Barbecued seitan

August 8, 2009 at 11:51 am (Seitan, unrated, Website / blog)

I’ve tried grilling vegetables on a barbecue grill, but I’ve never liked what I’ve produced.  The vegetables are simply not that tasty.  I’ve had marvelous grilled veggies at restaurants, so I know it’s possible, but clearly I don’t know the secret.  I was invited to a barbecue yesterday, and struggling to come up with something vegetarian to bring.  I finally remembered this recipe for barbecued seitan “ribz”, on the fat free vegan blog, that I’d been meaning to try.

I made the recipe as specified, with tahini, except I didn”t have any smoked paprika, so I used regular sweet paprika and added in a little chipotle powder.  I made the dough then let it rest for an hour in the oiled pan while I went to the gym.  When I returned I tried to shape it to fit the pan.  I didn’t get it perfectly square, but it mostly filled my 8×8 pan.  I baked my seitan for 25 minutes, then I poured my 1 cup of (homemade) barbecue sauce on top, and let it sit in a tupperware until the barbecue.

At the barbecue I put it on the grill, but I didn’t realize how hot it was and by the time I checked it the seitan was already burning.  You’d think seitan would like the heat, but it’s actually pretty dry and cooks really fast, unlike zucchini which has more moisture.  I flipped the seitan when I saw that it was burning, and then proceeded to burn the other side!  The pieces on the edges didn’t burn as much and they were delicious.  The seitan had a more bready texture than most seitans, but was still pleasantly chewy.  I liked the texture and the flavor a lot.  The flavor was mostly from the barbecue sauce, but also from the seasoning in the seitan.  I’ll definitely make this again next time I have a barbecue to go to, and hopefully I won’t burn it again!

Besides the seitan I brough watermelon, and made mint lemonade, and zucchini, all of which were a hit.  I made the lemon/garlic/mint zucchini from Fresh Food Fast, and let them marinade in the dressing all day.  I cut the zucchini along the bias to try to make the pieces bigger and less likely to fall through the grill.  However, my zucchini were pretty small and we still lost quite a few of the end pieces.  Next time I would buy bigger zucchini for grilling.  The zucchini came out well.  The ones that were really blackened and soft didn’t have much zucchini flavor, and the ones that weren’t browned at all were undercooked, but the ones with just a few flecks of brown were perfect.  I could stil taste the marinade on them, but I think it would have been even better to throw the cooked zucchini back in the tupperware with the rest of the marinade and give it a quick toss before serving.

Update May 2010:  I made this recipe again, but in the oven not on the grill.  To keep the seitan from getting to dry, I put the sauce on top of it before putting it in the oven to bake.  That was a mistake.  I think the sauce held too much moisture in because the seitan took forever to cook.  It just stayed soft and doughy.

The next time I made it I cooked it for 20 minutes and then put the sauce on and cooked it for a while longer.  It was still a little soft though.  Next time I’d leave it for about 25 minutes in the oven and then add the sauce.

Everyone liked this recipe, but the texture wasn’t quite as good as when I grilled it.  I accidentally put 4 tsp. of smoked seitan in instead of 2 tsp., but I couldn’t tell the difference.

The first attempt:  I was trying to find a new seitan recipe, and decided to try this recipe for baked seitan from the Fat Free Vegan blog.  I didn’t have smoked paprika so I subbed in somed chipotle powder.  I used peanut butter as my nut butter.  I don’t have a grill so I baked the seitan according to Vegan Dad’s instructions (linked to from the blog article).  Unfortunately I put the seitan in the oven too early, and the other component of our meal was not ready when it was time to add the barbecue sauce.  I left the seitan in the oven on warm, which was a mistake as it got a little dried out and tough.  I still liked the texture, but I’ll need to try it again without overcooking it.


  1. susan said,

    Next time try cutting the zucchini the long way instead of in rounds.
    You can do even small zuccchini this way.

  2. writerredsmith said,

    I wonder if you had used a wet method of cooking the seitan (such as using a pressure cooker) if that would have helped it not burn and retain moisture. I love making veggie “ribs” using gluten/seitan, but I do those in the oven–I’ve never tried the grill.

    I’ve had good success pressure cooking seitan to use in other dishes, such as slices for stir-fry or Thai curries or ground up for “burger meat.”


    • captious said,

      Hmm, a pressure cooker is an interesting idea, but I’d have to buy one first! Fresh Food Fast has a lot of recipes that call for a pressure cooker, and I’ve been tempted, but I just don’t know which one to buy. There are so many brands here in Germany, but all the reviews are in German!

  3. Seitan, boiled « The captious vegetarian said,

    […] decide how to cook your seitan.  You can boil it, steam it (another try), braise it, saute it, or bake it.  For each method you have to decide what kind of broth or sauce to cook it in (if any). […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: