1–15 oz (425g) can dark red kidney beans, drained (see note 1)
⅓cup reduced sodium soy sauce (or No-Soy)
¼cup tomato paste
¼cup nutritional yeast (see note 2)
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar (see note 3)
2 teaspoons garlic powder
2 teaspoons onion powder
2 teaspoons dried oregano
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground mustard (or 1 tablespoon store-bought brown or Dijon mustard)
½ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
½ teaspoon chili powder
1 ⅔cups vital wheat gluten
Note: You’ll need a food processor for this recipe, what a perfect excuse to invest in one if you haven’t already! If you don’t have one, I recommend a Cuisinart food processor or if you cook a LOT, my baby is the Breville Sous Chef 12 Cup and it is AMAZING. I’ve also heard good things about Ninja, though my prior experience was not amazing. You can use a blender if you need to. If that is the case, do everything except add the vital wheat gluten, and transfer the mixture to a large bowl, then add the vital wheat gluten with a strong spoon. Mix by hand once it gets too hard to stir until the vital wheat gluten is fully incorporated.
Another note: You’ll also need a steamer pot or a large pot fitted with a steamer basket. Make sure your pot has a lid, or you can purchase a universal lid.
Blend or mix: Add everything except the vital wheat gluten to your food processor and blend until smooth, scraping down the sides if necessary.
Add the gluten: Add the vital wheat gluten and mix until just combined.
Prep the steamer: Now add 1-2 inches of water to the base of your steamer pot and start it to boil on medium high heat.
Prep your space: Line your work surface with aluminum foil–it will protect your surface from stains and we’ll be using it to wrap the seitan steak anyway.
Divide the mixture into 4: Turn out the seitan dough onto the foil and press it together with your fingers until you have a rough log shape. Divide it into 4 equal pieces. I like to use a food scale with this–so my seitan log in this case was about 800 grams, so each piece was 200 grams. This will get you four equal size servings, but if you’d prefer to eyeball it, go ahead!
Make and wrap the steak: Form a rough steak-like shape with your hands, You want it to be about ¾ inch to an inch thick all the way around, but the shape doesn’t matter much. Wrap in foil and repeat with remaining pieces.
Steam it up: Once the water in your pot is to a boil, place the wrapped parcels inside the steamer basket and place in the pot, then cover with a lid. Cook for about 25 minutes on medium high heat. Note that if you’re grilling or pan frying the vegan steak after to get that nice char, I’d cook it for about 20 minutes as overcooked seitan can be a little tough.
Rest the seitan: When time’s up, remove the lid and use tongs to place the wrapped parcels on a plate. Let them rest for at least 10 minutes.
Now here’s where you can make a decision: For tender steaks, serve immediately or grill/sear in a pan (for 2 minutes each side). Note that if you’re searing them in a pan, I recommend just a little bit of oil (neutral with a high flashpoint, like grapeseed oil) rather than dry, otherwise you’re cooking out some of that moisture instead of locking it in. But if you’re oil-free you can skip this step entirely and eat the vegan steak straight out of the foil pack. For firmer steaks, refrigerate the wrapped parcels until cool, then unwrap and heat on a grill or in a pan (can reheat covered in the microwave too).
Store: Refrigerate leftovers in an airtight container for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 3 months.
Note 1: Black beans or chickpeas would be fine but dark red kidney beans give it a more authentic color. I like to blend beans into almost all of my seitan recipes because it makes the seitan more tender, more robust, and it actually turns it into a complete protein.
Note 2: Nutritional yeast really makes this taste like steak, I swear. The end product does not taste of nutritional yeast at all. I tried it without and the flavor wasn’t quite as good, but if you really hate nutritional yeast you can leave it out (I’d reduced the liquid by ¼ cup).
Note 3: The apple cider vinegar is a flavor enhancer, but not a necessity. Substitute any vinegar you have on hand (except balsamic, I don’t think the flavors would mesh but go ahead if you want to try it.