This Vegan Steak is made with vital wheat gluten for a tender yet chewy texture and is charred in a salty, savory, garlic ‘butter’ sauce. The steak has a rich, umami, savory flavor that goes so well with roasted potatoes, green beans, or roasted asparagus. This is an amazingly convincing vegan steak recipe that will knock the socks off any omnivores you serve it to!
Why We Love This Vegan Steak
When I first developed this vegan steak recipe, I was actually a little worried it looked toooo convincing and real.
While this recipe probably won’t be for everyone (some vegans don’t like eating mock meat), it’s great if you’re transitioning to veganism, or you just want to try and eat less meat. This recipe is tender, chewy, and incredibly hearty.
Because this is a seitan recipe, it’s packed with protein that will keep you full and satisfied. The words vegan and steak don’t necessarily go together, but I promise this recipe is the best vegan steak out there and probably the closest you’re going to get making it at home!
what is seitan?
Okay, but what is seitan? If you’ve never heard of seitan it’s a protein-rich food that is an excellent meat replacement. The main ingredient in seitan is vital wheat gluten.
The origins of seitan date back to 6th century Eastern Asia where it was first documented. It’s often used as mock meat in Buddhist, Chinese, and vegetarian cuisines.
The Vegan Steak Ingredients
Don’t let the ingredient list for this vegan steak intimidate you! Most of the ingredients in this recipe are spices or flavorings. Vital wheat gluten takes on the flavor of anything you choose to mix with it, which is why all of the flavorings in this recipe are necessary. There’s nothing worse than bland seitan!
- Vital Wheat Gluten
- Red Beets
- Red Wine
- Soy Sauce
- Olive Oil
- Vegan Worcestershire
- Liquid Smoke
- Garlic Powder
- Smoked Paprika
This recipe has a few key ingredients to help color the seitan and give it a very tender texture. Red beets and red wine add rich flavor and color to the steak. You definitely don’t want to skip out on these ingredients!
If you don’t want to use red wine, it can be substituted with veggie stock, but some of the rich flavors won’t be present.
It’s important to note that not all wines are vegan. To make sure the wine you’re using is vegan, you can visit the website Barnivore.
This website lists tons of wines, beer, and alcohol and lets you know whether they’re vegan-friendly or not.
vital wheat gluten
The brand I use in this recipe is Anthony’s Vital Wheat Gluten. I love that I can buy a huge bag of this online, making it super affordable (plus it lasts a long time). You can also find vital wheat gluten in most grocery stores. Usually Bob’s Red Mill Vital Wheat Gluten is the brand I see in stores. It comes in smaller bags and is much more expensive than Anthony’s.
⭐️ Vital wheat gluten is the ingredient that gives this vegan steak its chewy, stretchy texture. Wheat gluten is the main ingredient in seitan and is close to 80% protein.
You know when you’re kneading dough for bread, and the dough becomes super-elastic? That’s because of all the gluten in the flour. Vital Wheat Gluten is made by washing away all the starch of the wheat and leaving behind the gluten. In this recipe, the vital wheat gluten is what gives the steak an irreplaceable stretchy, almost sinewy texture, similar to real meat.
Vital Wheat Gluten Substitute
While I haven’t tried making this recipe gluten-free myself, others have modified this recipe by substituting the vital wheat gluten with a combination of xanthan gum, arrowroot powder, and tapioca starch.
📌 Be sure to scroll down to Alan’s comment in the comment section (below the recipe card) for more details.
Helpful Equipment For This Recipe
A food processor is super helpful in this recipe. It makes mixing the ingredients super easy and minimizes the number of dishes needed. The food processor I’m using in this recipe is by Cuisinart.
Accurately measuring the ingredients of this recipe will help ensure the texture is exactly the way it should be. Too much liquid or dry ingredients can alter the texture of the steak. Using a digital scale is an easy way to measure the ingredients, plus they’re usually pretty inexpensive. This is the scale I’ve been using which I love.
grill pan or cast iron skillet
A grill pan or a cast-iron skillet will help you get that amazing char on the outside of the seitan steak. I used my cast iron grill pan by Lodge. You could also use a normal cast iron skillet.
How To Make The Seitan Steak
This recipe is fairly simple, especially if you use a food processor to mix all of the dough ingredients. If you don’t have a food processor, you’ll want to blend the beets in a blender and you’ll want to finely mince the onion by hand. Then, mix all the ingredients in a large bowl.
