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Just cause it's vegan doesn't mean it can't be beefy, spicy, juicy, and delicious! This Italian beef seitan made with vital wheat gluten and instant potato flakes will be a hit at your next party or potluck.

This recipe was developed as part of an experiment along with this variation made with washed flour. The pictures you see are from a combination of both methods. The taste and texture turned out to be remarkably similar to each other, so no matter which method you prefer to use, you will not be disappointed!

vegan italian beef shreds


Ingredients

Wet ingredients
 1 cup of your favorite beef-style broth. I used the beaf variation of this recipe which I usually have stored in my freezer.
 2 tbsp vegan worcestershire sauceMake your own with this recipe. Store bought works, too.
 2 tbsp soy sauce, tamari or liquid aminos
 1 tsp Marmite
 1 tbsp molasses
Dry Ingredients
 1 1/4 cups vital wheat gluten
 3/4 cup instant potato flakes* I used Bob's Red Mill which had no extra ingredients besides dehydrated potato. I have not tested other brands.
 1 tbsp porcini or shiitaki mushroom powderI find porcini to be much beefier tasting, so if you can get those I highly recommend!
 1 tbsp beetroot powderI've had good luck with this brand maintaining some redness on the inside, but the color did cook out most of the way on the second fry as you can tell from the photos.
 1 tsp smoked paprika
 1 tsp garlic powder
 1 tsp onion powder
 1/2 tsp oregano
 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
Plus
 1/4 cup neutral oil for frying
 GiardinieraOptional, though traditional topping. I used this recipe but you can buy it, too.
Simmering Broth
 4 cups of your favorite beef-style broth. Again I used the beaf variation of this recipe, but the store-bought works well, too. If using the broth recipe, you can either make it ahead or add all the ingredients to the slow cooker at the same time as the seitan.
 3 cloves garlic, sliced thin
 ½ tsp ground black pepper
 2 tsp dried oregano
 1 tsp dried parsley
 1 tsp dried thyme
 1 tsp dried crushed rosemary
 1 tsp dried basil

Directions

1

If making the Giadiniera, start with it the same day you prepare your seitan, or even a day before to give the flavors more time to come together.

2

Stir all of the wet ingredients together in a bowl or blitz in a food processor. Combine all the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Pour the wet into the dry and bring them together into a ball of dough. Working in batches if necessary, add the dough to a food processor (a dough blade is preferred for this if you have one) and process the ball of dough into a taffy-like texture. If you don't have a food processor, you can knead by hand for at least 10 minutes, trying to get as much gluten string development and smooth texture as possible. Another option is to let the dough rest overnight so it can autolyse.

3

Once the seitan has been kneaded and/or rested, start heating up your broth in the slow cooker with the garlic, black pepper, and seasonings. If making this recipe, you can add all of the vegetable broth base plus beaf variation ingredients directly to the slow cooker.

4

Stretch, twist, and tie it the seitan in several knots. I like to tie up two or three sections to make it easier to flip. Heat the 1/4 cup of oil on medium heat, and add the knotted seitan. You're looking for the dough to start to brown, but you want it to actually absorb some of the oil, not overly crisp.

5

Add the fried gluten to the hot broth in the slow cooker. I had mine set to high, which produces a low simmer, but all slow cookers vary so keep an eye on yours making sure it doesn't bubble too much. If using an Instant Pot, set the slow cooker function to normal and do not tightly close the lid or it might get too hot. Cook this way for 2-3 hours, occasionally flipping in the broth. The seitan should feel pretty firm when fully cooked.

6

Let the slow cooker come to room temperature. I find it easier to shred while the seitan is still a little warm. Store the shreds out of the liquid, covered in the fridge overnight, but save that "juice"/jus/broth! When ready to eat, heat the shreds in a pan with a little oil, if necessary. Top your sandwich with Giardiniera, and serve with warm jus drizzled on top or on the side.

