Seitan Slow Cooker Style

Before my descent into veganism, I used to love to make short ribs and pork and roast in the slow cooker.  As someone does not eat meat, I can still savor the memory of pork so tender it had to be scooped up because it would fall apart when pricked by a fork or delicious beef ribs done low and slow.

But alas…I am vegan.  Which means Time to Get Creative.

So I’ve been thinking about how to make vegan slow cooker recipes for a while now.  Up until now, my go-to veg ingredient for slow cooking has always been potatoes.  Really waxy potatoes I can slowly break down over a couple of hours.  Still, that’s largely just applying a technique, it is not really doing any good to the potatoes which eventually break down and become a mush and I just wanted more.  Which led me to my old standby: seitan.

I figured I would start with one of my favorites: “beef” short ribs.  This is a dish that does really well slow cooked, not so much because the protein needs the flavor, but the sauce needs time to meld together.  Oh, and don’t be afraid.  There are a lot of ingredients, but it’s really an easy recipe.

Braised Chinese “Beef” Ribs

For the seitan:

  • 1 1/2 cup of vital wheat gluten
  • 1/4 cup of nutritional yeast
  • 1 tablespoon of salt
  • 1 tablespoon of oregano
  • 1 1/4 cup of water
  • 1 tablespoon of tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon of oil

For the flavorful cooking liquid:

  • 1 cup of low sodium tamari
  • 1/4 cup of rice wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup of orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons of garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon of sambal olek (sriracha hot sauce can be substituted)
  • 1 medium onion, sliced
  • 3 green onion whites, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon of sliced lemon grass
  • 3 tablespoons of brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon of powdered ginger


  • Green onion tops sliced into 1 inch pieces
  • 1 tablespoon of peanut oil

To make the seitan, preheat the oven to 300.  Add the dry ingredients into a Kitchenaid mixer.  Stir with a fork.  Then add the wet ingredients and stir to incorporate the tomato paste.  Mix for 5 minutes.

Remove from the bowl and knead by hand for another 60 seconds.

Cut into strips and put onto a buttered baking sheet.  Bake for 40 minutes.  Yes, they will be dry and yes they will be hard, but that is the point.

All of this can be done the day before.  If doing so, let the seitan cool befoe putting into a container so that it does not steam up the bag.  Store in the refrigerator several days.

When ready to make the braising liquid, all the ingredients except the garnish go into the slow cooker with the seitan.  Cook for 4 hours.

Before serving, sprinkle with greens and drizzle a bit of peanut oil over the “ribs.”

See, I told you it was easy!


  1. I stumbled upon your blog while looking for seitan recipes and I see that you cook with it a fair amount. I was wondering if you had any tips for a newbie who’s trying to experiment with it. I’m a die-hard carnivore, but I’d like to do some more cooking with seitan. I have absolutely no experience with it, but would love any tips you might have.

  2. So what I should do is turn this into a big post, which I’ll do after the 8 Days of Cabot are over. But there are basically two things to remember:

    1. Seitan, by itself, is essentially flavorless so you are going to need to marinate it, simmer it in flavorful liquid or otherwise do something to it to give it flavor.

    2. Seitan needs to be cooked, usually by boiling or sauteing before eating. This makes it far less chewy and helps get flavor into it.

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