To make the seitan dough you’ll want to follow these steps:
STEP 1: In a food processor, add all of the wet ingredients except the onion. Pulse the mixture until the beets are finely blended and there are no large chunks. Add the onion and pulse until the onion is finely minced (but still has some texture to it).
STEP 2: Add the vital wheat gluten, garlic powder, and smoked paprika onto the wet ingredients in the food processor. Stir the dry ingredients together with a fork before pulsing.
STEP 3: Pulse the wet and dry ingredients together until a dough ball forms. The dough should come together and start spinning around the side of the food processor.
STEP 4: Lightly flour a surface with 2-3 tbsp of vital wheat gluten. Transfer the dough onto the surface and knead the dough for about 2-3 minutes.
📌 TIP: The dough should be soft yet stretchy. It should not be difficult to knead. If it is, the gluten may be overworked. Let the dough rest for 5-10 minutes, then continue.
shaping the vegan steak
Making a convincing vegan seitan steak is really all about the shape. I shaped my dough into rounded triangles or fillet-like shapes. To shape your seitan, follow the steps below:
- Roll the dough into a ball and flatten it slightly into a rectangular shape.
- With a sharp knife, divide the dough. This recipe will make 2 very large steaks or 4 smaller/normal-sized steaks.
- With your hands, shape the dough into a rounded triangular shape similar to a fillet. The steaks should be about ½” thick.
- Place them onto the prepared baking dish. Coat both sides of the steaks with the olive oil that you drizzled into the pan.
baking the seitan
The next step is baking the steaks. This will help cook the seitan and caramelize the outside slightly.
Be sure to coat the outside of the seitan with the marinade mixture.
This keeps the steaks moist while baking. Mix the marinade ingredients together and brush both sides of the steak with it.
You’ll want to bake the steaks at 425F according to the doneness you prefer (see the baking times below). I baked mine for about 28 minutes.
The outside should be slightly browned but the inside should still be tender. Be sure to flip the steaks halfway through the baking time and reapply with any remaining marinade to keep them moist.
- 25 Minutes = Rare
- 25-30 Minutes = Medium Rare
- 30-35 Minutes = Well Done
The Vegan Garlic Butter Sauce
While this seitan steak is great by itself, the vegan garlic butter sauce really takes it to the next level. The sauce adds an immense amount of extra flavor and saltiness to the outside of the steak. It also helps add more moisture back into the steak. I highly, highly recommend making this sauce.
To char the outside of the seitan and to make the garlic butter, follow the steps below:
STEP 1: Preheat a grill pan or cast-iron skillet on medium heat.
STEP 2: Melt the vegan butter. Add the whole garlic cloves and baked steaks to the pan. Sear both sides (about 3 minutes per side), pressing the tops with a plate or weighted object to get good grill marks & char. Brush the vegan butter in the pan on all sides of the vegan steaks.
STEP 3: Serve with roasted fingerling potatoes, asparagus, or green beans.
For different flavor variations, you could serve the vegan steak with cilantro chimichurri or mango habanero salsa!
FRIDGE: You can keep these vegan and vegetarian steaks in an air-tight container in the fridge for about 3 days.
📌 TIP: Seitan has a tendency to dry out in the fridge, so if you plan on storing it longer than that I recommend freezing the cooked steaks.
FREEZING: To freeze the seitan, wrap the whole steaks tightly in plastic wrap and then wrap with aluminum foil or place in a freezer-proof baggie.
REHEATING: The seitan can be reheated by thawing it in the microwave and then pan-searing the outside to add crispiness back to the exterior.
Vegan Steak Tips & Tricks
I buy Anthony’s Vital Wheat Gluten online. I usually order the largest bag since it’s the best price. You can find vital wheat gluten in most big box grocery stores as well. My local Kroger sells Bob’s Red Mill Vital Wheat Gluten. The bags are much smaller and usually more expensive since you’re not buying in bulk.
The beets add a tremendous amount of color to the seitan and they help create a tender texture. However, I have tested substituting the 60g of beets with 60g of canned and drained chickpeas (about ⅓ cup) + 2 tbsp veggie stock. Please note: the steaks will not have the red color as they do in the photos if substituting the beets.
