Sunday, September 6, 2009

Moroccan Braised Seitan with Onions, Raisins and Almonds

We spent much of the day shopping so I needed a meal that would come together without a lot of babysitting in the kitchen. Whenever I need to something low maintenance I turn to seitan sausages or roasts. Today I wanted to make a Moroccan dish that is loosely based on a lamb dish.

Like much Moroccan food this entrée combines sweet with savory but is definitely more savory than sweet. If you taste this sauce while you are cooking you will think it has too much flavor. Don’t worry it is intentionally flavorful to compensate for the blandness of the couscous. When all the components are married the flavor intensity is right.

The Turkish figs and marmite were added to the braising liquid to make it dark like it would be traditionally. They also help the sauce to thicken as it reduces. The lemon juice is not traditional in this dish but we both (my husband and I) thought this dish needed a little acid to round out the flavor.

Here is the big shock of dinner tonight. We had dinner with my 80 year omnivore parents this evening (I like to make certain they eat a few healthy meals a week, not an easy task) and both of them not only liked it but said they would eat seitan again. You could have knocked me over with a feather. To say I was shocked doesn’t even begin to explain my reaction. When my midwestern parents will eat a faux meat product willingly, I know I am on to something. If you have omnivores you want to cook for consider trying this recipe. It worked with the most hard-core omnivores I know.

Moroccan Braised Seitan with Onions, Raisins and Almonds
Serves 5

Braise Ingredients:

1 recipe for seitan roast with bread crumbs
1 yellow onion, finely diced
enough water to cover seitan
¼ teaspoon ginger, powdered
½ teaspoon cinnamon
4 whole cloves
1 pinch saffron
½ teaspoon of marmite
2 Turkish figs, dried, finely diced
1 lemon, juiced

Topping Ingredients:

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 yellow onion, finely sliced
1/3 cup of golden raisins, soaked in water to cover for 20 minutes
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
1/3 cup of almonds

Couscous Ingredients:

1 cup of whole-wheat couscous
1 ¼ cups water
1 pinch of salt
¼ cup of Turkish apricots, dried and unsulfured, finely diced
1 lemon, zested


Prepare the seitan in the prior recipe. Cut it into bite sized chunks and return to the pan the seitan was braised in. Add the onions and seasonings (except the lemon juice) and cover with water so that it just covers the seitan. Cook on low for at least 30 minutes to allow the figs to dissolve and the flavors in the sauce to marry.

While the seitan is braising make the onion topping. Add the olive oil, onion, raisins and soaking water, and cinnamon and cook until the raisins plump, water has evaporated and onions are golden. When the onions are caramelized add the slivered almonds and cook to heat through.

When the onions are caramelized begin cooking the couscous. Combine the couscous, water, salt and diced apricots and microwave until the water is absorbed. The water was absorbed in 3 minutes in my microwave. Allow the couscous to stand for a few minutes before removing the lid. Add the lemon zest and fluff the couscous before serving.

To plate the dish put the couscous in the bottom of deep bowl and make a trough in the center for the braised seitan. Top with the onion, raisin and almond mixture. Serve hot with a lemon wedge on the side.

Nutritional Information:

Amount Per Serving
Calories - 647.09
Calories From Fat (18%) - 115.1

Total Fat - 13.27g
Saturated Fat - 1.7g
Cholesterol - 0mg
Sodium - 657.63mg
Potassium - 627.75mg
Total Carbohydrates - 79.02g
Fiber - 9.22g
Sugar - 18.73g
Protein - 56.62g


My husband and I were discussing dinner a few minutes ago and I asked him what he thought. He told me he wouldn’t change a thing. I suppose this means the recipe has the husband seal of approval.

While it isn’t traditional I would like to see something green in this dish. I would recommend you add a little fresh minced parsley to the couscous when you fluff it. Don’t forget to serve this with lemon wedges. I think the acid is necessary to cut through the sweetness.


  1. oh YES. moroccan flavors are so amazing. i love the combo of ingredients here!!

  2. "It worked with the most hard-core omnivores I know."

    now you know how i felt when my husband tried it for the first time!!!(said sweetly:))wasnt it an amazing feeling? good for you, but also good for them for admitting it...that can be hard for some people to admit, especially when they were so strongly against it before.

  3. oh that picture was the one and only lilly!! we take her to the lake sometimes but i can always tell who she is among all the other ducks......her bald spot helps.....

  4. veggivixen,

    Moroccan food is fabulous, I couldn't agree more. We love the combination of sweet and savory. Thanks for letting me know you would like to see more Moroccan inspired recipes.


    I am still shocked that my elderly parents have embraced the seitan. There may be hope for them yet.



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