNovember 6, 2016 at 6:14 pm
I think that should work. I hope you’ll let me know if you try it.
CynthiaNovember 20, 2016 at 7:24 pm
My niece is vegan and I always try to makes something special for her when family is together. I offered her several dishes to choose from and she asked I make this for her this Thanksgiving. My question is this…can it be prepared the night before and cooked Thanksgiving day? I can cook it in the oven the morning of and then have reheat it or I can cook it in an electric roaster. Is either method better? Thanks for your help. The step by step instructions and the pictures are a great help.
Susan VoisinNovember 20, 2016 at 10:01 pm
Yes, I think it would work fine to roll it up and place it in the pan and wait until the next day to pour the broth over it and cook. I haven’t used an electric roaster so I can’t say how that would work, but if you cook it in the morning, keep it tightly covered so that it doesn’t dry out. When you reheat, add a little broth to add moisture. I hope you and your niece enjoy it.
ZakiyaNovember 22, 2016 at 8:24 am
Do you think this would work wrapped tightly in foil and cooked in a crockpot on high heat for a few hours? Or any other suggestions as to how I could adjust the cooking method for a crockpot? I’m trying to save oven space and time, given my European Easy-bake-Oven sized oven won’t allow much room.
Susan VoisinNovember 22, 2016 at 11:05 am
I haven’t tried it in a crockpot and wouldn’t want to steer you wrong.
RitaNovember 17, 2017 at 11:43 am
At what temp and how long do you reheat the newer version of stuffed seitan? I would like to make it ahead for Thanksgiving. Thanks
Ellen KowallisNovember 21, 2017 at 8:57 am
Amazing recipe. Couldn’t you use cheesecloth and cook as in the latest variation and still not lose the shape?
Susan VoisinNovember 21, 2017 at 10:23 am
Yes, I think there’s probably a comment or two here where people have done that and it worked well.
Pauline OrrNovember 21, 2017 at 10:14 am
I think I’m going to cook this for Thanksgiving this week. I’m thinking of cooking it how you have it but letting it sit in the refridgerator overnight then glazing it in a pan before our Thanksgiving meal. Do you have any recommendations for this plan?
Susan VoisinNovember 21, 2017 at 10:24 am
Sounds like a good plan. I’d just be careful not to add too much liquid when reheating.
KatNovember 21, 2017 at 8:09 pm
I was thinking about premaking this, doing all steps, but once it’s rolled, putting it in the fridge or freezer? then par baking it thanksgiving morning, then bringing it to family’s and finishing it up there right before serving. Do you have any suggestions for this possible plan? I work every day, including thanksgiving, so I’m trying to spread the work load out 🙂 thanks! Can’t wait to try this out!
Liz PNovember 22, 2017 at 10:44 am
I have made this every thanksgiving for 4 years now! I had to give some love/ appreciation for such a delicious recipe! For those of you that are not fans of mushrooms (or are allergic, like me) you can substitute chestnuts!
lillian homNovember 23, 2017 at 9:28 pm
I made this for Thanksgiving and it was delicious! I loved the flavors. Thanks for the recipe.
TamarNovember 23, 2017 at 10:32 pm
Holy crap, this turned out spectacularly today for Thanksgiving. Thank you so much! I wish I could attach a photo here, because it came out quite beautiful, too. This will definitely be my go-to vegan Thanksgiving entree I’m the future.
JackieNovember 24, 2017 at 11:17 pm
I’ve made this twice. Once exactly by the book and once making random stuffing (but it had butter since I’m vegetarian). Both ways turned out awesome. I am thankful for this recipe!
