Sunday, 8 December 2013

Black bean seitan and veggie stir fry

Seitan is a meat substitute made with wheat gluten. I've never cooked with it, so I decided to try it out by making a stir fry. (If you care about why I ever use meat substitutes, I wrote a freaking novel at the end of this post.)


Serves: 3
Preparation: 50 minutes

1 c. brown rice
1.5 c. water
1/4 c. black bean garlic sauce
1 Tbsp. sriracha hot sauce
2 Tbsp. red wine (I used a Cabernet)
1 Tbsp. olive oil
4 cloves garlic
1 tsp. sugar
8 oz. seitan, cubed
Coconut oil
1 small white onion, sliced
1 c. crimini mushrooms, sliced
1 red pepper, sliced
1 c. snap peas

1. Bring the water to a boil over medium heat. Add the rice, reduce heat to low and cover. Cook for 50 minutes.
2. Mix the next six ingredients (black bean garlic sauce to sugar) in a bowl. Add the seitan, coat well and put it in the refrigerator to marinate.
3. Heat about 1-2 Tbsp. of coconut oil over medium-low heat. Add the onions and saute for 3-4 minutes. Add the mushrooms and saute for 5 minutes. Add the red peppers and saute for 5 more minutes.
4. In the meantime, steam the snap peas in the microwave. Put in a shallow bowl, add about 2 inches of water and cook on high for 2-3 minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water.
5. Add the snap peas, seitan and sauce to the vegetables and cook over medium-high heat until warmed through. Serve over rice.


I'm not really a pet person. Not at all, actually. I sporadically had dogs and a couple of cats when I was growing up, but I never formed a strong attachment with a pet. I can take them or leave them, and people who treat animals like members of their family kind of weird me out.

In addition, I've seen a lot of dead animals turned into tasty cuts of meat and I don't feel particularly bad about. I live in a rural area and lots of our friends and neighbors grow cattle, pigs and chickens for meat. My brothers and nephews are avid deer and pheasant hunters. The delicious sausage, steaks and bacon we get as a result is part of a not-so-pretty butchering process. However, I know how these animals lived and I know they were slaughtered with care and gratitude.

The point is, I'm not an animal freak haha.

But when I see videos or photos of animals being raised in filthy, enclosed spaces and suffering their entire lives for the sole purpose of providing me food -- that is hard to stomach. I do my best to buy humanely raised meat instead of conventional farm-raised meat, but it's a jungle out there. We get a lot of meat from the aforementioned friends and neighbors, but I still need to buy some. The U.S. doesn't have particularly strict food-labeling laws, so just because ground turkey says it's "humanely raised" or "free range" doesn't really mean anything. Beyond that, free range meat and eggs are pricey.

I'm not a purist by any means -- buying only humanely raised meat is a lofty goal that I am reaching for but haven't even come close to achieving. In the meantime, I'm focusing on getting protein from more plant-based sources like tofu and beans (and Greek yogurt, but I haven't looked into the moral implications of Chobani; I don't even want to know haha). I've heard a lot about seitan, which is sort of like tofu but made from wheat gluten instead of soy beans, so I thought I'd give it a shot. The protein content is really impressive -- 21 grams in just 120 calories -- and I like the texture better than tofu.


  1. This is exactly why I spent 3 years as a vegetarian growing up, I am not a huge animal person (although I do love a pug!) but I think the conditions animals are kept in for our consumption is appalling.

    I chose to start eating meat again after I went to Kenya and saw all the poverty... I stopped being fussy with food at all. I still can't stand to think of the way animals are treated but I couldn't stand more watching people starve through lack of food supplies, let alone options and it just didn't feel right to me anymore.

    1. Ahhh good point. It's a luxury to be able to be picky about food. Poverty like that makes Paleo/gluten-free/vegetarian diets seem like the most privileged things ever.