Sweet Chili Seitan Stir-Fry

kung pao seitan 5

“Signing up for a half marathon in March is a great idea.” I distinctly recall saying these very words out loud during an unseasonably warm October. “It’ll force me to keep up my running regimen through the winter.”

Sure, it sounded like a great idea at the time – stave off holiday weight gain, cross off a major bucket list item. However, getting dressed for a long Sunday run in blustery 23-degree weather had me feeling more than a little bitter.

kung pao seitan 4

Tilting my head against the wind as I rounded the corner up to the Art Museum, my feet kept tempo with my brain: sweet-and-spi-cy, sweet-and-spi-cy(Maybe it’s a distraction technique, maybe it’s a weird reward system, but all I think about while I run is what I’m going to eat later.) 

The prospect of chewy seitan and fat, crunchy peanuts tossed in a sweet and spicy chili sauce was definitely what got me through the last few miles today.

kung pao seitan 1

For an easy, low-calorie punch of flavor, I used a storebought chili-garlic sauce available in Asian markets and most supermarkets. Feel free to adjust the spice to suit your tastes!

Sweet Chili Seitan Stir-Fry
Serves 2

1/3 lb. seitan, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 inch piece ginger, minced
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup shelled peanuts
2 teaspoons coconut oil
1 tablespoon chili-garlic sauce
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon agave nectar or sweetener of choice
1/2 cup vegetable broth (I used Swanson’s Thai-Ginger)
1 tablespoon cornstarch, dissolved in 1/4 cup cold water
I head broccoli, chopped into florets

1. In a saucepan, steam broccoli florets until bright green and tender. Set aside.

2. Add coconut oil to a wok or frying pan. Fry garlic, ginger and seitan until the seitan is brown and crispy (stir frequently!). Add peanuts.

3. Add chili-garlic sauce, soy sauce, agave and vegetable broth to the pan. Cook for about 30 seconds until warmed through.

4. Stirring constantly, add the cornstarch slurry in a thin stream until sauce thickens. Serve broccoli and seitan* over steamed rice.

Nutrition per Serving: 377 calories, 26g carbohydrates, 14g fat, 39g protein.

*This dish makes delicious leftovers, however, make sure to reheat in a frying pan. Microwaved seitan tends to come out like microwaved pizza crust – tough and leathery!


Seitan Braciole


Although I love my Kindle dearly, there are two things that just don’t feel the same on a digital reader: magazines and cookbooks.

Out of my entire cookbook collection (a sizeable one, to say the least), my favorite has to be the 1973 collection of dishes compiled by the women of my grandmother’s synagogue. With an entire chapter dedicated to gelatin molds alone, the book is a delightful peek into the past through the eyes and kitchens of the women who submitted the recipes. Some entries are studded with handwritten notes , and nearly every recipe is finished with a signature in looping script.

One would be hard-pressed to label this as a typically Linden, New Jersey Jewish Cookbook, for it is extremely wide in scope.” Mrs. Ellen Winetsky writes on the title page. “Yet it is a product of our cosmopolitan Linden area membership whose adherence to the traditional observance of Kashruth has fired its imagination and whose creativity has allowed it to ‘do its own thing’ within these dietary laws.’

I think Mrs. Winetsky and I share similar views.

My inspiration came from a recipe – well, more of a method, really – for braciole. Toothsome seitan wrapped around an earthy filling of mushrooms and rice, finished with a vinegary tomato sauce would be the perfect finish to chilly November Saturday.


Serves 6

For the Seitan:
2 cups vital wheat gluten
2 cups water
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast flakes
2 tablespoons soy sauce
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
Dried thyme
Garlic powder
Onion powder

For the Filling:
1 8 oz. package of baby bella mushrooms, sliced
1 yellow onion, diced
1 rib celery, diced
1/2 cup cooked rice
1 tablespoon soy sauce

For the Tomato Sauce:
1 large can tomato puree
3 tablespoons white vinegar
2 tablespoons sugar
Salt & Pepper

1. Combine dry ingredients for seitan in a large bowl and mix well. Pour in liquid ingredients, mix well, and knead for about 3 minutes, until gluten “strings” begin to form. Divide into 6 equal portions and set aside.

2. Saute onion, mushrooms and celery in a large non-stick pan. Once veggies are soft, add rice and soy sauce and mix well.

3. Roll the seitan portions into long, thin cutlets using a rolling pin or empty wine bottle. Spoon the filling onto each slice of seitan and roll tightly, pinching the ends closed. Place rolls seam-side down in a casserole dish or a large loaf pan and bake at 400 degrees for about 40 minutes, or until slightly springy.

4. Combine ingredients for the tomato sauce and pour over the rolls. Bake for an additional 20 minutes. Allow to rest for a few minutes before serving.

Nutrition per Serving: 199 calories, 16g carbohydrates, 1g fat, 32g protein.