MaggieDecember 18, 2017 at 1:16 pm
Thank you for an excellent recipe. I have made seitan only once before and didn’t much like it as it was way too spicy. This recipe was far superior to my British tastebuds. I subbed sultanas for cranberries and added chestnuts to the stuffing. I didn’t have an appropriate dish so split the mixture between two loaf tins. I think it could have done with a bit less time in the oven due to the smaller size, but was very tasty nevertheless. I will take this to my in-laws for my Christmas lunch. Seasons greetings!
silviaMarch 16, 2018 at 9:46 pm
What if you wrapped the seitan roast in muslin tightly tying the ends like candy and boiled it? I’m only just learning vegan cooking but I found boiling a good way to keep seitan moist. Love this blog. I’m so glad I found it!!
selkieNovember 22, 2018 at 12:29 am
Is one serving one slice only? The calorie content seems a bit steep for one slice.
Susan VoisinNovember 22, 2018 at 12:46 am
It depends how thick you slice it but a serving is usually two slices.
DenisJanuary 1, 2019 at 7:56 pm
Wow! Incredibly moist and flavourful. Amazing texture. Best seitan roast recipe I’ve come across. Will be making it again for sure. Thanks Susan!
stanOctober 28, 2019 at 12:50 pm
Hey Susan! It looks wonderful! i was just wondering how did you make the dough, i cant find the recipe on this page…
Susan VoisinOctober 28, 2019 at 1:55 pm
Hi Stan—it’s not a dough, as in bread dough, but seitan—made with the gluten part of wheat. The instructions for the whole thing are at the bottom of the post (or should be—let me know if the entire recipe is missing.) The section “Make the Seitan” tells you how to make the outer part of the roast.
Ricardo CoelhoDecember 22, 2019 at 9:20 am
This is my go-to recipe for Xmas, no one allows me to do anything else 🙂 I cannot express how good this is, other than say it makes me feel sorry for meat-eaters who actually think their meal is OK 🙂
JohnOctober 10, 2020 at 5:15 pm
This recipe is unreal! So very happy that I found this recipe for Thanksgiving this year!
Be careful not to over-knead the gluten dough so it doesn’t get too chewy!
BrianNovember 20, 2020 at 9:13 am
This may be a dumb question, but do you dry the bread for the stuffing mixture? I know the recipe doesn’t specify this step, but I’ve never made stuffing without drying the bread first, so I thought I’d check.
Susan VoisinNovember 20, 2020 at 9:44 am
I didn’t dry the bread for this recipe, but drying it wouldn’t hurt.
EVNovember 24, 2020 at 12:49 pm
We’ve made this every year for thanksgiving for the past 8 or 9 years and it’s become an expected treat for everyone in the household and even for our non-vegan guests. This year it’ll just be us, which is sad, but on the plus side, I will have a better chance at leftovers.
RachelNovember 26, 2020 at 10:21 pm
I made this tonight and it’s amazing!! It seemed a little intimidating because I’ve never made seitan before. It was such a success and much easier than anticipated. Beautiful recipe, thank you.
H. FalkDecember 25, 2020 at 2:41 pm
Seriously delicious. I made the oven-steamed version, but first wrapped it loosely in parchment paper. It stayed round. Moist and delicious. I will definitely make this again!
NicholeJanuary 16, 2021 at 4:23 pm
Thanks for posting this!
Great detailed instructions! I made a version with finely ground sunflower seeds in place of the walnuts for the vitamin E – so delicious.
You might consider adding required equipment and put the baster in that.
D. stanDecember 11, 2021 at 7:28 am
Can I bake this in a dutch oven pot with a cover that can go in the oven? If so, should I still cover the entire pot on the outside with aluminum foil. I asking because you stressed the word tightly..
ginDecember 20, 2021 at 10:31 pm
this looks really tasty!
i’ve seen avant-garde vegan wrap seitan tightly in cheesecloth so that it stays firm but absorbs moisture from its brazing liquid…
i haven’t tried making seitan but i bought a little wheat gluten and i was going to try making something, not sure what yet.
fred marshallNovember 18, 2022 at 9:34 pm
what about people who can’t have gluten is there a substitute?
Susan VoisinNovember 19, 2022 at 10:19 am
I’m afraid there isn’t a gluten-free version of this recipe, but I’m sure you could find something with similar flavors if you search the internet.