Sunday, February 14, 2010

Mushroom Seitan Cutlets topped with Lemony Mushroom Gravy

Today wasn’t my best day in terms of planning. It started with me asking my husband what he wanted for dinner. Of course he said seitan cutlets. That is the answer I get quite often. He knew I would want to test seitan with quinoa so he knew what to expect today, much to his chagrin. He really likes the cutlets with breadcrumb but quinoa is healthier so I am trying to make that substitution work in the recipe. We decided that a mushroom cutlet would be good so I made some dried mushroom powder earlier today to flavor the cutlet without leaving bits in the finished product. Here is what I did.

Mushroom Seitan Cutlet with Quinoa
Makes 11 medium cutlets


2 cups cooked quinoa
2 cups water
4 tablespoons mushroom powder (more would yield a stronger flavor which would work)
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 cups vital wheat gluten


Preheat your oven to 350 degrees convection (or 375 regular) and line a half sheet pan with parchment paper or spray it with oil.

In your blender combine the quinoa, water, mushroom powder, garlic powder, Worcestershire, and pepper and process until combined. Pour the resulting thick liquid into a bowl. Add the gluten a little at a time until it has all been absorbed. If you are make the seitan with bread crumb you will notice this texture is softer, more sticky and wet. I think this is due to the quinoa since it is so different from the bread crumb version. Just wet your hands before making the cutlets and you won’t have any problems.

Heat a lightly greased cast iron pan until hot and sear a few cutlets at a time on the top and bottom. Move the seared and crispy cutlets to the prepared half sheet pan. Continue until all the cutlets are seared and crispy on both sides.

Add ½ cup of water to the baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes. Then remove the pan from the oven and rotate the pan (in case your oven has a hot spot), add another ½ cup of water. Bake the cutlets for another 20 minutes. After the second half of baking all the water will have evaporated and the cutlets will be cooked through. The bottom of the cutlets may be a little wet from the water. To recrisp the bottom you can return the pan to the oven until it dries out, or sear the cutlets in the cast iron pan before serving (which is what I do).

If you have made the cutlets ahead of time (which I always do), recrisp them in the cast iron skillet and then add them to the simmering mushroom sauce below 5 minutes before you are ready to serve.

Nutritional Information:

Amount Per Serving
Calories - 206.16
Calories From Fat (10%) - 20.83

Total Fat - 2.32g
Saturated Fat - 0.28g
Cholesterol - 0mg
Sodium - 251.45mg
Potassium - 251.04mg
Total Carbohydrates - 25.05g
Fiber - 2.54g
Sugar - 0.41g
Protein - 21.65g


The seitan has a nice subtle mushroom flavor. I like that there is no wheat taste from the bread crumb. The texture is almost too soft. Any softer and these cutlets would definitely be too soft. This texture is most like veal that will cut with the side of a fork (depending on how crispy the exterior is). If you want something that is closer to beef in texture you may want to add a little more gluten (maybe a ¼ cup). My husband would like this to be a little chewier so I will be increasing the gluten just a little to get more chew in the next batch. I was surprised that the quinoa works so well to make a tender seitan. It is more difficult to work with when it is raw but I think the taste and nutrition is worth it. My parents, who came over for dinner, both liked the seitan and each ate a full serving. Since it passed the omnivore test it must have been at least fairly good.

Mushroom topping for cutlets
Makes enough for half the cutlets above – assumes 5 servings


1 cup yellow onion, finely diced
½ cup water
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
2 cups Crimini mushrooms, cut into quarters or eighths
½ teaspoon sweet paprika
¼ teaspoon thyme
¼ teaspoon salt
Juice of 1 lemon
3/4 cup water
1 tablespoon cornstarch (dissolved in water above)


Water sauté the onion until tender. Add the Worcestershire, Crimini mushrooms, paprika, thyme, salt and lemon juice and cook until the mushrooms have given up their liquid. Now dissolve the cornstarch in the water and add it to the pan and cook to create the sauce.