A lot of seitan recipes do call for steaming as part of the cooking method. Steaming is often used as a way to create a moist dough. This recipe has enough moisture in the dough from the beets, onions, and liquid seasonings that it stays moist and tender when baked.
If you don’t care for the taste of liquid smoke, substitute the same amount listed in the recipe with vegan Worcestershire.
Annie’s makes a great vegan Worcestershire sauce. I also use Simple Truth’s (Kroger’s in-house brand) vegan Worcestershire.
If the dough looks like granules of sand or looks crumbly after adding the vital wheat gluten, the mixture is too dry. Add 1 tbsp of veggie stock at a time (up to 3 tbsp) until the dough ball comes together and looks similar to the process photos in the post above.
Looking for more vegan ‘Meat’ recipes?
- Glazed Vegan Ham
- How to Make the Best Vegan Beef
- Vegan Shrimp
- Air Fried Vegan Buttermilk Chicken
- Vegan Cordon Bleu
- Vegan Sunday Roast Dinner
DID YOU MAKE THIS HOmemade VEGAN Steak RECIPE?
I’d love to know! Leave a star rating and comment below!
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Vegan Steak with Garlic Butter
This Vegan Steak is made with vital wheat gluten for a tender yet chewy texture and is charred in a salty, savory, garlic 'butter' sauce.
This veggie steak has a rich, umami, savory flavor that goes so well with roasted potatoes, green beans, or roasted asparagus. This is an amazingly convincing vegan steak recipe that will knock the socks off any omnivores you serve it to!
- 1/2 cup raw red beets, peeled and diced 60g (see notes for substitutions)
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- 2 tsp yellow mustard
- 2 tsp liquid smoke
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp vegan Worcestershire sauce, like Annie's
- ¼ cup red wine, (see notes for substitutions)
- 1/2 cup onion, chopped 90g
- 1 1/2 cup vital wheat gluten, 200g (plus extra for kneading the dough)
- 1 1/2 tbsp garlic powder
- 1 tbsp smoked paprika
Marinade / Rub:
- 1 tbsp red wine, or sub veggie stock
- 1 tsp liquid smoke
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tbsp brown sugar, optional
- 6 tbsp salted vegan butter, Country Crock Plant Butter
- 7-8 garlic cloves, peeled & crushed
*For best results measure ingredients with a digital scale. If you don't have a scale, measure the vital wheat gluten using the spoon and level method.
- Preheat the oven to 425F.
- Prep a 9 x 13” baking dish by drizzling 1-2 tbsp of olive oil on the bottom.
- In a food processor, add all of the wet ingredients except the onion. Pulse the mixture until the beets are finely blended and there are no large chunks. Add the onion and pulse until the onion is finely minced.
- Add the vital wheat gluten, garlic powder, and smoked paprika onto the wet ingredients in the food processor. Stir the dry ingredients together with a fork before pulsing.
- Pulse the wet and dry ingredients together until a dough ball forms. The dough should come together and start spinning around the side of the food processor. If the dough looks crumbly or sand-like, see the notes below.
- Lightly flour a surface with 2-3 tbsp of vital wheat gluten. Transfer the dough onto the surface and knead the dough for about 1 minute until the ball becomes slightly smoother in texture. The dough should be soft yet stretchy. It should not be difficult to knead. If it is, the gluten may be overworked and the steak will be too tough and breadlike.
- Roll the dough into a ball and flatten it slightly into a rectangular shape. With a sharp knife, divide the dough by cutting it into 2-4 equal-sized pieces. This recipe will make 2 very large steaks or 4 smaller/normal-sized steaks.
- With your hands, shape the dough into a rounded triangular shape similar to a fillet. The steaks should be about ½” thick. NOTE: If the steaks are too thick they won't cook through and if they are too thin they could become dry in the oven.
To Bake the Steaks:
- Place them onto the prepared baking dish. Coat both sides of the steaks with the olive oil that you drizzled into the pan.
- Mix the marinade ingredients together and brush both sides of the steak with the marinade. You should use about 1/2 of the marinade. You'll apply the rest halfway through baking.
- Bake the steaks at 425F according to the doneness you prefer (see times below). I baked mine for about 28 minutes. The outside should be slightly browned but the inside should still be tender. Flip the steaks halfway through the baking time and reapply the remaining marinade. If the outside looks dry at all, apply 1-2 tbsp of olive oil.
