This seitan is sweet, smoky and savory, sweetened with pineapple juice and baked with a maple, mustard and brown sugar glaze. Serve it as your protein for a holiday dinner (you can even add stuffing before you steam it!) or thinly slice and use in sandwiches, on pizza, or in Hawaiian fried rice.
If you’ve never made seitan (wheat “meat”) before, you’re in for a treat! The main ingredient, vital wheat gluten, is the protein derived from wheat. When generously seasoned and steamed or baked, seitan has a firm and meaty texture.
Have an ambitious holiday dinner menu planned? Save yourself some trouble by steaming the seitan the night before, and simply add the glaze and bake it the day of. Feel free to play around with the flavors – use orange juice instead of pineapple, or Bee Free Honee in place of maple syrup.
I attempted to give the seitan a pink hue by adding beet powder; the dough was bright red but the color faded after cooking. I suspect a squeeze of lemon or a bit of vinegar would help it maintain its vibrancy, but I’m not entirely sure.
You can wrap the seitan in foil, but I like the look of it when it’s steamed in cheesecloth, and it also creates a final product that’s slightly more moist (in a good way).
Vegan Holiday Ham
For the Seitan
- 1 cup pineapple juice
- 1 tablespoon olive oil or sub tahini
- 1 tablespoon liquid smoke
- 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
- 2 tablespoons liquid aminos
- 1 teaspoon vegan bouillon or 1/2 bouillon cube
- 1/2 cup white beans
- 1 1/2 cup vital wheat gluten
For the Glaze
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- 2 tablespoons pineapple juice
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon whole cloves
- Bring an inch or so of water to a simmer in a large stockpot or dutch oven with a steamer insert.
- Blend all ingredients except for vital wheat gluten until smooth. Pour over vital wheat gluten and stir together into a sticky dough.
- Knead dough for several minutes until firm and springy. Shape dough into a ball or log and wrap very tightly in aluminum foil or cheesecloth. Make sure there is a good amount of overlap along the seam of the foil or cloth, and twist the ends tightly. Seitan expands when cooked, and it will spill out if loosely-wrapped.
- Place seitan inside stockpot and steam for 1 hour. Water will boil off, so check periodically and add more as needed.
- Remove seitan from oven, unwrap, and allow to cool slightly. During this time, preheat oven to 350°F and combine all ingredients for the glaze except for the whole cloves.
- Cut a shallow criss-cross pattern across the top of your seitan loaf. Optionally, insert a whole clove into the center of each diamond between the cuts.
- Place seitan on a lined baking tray and brush generously with glaze. Bake for 30-45 minutes, brushing with glaze every 10 minutes, until glaze has caramelized.