the Seitan Roast

This, for me, was a VERY interesting culinary experience – Seitan Roast w/ a MushroomPeppercorn Gravy. I know many plant based foodies are very familiar with seitan. Moi…not so much. This was my first, and I couldn’t believe how similar the results were to something you’d find in a deli – we’re talkin’ well cured meat. Crazy.

Growing up, I was never really attracted to the idea of eating meat – there was some, but not much. It just didn’t sit well with my tum. My parents had a rule that no one could leave the dinner table until they finished what was on their plates. Liver. A somewhat effective parental strategy, but when there are FOUR kids dining in a room alone with panoramic views, french doors (that were shut), and a family of neighbourhood foxes – it didn’t take much for us to think of our own strategy. Those days are WAY behind us.

Today, I love trying new plant based foods and trends. I don’t personally crave meat alternatives, but I think it’s pretty awesome there are such foods available – especially ones that can be made at home. THIS Seitan Roast is encrusted in major flavour, lightly seasoned ‘meaty’ interior, and FIRM – perfect for slicing thinly.

My favourite method to eat this roast is sliced thinly, bathed in a warm au jus (made from the peppercorn/mushroom brine), and then piled into a sammie – the classy Seitan Rueben.

Although seitan is pretty straight forward, before I got things started in the kitchen, I reviewed and researched multiple resources in an attempt to gather feedback from many POVs. Mostly on the cooking method. What I didn’t want…spongy (slow cooking is apparently best). This recipe did quite the opposite – BRICK like. As mentioned, perfect for slicing thinly. I was ecstatic once I learned that the texture becomes SUPER tender once heated in liquid too. Love having options. That’s why I can’t say it enough – keep the BRINE. It’s salty, but full of flavour. Heat up a little on the stove mixed in with some mushroom broth and you’ve got an awesome au jus. Simmer it for a while longer and add a touch of organic cornstarch to thicken, and you’ve got a delicious rich Peppercorn Mushroom Gravy – I blended mine for a smoother consistency. That’s what I love about this recipe, no waste and it’s ALL so good.

I’m going to be honest here…

there are a few ingredient some may find difficult to come by. Fresh beet juice – deepens the colour of the roast. If you’re not worried about colour, you can use an alternative or simply sub in more mushroom stock. Mushroom powder – can be purchased online, sometimes in-store, or simply track down some dried mushrooms and blend them in a coffee grinder. Browning sauce – adds a little colour, not much for flavour.

This recipe also requires a slow cooker, high speed blender, some time – about 7hrs total from start to finish (mostly a waiting game), and cheese cloth + some string! Keeps everything cozy while cooking.

yep, if it looks like a brain – you’re on the right track!
the Brine
the Seitan Roast
Prep Time
25 mins
Cook Time
5 hrs
Resting Time
1 hr 45 mins
Total Time
5 hrs 25 mins

THIS seitan roast gained some major fans!…both meat eaters and plant based foodies, alike. The result of this roast was similar to a well cured meat you’d find in a deli (so I am told) – it’s encrusted in major flavour, lightly seasoned meaty interior, and SUPER firm…best for thinly slicing. It tenderizes when warmed in brine/broth, and makes for one tasty sandwich! It’s worth the work.