NOTE: This recipe was tested in two different slow cookers as well as the 6qt Instant Pot on the normal slow cooker setting. They each varied slightly but were all done in 2 hours, whether or not I kept the dough as one knot or separated into a few knots. Yours may need longer than the suggested 2-3 hours, and if it is cooking at low enough of a temperature, should even be fine to let cook overnight.

*Inspiration for the use of potato flakes came from The Seitan Appreciation Society's Facebook group member Erica Cunningham. If you aren't a member, you should definitely check it out, if for no other reason than to be inspired by some of the most amazing seitanic creations you could imagine.

Ingredients

Wet ingredients
 1 cup of your favorite beef-style broth. I used the beaf variation of this recipe which I usually have stored in my freezer.
 2 tbsp vegan worcestershire sauceMake your own with this recipe. Store bought works, too.
 2 tbsp soy sauce, tamari or liquid aminos
 1 tsp Marmite
 1 tbsp molasses
Dry Ingredients
 1 1/4 cups vital wheat gluten
 3/4 cup instant potato flakes* I used Bob's Red Mill which had no extra ingredients besides dehydrated potato. I have not tested other brands.
 1 tbsp porcini or shiitaki mushroom powderI find porcini to be much beefier tasting, so if you can get those I highly recommend!
 1 tbsp beetroot powderI've had good luck with this brand maintaining some redness on the inside, but the color did cook out most of the way on the second fry as you can tell from the photos.
 1 tsp smoked paprika
 1 tsp garlic powder
 1 tsp onion powder
 1/2 tsp oregano
 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
Plus
 1/4 cup neutral oil for frying
 GiardinieraOptional, though traditional topping. I used this recipe but you can buy it, too.
Simmering Broth
 4 cups of your favorite beef-style broth. Again I used the beaf variation of this recipe, but the store-bought works well, too. If using the broth recipe, you can either make it ahead or add all the ingredients to the slow cooker at the same time as the seitan.
 3 cloves garlic, sliced thin
 ½ tsp ground black pepper
 2 tsp dried oregano
 1 tsp dried parsley
 1 tsp dried thyme
 1 tsp dried crushed rosemary
 1 tsp dried basil

Directions

1

If making the Giadiniera, start with it the same day you prepare your seitan, or even a day before to give the flavors more time to come together.

2

Stir all of the wet ingredients together in a bowl or blitz in a food processor. Combine all the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Pour the wet into the dry and bring them together into a ball of dough. Working in batches if necessary, add the dough to a food processor (a dough blade is preferred for this if you have one) and process the ball of dough into a taffy-like texture. If you don't have a food processor, you can knead by hand for at least 10 minutes, trying to get as much gluten string development and smooth texture as possible. Another option is to let the dough rest overnight so it can autolyse.

3

Once the seitan has been kneaded and/or rested, start heating up your broth in the slow cooker with the garlic, black pepper, and seasonings. If making this recipe, you can add all of the vegetable broth base plus beaf variation ingredients directly to the slow cooker.

4

Stretch, twist, and tie it the seitan in several knots. I like to tie up two or three sections to make it easier to flip. Heat the 1/4 cup of oil on medium heat, and add the knotted seitan. You're looking for the dough to start to brown, but you want it to actually absorb some of the oil, not overly crisp.

5

Add the fried gluten to the hot broth in the slow cooker. I had mine set to high, which produces a low simmer, but all slow cookers vary so keep an eye on yours making sure it doesn't bubble too much. If using an Instant Pot, set the slow cooker function to normal and do not tightly close the lid or it might get too hot. Cook this way for 2-3 hours, occasionally flipping in the broth. The seitan should feel pretty firm when fully cooked.

6

Let the slow cooker come to room temperature. I find it easier to shred while the seitan is still a little warm. Store the shreds out of the liquid, covered in the fridge overnight, but save that "juice"/jus/broth! When ready to eat, heat the shreds in a pan with a little oil, if necessary. Top your sandwich with Giardiniera, and serve with warm jus drizzled on top or on the side.

Slow Cooker Italian Beef Seitan