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What is seitan and how do I cook with it?

Ask an Expert: Karina Inkster

Seitan (pronounced “SAY-tan") is a wheat-based meat alternative that has been around for at least 1,500 years. Originating in China, it was first developed by Buddhist monks.

The term “seitan” was coined much later, in the early 1960s, by Japanese philosopher and founder of the macrobiotic diet George Ohsawa, who brought seitan to the west.

Seitan is higher in protein than many types of meat, with about 75 per cent of its calories coming from protein. You can buy ready-made seitan, or make your own from scratch (it’s easier than you might think).

An extremely versatile ingredient, you can cook seitan in countless ways, and it takes on the flavour of whatever you’re cooking it with. You can grill it, fry it, throw it into curries and soups, bake it, eat it on sandwiches, use it as part of a charcuterie board, or eat it straight from the package. Bon appetit!

Karina Inkster is a qathet region health and fitness coach, author of five books, and host of the No-B.S. Vegan podcast.

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