Course: main course, lunch, dinner
Cuisine: plant based
Keyword: seitan, roast, beef-less, plant based
Servings: 2 &1/2 cups
Author: thecrimsonsink
the Roast
  • 2 cups vital wheat gluten
  • 1/2 cup extra firm organic tofu
  • 1/2 cup mushroom broth
  • 1/4 cup fresh beet juice
  • 3 tbsp mushroom powder *see notes
  • 1 tbsp demerara sugar, packed
  • 3 tbsp grapeseed oil
  • 1&1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp dry mustard
  • 1&1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 3/4 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp browning sauce or worcestershire *plant based
the DryRub
  • 1/2 cup Montreal Steak Seasoning (blend of mustard seed, course salt, crushed peppercorns, oregano, granulated garlic + onion, & coriander)
the Brine
  • 6 cups mushroom broth
  • 1/2 cup dried mushrooms (50/50 shiitakes & portobellos)
  • 1/3 cup beet juice
  • 6 garlic cloves, smashed
  • 1 tbsp peppercorns
  • 1 tsp mustard seed
  • 1/2 tsp whole cloves
  • 1-2 cinnamon sticks
  • 2 tbsp sea salt
the WetRub
  • 2 tbsp old style mustard (grainy)
  • 1 tbsp demerara sugar
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 3/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp dry mustard
  • 1/4 tsp coarse pepper
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  1. Add all ingredients, but the vital wheat gluten to a high speed blend. Blend on high until smooth (30s-1min).
  2. Add the vital wheat gluten to a large bowl. Make a well and pour in the wet ingredients that were blended. Stir until combined, and then knead for about 5mins until the seitan mixture becomes firm and elastic.

  3. *As you’re kneading, this is when I find it’s best to start forming the shape of your roast. Mine was oblong and about 6inches in length.

  4. Once done kneading, cover the seitan roast tightly in plastic wrap and place it in the fridge for 30mins. Prep the rub/brine while you wait.
  5. For the brine, toss all of the ingredients into a slow cooker. Stir well. Turn the slow cooker onto low – you’re just warming up the ingredients. Set aside.
  6. After 30mins, remove the seitan from the fridge and unwrap it. Give the roast a good rubbing of the Montreal Steak Seasoning, or seasoning(s) of choice – really get into those nooks & crannies. Wrap the seasoned seitan in a couple layers of cheese cloth (similar to a present), and tie string around both ends securing the cheese cloth in place. *Place the wrapped seitan back in the fridge for 1hr.

  7. After 1hr, remove the seitan roast from the fridge and place it into the awaiting slow cooker – the brine won’t cover the roast completely, but that is absolutely fine. Cook on low for 2hrs, flipping halfway through. *After 2hrs on low, increase the temperature to medium and cook for another 3hrs, flipping halfway through.

  8. Once cooked, remove the seitan roast from the brine and allow it to rest for 15mins. Remove the cheese cloth once the roast has rested. Prepare the WetRub while you wait.
  9. For the WetRub, add all of the ingredients to a small bowl and stir until combined – should be paste-like.
  10. With the cheese cloth removed, rub the roast with the WetRub. Don’t be afraid to have it heavy in spots – like where those strings dug in! They make for great flavour pockets.
  11. Heat a skillet over med. heat and drizzle with grapeseed oil. Sear the roast on each side until fragrant and lightly browning. Remove from heat.
  12. At this point, you can either slice and serve the roast, or refrigerate it. I like to refrigerate mine for a day or two to allow the flavours to setup even further.
  13. *Keep and store the brine in an airtight container in the fridge. Heat it up in a skillet, and add a little (or a lot) of mushroom broth to mellow out the saltiness – makes a super tasty au jus or gravy. 

  14. Once you’re ready to serve, thinly slice the seitan roast and heat up a little of the brine with some broth in a pan/pot. Toss the sliced seitan into the warm brine/broth and it will become super tender and flavourful. Serve warm – just the best!
  15. Store, wrapped well, in the fridge. Should keep for up to 10-12days. 

Recipe Notes

~ For the mushroom powder, I took 50/50 dried shiitakes and portobellos, and blended them in a coffee grinder until a fine powder formed. I filled the coffee grinder to the rim, similar to when grinding coffee beans, and it made about 3-4tbsp of powder.

~ For au jus, place some/all of the brine into a skillet. Add mushroom broth to taste – mellow out the saltiness. Turn onto med. heat and gently simmer to reduce until desired consistency is reached. For gravy, same method as the au jus, but add little-by-little organic cornstarch until desired consistency is reach. I blended mine to smooth things out. 

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