Nutritional Information:

Amount Per Serving
Calories - 33.08
Calories From Fat (2%)-  0.8

Total Fat-  0.09g
Saturated Fat - 0.02g
Cholesterol - 0mg
Sodium - 154.75mg
Potassium - 223.76mg
Total Carbohydrates - 7.48g
Fiber - 0.88g
Sugar - 2.5g
Protein - 1.16g


The mushroom sauce was a big hit tonight. Everyone really liked this. My parents even asked what was in the sauce and if I would show them how I made it. I am certain they plan to use it on meat, but at least it isn’t packed with fat, sugar and salt so it is still better from them on that count. If I had vermouth in the house I would have used that for half of the water in the sautéing process to add flavor. However, these mushrooms actually had more than enough flavor as they were.

Unrelated note:

I am going to call it a night and finish posting our Valentine’s Day recipes tomorrow so that I can spend time with my Valentine. I hope you are all having a nice holiday.


  1. This sounds wonderful...I'm sure we will love it...thanks for the recipe.

  2. Rose,

    I really liked the sauce, which I think made the dish. The sauce may have been one of my best no fat sauces in a while. The paprika and lemon is so good with the mushroom.


  3. yummm! i like making seitan/faux meat from scratch. this looks really delicious!

  4. I'm sticking with your regular old cutlets made w/bread crumbs. They work for me.

  5. Vixen,

    This seitan is a little tough to work with when raw because it is so sticky (due to the quinoa). But the resulting cutlet is very tender, not the slightest bit tough.


    My hubby loves the breadcrumb version too. I have been trying to reduce our flour intake or I would still be using that version. Glad it works for you.


  6. I like the sound of this, I don't think I would mind a softer texture either. I forgot to tell you that I tried your steamed cutlets a couple of weeks ago and topped it with mushroom gravy. I think the gluten free bread I used to make the bread crumbs made them a little odd (but since it was was first time making them I'm not sure). They did have a strong wheat flavor from the bread. It was my first time using wheat gluten, and that was really fun! I have my eye on trying your buffalo chicken strips next, but the next time I make cutlets I'll try this version.

  7. Sarah,

    The flavor of the bread does make a difference in the bread crumb version. A strong flavored bread will come through the final flavor of the cutlet. That is the only thing that is hard to control about the bread crumb version. White bread would add the least flavor, but since I don't use it I can't say for certain what it will do to the texture.

    This recipe is much more sticky than the breadcrumb version. It will feel too soft and you will think it won't possibly form a cutlet, but it does. Be certain to wet your hands with water when forming the cutlet.


  8. For not having it all planned out, sure looks pretty tasty to me!

  9. Heather,

    Thanks! It all turned out well. I hope to get the remaining recipes posted later today. I have spent today alternately relaxing and exercising. It has been an all me day at my house today!


  10. Yum! Your Seitan looks so amazing! It looks just like a real meat. I really love the sound of mushroom gravy, I'd love to give this healthy and delicious sauce a try very soon:)

  11. Oraphan,

    You are very sweet! Thank you.

    The gravy did turn out well. My hubby has already asked me to make more. That is usually a good sign that he really likes something I have made.


  12. Hi Alicia. I love mushrooms and will definitely be putting this recipe aside for later. I love the idea of mushroom powder and what with the jumping flax seed issue I can see a coffee grinder winding its way into my kitchen very soon! Thanks again for all your hard work in sharing these recipes with us.

  13. Jenny,

    I use my little coffee grinder for many things. Besides the flax and dried mushrooms it is also good for grinding whole spices and making a small quantity of fresh bread crumbs. I think you will find it very useful.

    My hubby liked this mushroom sauce so much I had to make more this morning so he had some for his cutlet today for lunch. I hope you like it too.

    Thank you for the nice compliment. As you probably guessed I really enjoy cooking and like to share what I learn in the kitchen. It was very easy to make unhealthy food taste good. However, it is more of challenge to make it healthy and tasty. It took me a while to get it right so I wanted to share with others so they don't have the same learning curve I had.

    talk to you later,

  14. Is there a Worcestershire sauce that doesn't have anchovies in it? What brand do you use?

  15. Delaney,

    There are quite a few different vegan worcestershire sauces. The one I see most often is by Annies Naturals. I tend to try a new one each time I run out to see if any of them are different. So far they have all been fairly similar. Your local health food store is a great place to look. I would imagine Whole Foods also has a good selection, but I haven't looked for it there. Amazon grocery has been carrying a lot of organic and vegan things lately too. You may want to check there.



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