You may know Matthew as the Senior Food Policy Director for the Humane Society of the United States. His talents extend beyond that, however. He is also a great chef (and photographer!) who is, for the very first time, sharing a full collection of his favorite sustainable plant-powered recipes with the world.
This gorgeous hardback book is filled with inspiring quotes, mind-expanding infographics, and artful food photos, and is worthy of prime placement on your coffee table. It takes you through the environmental challenges we’re facing in our world today and how food can be a central force to overcome them.
The first half of this book will empower you with knowledge and resolve to take action on issues that could make or break our world. The second half will empower you with recipes so that you can put that resolve into action by cooking up delicious planet-friendly vegan meals right in your kitchen.
Matthew has kindly offered to share one of his favorite recipes from the book—his beloved smoky seitan kebabs—with our World of Vegan readers. Enjoy!
Seitan actually dates back over 1,500 years to ancient China, where Buddhist monks discovered the wheat meat after soaking wheat dough in water. They were left with a high-protein wheat gluten and found it made the perfect meat substitute!
In 1961, the term “seitan” was coined by George Oshawa, a Japanese advocate of the macrobiotic diet. Seitan has long been a staple in diets across various Asian cultures and has taken countless forms—from mock duck to baked spongy gluten.
Asian cuisine has long been one of the most vegan-friendly and it is quite common to find seitan on the menu at an Asian restaurant that also serves meat! Seitan is now a meat-free staple around the world and can easily be found at standard supermarkets and on the menu at many eating establishments.
Seitan is incredibly versatile—you can make it as spicy or salty as you’d like! While this recipe provides specific spices to include for the seitan kebabs, here are some ideas of what you could use to flavor your wheat meat:
Combine vital wheat gluten, spices, and nutritional yeast in a large bowl.
In another bowl, mix liquid smoke, vegan Worcestershire sauce, olive oil, tomato paste, soy sauce, and water.
Pour the wet mixture into the dry, knead to form a ball, then shape into 6 seitan kebabs.
Place the kebabs on a baking sheet and flatten them out. Bake for 10 minutes, then remove and turn the oven to broil. Using metal skewers, or soaked wooden skewers, skewer each kebab and return them to the baking sheet. Broil each side for 2 minutes. Serve with peanut sauce and lime wedges. Enjoy!
Seitan stores well in both the fridge and the freezer. In the fridge, it will keep for up to about 4-5 days when stored in an air-tight container. In the freezer, it will last for about three months when stored properly in a tight container. If freezing, it’s also advised to wrap it in cling wrap and/or foil to keep some of the moisture in. Feel free to go wild with your favorite marinade, too!
Seitan, or “wheat meat”, is a fascinating plant-based protein that’s as versatile as a chameleon at a color-changing party! It has a mild savory flavor similar to tempeh, with a slightly chewy and meaty texture, making it a superstar in absorbing all the bold and zesty flavors you throw its way.
It’s like a culinary sponge, soaking up marinade, spices, and seasonings like a pro!
While seitan is a fantastic source of protein, it does contain carbohydrates, mainly from the wheat gluten used to make it. The exact carbohydrate content can vary depending on the recipe and any additional ingredients added during the preparation. However, compared to whole wheat products like bread or pasta, seitan tends to have a lower carbohydrate content since the process of making seitan involves washing away some of the starch in the wheat flour, leaving behind primarily the gluten protein.
For those following a low-carb or ketogenic diet, seitan may not be the most suitable option due to its carbohydrate content. However, for individuals seeking a plant-based protein source with lower carbohydrates compared to legumes or grains, seitan can be a great addition to their diet. As with any food, moderation and balance are key, and it’s essential to consider your dietary goals and nutritional needs when incorporating seitan or any other food into your meals.
This Smokey Seitan Kebabs With Peanut Sauce recipe is excerpted from FOOD IS THE SOLUTION: What to Eat to Save the World by Matthew Prescott. Copyright © 2018 by Matthew Prescott. Reprinted with permission from Flatiron Books. Article written by Michelle Cehn and edited by Amanda Meth. All rights reserved. Photography by Matthew Prescott.