25 minutes = Rare
25-30 minutes = Medium Rare
30-35 minutes = Well Done
To Char the Steaks:
- Preheat a grill pan or cast-iron skillet on medium heat.
- Melt the vegan butter. Add the whole garlic cloves and steaks to the pan. Sear both sides (about 3 minutes per side), pressing the tops with a plate or weighted object to get good grill marks & char. Brush the vegan butter in the pan on all sides of the vegan steaks.
- Serve with roasted fingerling potatoes, asparagus, or green beans.
- If you don’t have a food processor, you’ll want to blend the beets in a blender and you’ll want to finely mince the onion by hand. Then, mix all the ingredients in a large bowl.
- I used Country Crock's Plant Butter in the garlic butter sauce.
- Not all wines are vegan. You can use Barnivore.com to check and see if your wine is vegan-friendly.
Substitute for Beets:
- The 60g of beets can be substituted with 60g of canned and drained chickpeas (about ⅓ cup) + 2 tbsp veggie stock. Please note: the steaks will not have the red color as they do in the photos if substituting the beets.
Substitute for Red Wine:
- The same amount of veggie stock can be substituted for the red wine. Please note, the steak won't have the same bodied richness if omitting the wine.
What To Do If The Dough Looks Crumbly:
- If the dough looks like granules of sand after adding the vital wheat gluten, the mixture is too dry. Add 1 tbsp of veggie stock at a time (up to 3 tbsp) until the dough ball comes together and looks similar to the process photos in the post above.
Storing the Vegan Steak:
While I haven't tried making this recipe gluten-free myself, others have modified this recipe by using a combination of xanthan gum, arrowroot powder, and tapioca starch. Be sure to scroll down to Alan's comment below the recipe for more details.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 4 Serving Size: 1/4 of recipe
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 358Total Fat: 3gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 0mgCarbohydrates: 38gFiber: 10gSugar: 1gProtein: 50g
Nutritional info is an estimate.
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This is by far one of the most informative vegan steak recipe I have read. I Don’t know where to get liquid smoke from.
Thank you Berry Much for sharing this vegan steak recipe
Hi Kelvin! Thank you so much! I was able to find liquid smoke at my local grocery store. It was in the aisle with BBQ sauce and ketchup. It’s also available online on Amazon if you’re not able to find it in stores. I used Colgin’s Natural Hickory Liquid Smoke.
Lenore Beck says
Do you use canned cooked beets or raw beets? Thanks! Sounds delicious!
Hi! I used raw beets which I peeled and cubed.
I tried your recipe yesterday, but the texture of my steaks came out like bread after baking. What did I wrong?
Best regards 🙂
Hi Kerstin, I’m sorry that your steaks turned out bready! They should definitely be tender and juicy- not bread-like! This could have happened for a few reasons: if there was too much vital wheat gluten added (so the dough was too dry), the dough could have been overworked (kneaded too long), or perhaps your oven runs hot and therefore they overbaked. When you made the dough, did it look moist or was it crumbly? If it was crumbly, there was likely too much vital wheat gluten.
Did you use a scale to measure the vital wheat gluten or did you scoop it directly from the bag? Similar to other baking recipes (like cookies), it’s best to use the spoon and level method when measuring dry ingredients. Scooping directly from the bag can result in 2-3 tablespoons extra vital wheat gluten than the recipe calls for. I highly recommend purchasing an inexpensive scale and using that to measure the ingredients!
Did you make any substitutions or omit any of the liquid ingredients? Also, did you add the marinade on top prior to baking? This step is super important since it helps keep everything moist. Sorry for all the questions- I’d love to help you troubleshoot!
Werner Seibert says
I’m avoiding gluten by choice. Do you have an alternative for the wheat gluten?
Hi there! unfortunately, I don’t have a good substitute for vital wheat gluten. Vital wheat gluten is necessary for the chewy texture in this recipe.
Hi, I tackled this tonight. It didn’t come out perfect but was pretty good! It was a bit stretchy/gummy but held together really well. I used 22g Xanthan Gum, 46 arrowroot powder, and 102g tapioca starch in place of the vital wheat gluten. (I know this is less in all by weight than the 1.5 cups vital wheat gluten in the recipe)
I do plan to make some adjustments next time.. my untested substitute for the vital wheat gluten will be 11g xanthan gum, 11g oat flour, 46g arrowroot, 82g cassava, 20 g white rice flour.
