Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Porky Seitan Cutlets

Since my friend Sue and I decided our 2010 challenge was to veganize and make healthy “ad hoc at home” I knew I needed a seitan recipe that was reminiscent of pork. This recipe was a little more difficult than the more mild chicken or robust beef seitan substitutes. I wanted the “fatty” mouthy feel to this seitan but without the fat. Again I turned to adding cooked onions to the wet ingredients for that unctuous feel. I knew I wanted a mild flavor cutlet but without it being bland. We think this is nice substitute for pork. I am not going to lie, it isn’t going to fool a meat eater into thinking it is pork, but it is good and the texture is nice without having added oil. Here is what I did.

Porky Seitan Cutlets
Makes 8 cutlets


1 yellow onion, peeled and minced (approximately 1 cup)
2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
½ cup water
2 teaspoons tomato paste
¼ teaspoon marmite
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
½ teaspoon salt, or to taste
enough water to make 2 cups
2 cups fresh whole wheat bread crumbs
2 cups vital wheat gluten


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Water sauté the onions and garlic until completely soft. Place onions, garlic and any remaining liquid in your blender with the tomato paste, marmite, Worcestershire, salt and enough water to make 2 cups. Puree the mixture until completely smooth.

Pour the wet ingredients over the breadcrumbs and stir to combine. Allow this mixture to sit undisturbed until the breadcrumbs are completely soft. Now add the vital wheat gluten and knead to combine the ingredients. All the dry ingredients should be incorporated into the wet mixture. If any of the gluten remains dry you will need to add a little more liquid.

Form the seitan dough into a mass and cut it into eight roughly equal balls. Form each ball into a flat patty shape.

Heat a lightly oiled heavy bottom skillet over med high heat (I use cast iron). Cook the cutlets on each side until they release easily on their own. Move the seared cutlets to a waiting half sheet pan. Don’t crowd the pan as the cutlets will expand a little as they cook. I cook no more than three cutlets in the skillet at one time.

Add ½ cup water to the half sheet pan and bake the cutlets for 20 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and add another ½ cup of water to the pan and place it back in the oven. I rotate the pan to make certain the cutlets cook evenly. Bake for another 20 minutes. When you are finished baking the water should have been absorbed or evaporated.

Use the cutlets in any omni recipe that calls for pork.

Nutritional Information:

Amount Per Serving
Calories - 200.31
Calories From Fat (11%) - 21.25

Total Fat - 2.38g
Saturated Fat - 0.36g
Cholesterol - 0mg
Sodium - 322.23mg
Potassium - 159.68mg
Total Carbohydrates - 17.82g
Fiber - 2.36g
Sugar - 2.54g
Protein - 27.3g

The nutritional numbers above assume that the cutlets absorb ½ tablespoon of canola oil when they are seared. This is probably overstating the fat, but as usual I prefer to be conservative and overstate rather than underestimate the fat.


I have served these as cutlets with BBQ sauce and sliced them and included them in a veggie lo mein. The cutlets worked in both applications.

Unrelated note:

My husband was asking me the other day what “faux meat” I am going to try to make next and I think it is going to be Mortadella. Being part Italian I have an affinity for Italian cold cuts, and Mortadella has always been my favorite. Those experiments will start after Christmas. I don’t know how difficult this will be, but I love a good challenge so I am looking forward to it.

Additionally the hubby wants me to come up with a vegan pepperoni recipe so that is also on the horizon. If there is anything else you want me to work on please let me know.

This is going to be my last post for tonight. I will be back tomorrow with a recipe or two. Have a great evening.


  1. that looks great. I've never had faux pork before, but I'd like to try it.

  2. Dani,

    I hadn't had faux pork before either. But since I have had the real thing I knew if I played around with it long enough I would come up with something similar.

    I hope you like it too,

  3. Looks like another seitan triumph for you...I'm going to try to fit these in tomorrow afternoon amidst my Christmas cooking prep.

  4. Rose,

    I can't wait to hear what you think of them. Dan and I really liked them, as did the parental units. Although as the omnis said "definitely not going to fool anyone". I think they would be great in a piccata sauce.


