Cooking Adventure: “Turkey” Seitan (A.K.A. Turkey Loaf)

On November 22, 2018 in North America, most of us celebrated Thanksgiving.  This is a feast day to commemorate 17th century European colonization.  As children we are told a big meal was served to celebrate the settlers successful preparation for the impending winter and Native Americans peacefully took part.  The Native Americans don’t feel this warmly about the day however.

This year, we bucked the trend and instead of making a turkey we chose to roast a leg of lamb and tried our hand at making a seitan “turkey.”  Of course we started out searching the internet and read a bunch of different recipes and selected this as a starting off point.  Sylvia Bass on her web site Cookie Chicka has a lot of nice photos to accompany her recipe so that you can follow along with confidence, and they helped.  Overall the recipe contains vital wheat gluten, beans, chick pea flour, nutritional yeast, vegetable bullion or “poultry flavored” bullion and spices.  Mix all ingredients and steam them in a foil tube for one hour and then bake for 30 min.  I did not have a large enough system to steam all the ingredients in one tube of foil so I did two and I didn’t have chick pea flour so I used the entire can of white beans.  

I found it to be a lengthy process but the results were pretty satisfying.  The Turkey Loaf sliced easily and was tender and had all of the flavors we expect for a traditional Thanksgiving meal.  I served it with mushroom gravy, mashed potatoes and broccoli; it was a satisfying meal.  I used ‘Herbs de Provence’ a blend of rosemary, thyme, marjoram, savory and oregano which made it taste a lot like stuffing (a seasoned casserole of bread cubes, carrots, onions and celery with lots of regional variations) which I was not serving so I went for it knowing it would make up for it’s absence.  

Turkey Loaf being sliced
Sliced Turkey Loaf


So the reheated Turkey Loaf was just as delicious the following night.  It will allow you to get thin slices and would easily make a nice sandwich filling.  Here is a list of ideas for what to do with the remaining servings:

  • Mix in with scrambled eggs along with bell peppers. (see photo)
  • Grill thin slices and serve as sandwich filling.
  • Toast and serve as a salad topper. 
  • Add to pasta with tomato sauce.  
  • Cube and add to pizza toppings.

Here I browned small cubes in oil and used them in an omelette with bell peppers and onions and topped with cheese.  We all agreed that I could have added more browned Turkey Loaf because the flavor was welcome and served almost as a sausage stand in. 

I think that this seitan recipe would be easily adjusted to different flavor profiles like:

  • Italian sausage 
  • Gyro or Greek Seasonings
  • Fajita/Mexican

Please comment if you have other recipe ideas or seasoning suggestions.  


The Pirate Pieman


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