In either case, I would suggest reducing some of the paprika and yellow mustard as these gf flours seem to require less seasoning than the vital wheat gluten does. I might drop the baking temp to 400F next time as well.
Another note is the steaks I made expanded quite a lot while baking but settled down well as they cooled.
Hi Alan! Amazing! Thanks for posting your substitutions here 🙂 I’ll be sure to update the post and point anyone looking for a gluten-free version down to the comments.
You’re welcome! I’ll update my comment with a new reply once I perfect the substitutions.
Glenn Arnold says
Hello Emily! Thank you for a fabulous recipe for vegan (seitan) steak. My wife and I have been vegan for five years. Over that time I have tried well over a dozen seitan steak recipes, some involve baking, others boiling or skillet frying the seitan. They all have some merit. But THIS recipe BY FAR takes the cake (or “the steak”) for authentic steak-like taste, chew, and overall appearance. (Yes, I used steamed beets for added color.) For comparison, I tasted a slice from one of the steaks post-bake and prior to charring. It was good, but after charring in the garlic butter sauce the taste was off the charts delicious! I also threw a few sprigs of fresh Rosemary in the grill pan with the butter and garlic. The char and taste was amazing! Wish I could share the pics here, but will post some soon to my IG, and tag. When I used to eat meat I would slather my steaks with A1 sauce. No need for that here (unless one just loves the sauce). The garlic and butter, and other herbs, make a great marriage as is. Suffice it to say, you’ve made a “steak and potatoes” man again out of this Vegan! We don’t miss meat or dairy in our Vegan diet, and we eat like Royals around here! Adding this Vegan Steak recipe to my kitchen cookbook has upped the bar considerably. Thanks again!
Hi Glenn! Thank you so much for your nice comment 🙂 Garlic ‘butter’ and rosemary certainly take this recipe to the next level. I’ll look out for your photos on IG!
Carrie Xie says
Hi Emily! I am looking forward to making this recipe but I want to prep it ahead of time. Would you suggest making the dough, baking it with the marinade then storing it before I sear it at dinner time? Or is it better to make the dough, let it sit inthe marinade and then bake + sear when I’m ready to eat? TYBM for all your awesome recipes !
Hi Carrie! I would recommend baking the vegan steaks with the marinade and storing them in an airtight container in the fridge until you’re ready to sear them. They will firm up a little in the fridge, but when you sear them with the vegan butter, they’ll soften up again. Let me know if you have any other questions!
Would this work ok with roasted beets instead of raw?
Hi Susan! I haven’t tried this with roasted beets, so I’m not sure. The raw beets add moisture to the dough, and I’m not sure if the moisture content would be the same if using roasted ones.
Do you think this would work with frozen beets or would it throw the moisture content off? Thanks!
Hi Julie! Frozen beets will most likely work. I’d recommend letting them thaw, and gently pressing them to remove any excess moisture. For best results, use a digital scale to weigh them, and reference the texture of the seitan dough in the step by step photos as well as the video! If the dough looks like it’s wetter than the pictures/video, try kneading in 1 tbsp of vital wheat gluten. If the dough looks crumbly and dry, add 1 tbsp of veggie stock at a time until it looks like the correct consistency.
Hi! Do you recommend marinating before baking or just doing as you directed for best taste? Thanks !
Hi there, the marinade should be applied right before baking, so it doesn’t absorb into the seitan dough. This way it helps keep the exterior of the seitan steak moist while baking. Let me know if you have any other questions!
Hi there! I’m trying to find a good steak recipe to make vegetarian beef wellington. Do you think this recipe could work for that?
Hi Jamie, I don’t think this steak recipe would be best for a Wellington, as the baking times and temps have been tested based on a flatter ‘steak’ shape, and pan grilling it after baking. That being said, I do have a Vegan Seitan Roast Beef on the blog that may work better. It’s already in a round roast shape like a Wellington, however I’ve never tested this recipe in this way before either.
Can you make the doe ahead of time and form it later?
I recommend baking the dough as soon as it’s made. You can store the baked vegan steak in the fridge overnight or for 1-2 days until you’re ready to char it on the stovetop with the vegan garlic ‘butter’ sauce.