  5. That sounds like a great combo w/ the piccata sauce for Christmas Eve.

  6. i just love that you use the word "porky" in your blog post title!

  7. Rose,

    I can't wait to hear what you think of the cutlets. If you have any questions I will be home.


  8. sabjimata,

    I really didn't know what else to call the cutlets. And .... since I was trying to make a pork substitute I thought it was a good description. Doesn't sound very vegan though does it. ;)


  9. I finally bought Ad Hoc at Home - there have just been too many good reviews out there to ignore it any longer! I'll save your cutlet recipe and put it in that page for future reference! I love your "porky" description - it reminds me of when the guy on Bizarre Foods describes blood pudding as "irony with a hint of hemoglobin"!

  10. Another wonderful seitan recipe. I read all the way through it, and it actually looks like something I could accomplish! Thankfully my children have never eaten meat, so I don't have to present it as a pork substitute, just another yummy dish. Thanks for working on these. And you asked for requests - I have one! We used to have an Asian restaurant near us that had mock meats, including drumsticks. They were made of vital wheat gluten and were stuck on little sticks. I've researched them and most of them have whey. There's May Wah in New York, but the shipping costs are more than the product costs. You can always look up what they use for ingredients for ideas, if you want. So anyways, I'm looking for a way to make these at home or buy them affordably in California. Help?

  11. Hollafoodzone,

    Ad hoc is a beautiful book isn't it? I am really looking forward to veganizing it.

    This cutlet recipe is really simple. I make them so often now I can have them in the oven in 20 minutes (assuming I have the fresh breadcrumbs in the freezer). They also freeze really well. Just wrap them individually and then store in a ziptop bag.


    Mock drumsticks, hmmmm. That sounds interesting. What type of stick were they on? Was it a flat wooden popsicle stick? I think we can do something like this. I have it on the list to start work on soon.

    The hubby was hoping I could make him faux baby back ribs on the bone. Nothing like asking for the impossible right? I had thought of using the flat wooden sticks for those. I decided if I seasoned the cutlet with barbecue dry rub and then coverd them in bbq sauce they may not fool him but they would taste good.

    BTW, the pork cutlets are also really good with bbq sauce.


  12. Okay, what are those little sticks called that are round? Dowels? I think they're dowels. Except these are like only 6 inches in length. They don't have to be on a stick, my children have never had actual drumsticks; they're just fun and easy to hold that way. Thanks! It's been on my to do list too, but it's been daunting.

  13. blessedmama,

    Are the sticks the diameter of a chicken bone or more like a thick toothpick. I think I can come up with this.


  14. blessedmama,

    Are the sticks the diameter of a chicken bone or more like a thick toothpick. I think I can come up with this.


  15. Hi, Alicia, I hope you read this. They are like the diameter of a chopstick. Thanks!

  16. blessedmama,

    I will see if I can find something like that. If I do I will let you know where. Otherwise I may go with wooden popsicle sticks since I know those are food grade.

    Merry Christmas,

  17. Hi Alicia,

    I'm catching up on older posts, I totally checked out from blog world for almost a week! You have posted so many yummy looking things, like the sea beans and the lasagna! I love the use of a loaf pan and never having tried a vegan lasagna I think your version would be an excellent first try. Back to this pork though, it really looks great. Which seitan recipe has been your favorite? I'm unsure if I should try this one, the crockpot version, or the steamed version first. All sound great. Maybe I should ask you which is easiest and then I'll go from there :)


  18. Sarah,

    I think you will like the lasagna. It isn't as fatty as dairy lasagna, but it is really good.

    Regarding the seitan that it a tough question. In general I prefer the steam/baked cutlets. I think my favorite is the beef or pork version. However, I also like the steamed sausages. If I had to pick one I would probably suggest the beefy cutlet.

    BTW, I think the steam/baked method is really easy. The only thing that can go wrong is that you could overcook them and make them tough. However, if that happens you can steam them again and they will soften so it isn't a catastrophe.

    If you have any questions on the recipe feel free to ask. I am happy to answer.



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