Review: Home-Made Seitan, Vegan Gyros (Vegan Vittles)

We were in Jeff’s mom’s basement trying to get the MP3 player we bought his stepdad for fathers’ day to work, when I noticed this book on top of a stack of books in a cardboard box.  I said Jeff’s mom, “Why do you have a vegan cookbook here?” while picking it up, to uncover a second vegan cookbook beneath.  She said that she had bought them for Jeff years ago, and when she asked him what he wanted her to do with them (now that he doesn’t live with her and she is trying to get rid of 18 years of his stuff), he said he didn’t want them!  I was shocked and appalled, of course, that he did not even think that I might want them.  But, needless to say, I got them.  The first book that I have leafed through is Vegan Vittles by Joanne Stepaniak.  It might very well be one of the best vegan cookbooks I now own (and yes, I have Veganomicon).  I like it so much, it solidified a fleeting thought I had a couple weeks ago about doing recipe reviews in addition to adding the recipes I create.

I had never made seitan at home before, though I’ve had it at restaurants and thought it was delicious.  For some reason, it seemed like it would be hard to make. But it really isn’t at all.  On pg. 37 of Vegan Vittles is a recipe for making three huge chunks of seitan.  When it was finished, I sliced one up to use for the vegan gyros, put one chunk in the fridge for next week, and another in the freezer (quite the stash!)

Making the gyros was really easy (recipe pg. 109).  All I had to do was sautee the sliced seitan in a simple sauce, make a cucumber tofu dressing, and top it all off with some chopped veggies over a pita.

The only thing a bit odd is that the directions for grilling the seitan strips say to bring the 2 1/2 or so tablespoons of pre-mixed soy sauce, water and spices to a “boil.” Obviously it is pretty difficult to boil 2 1/2 tbsp of anything in a hot pan, so I just did my best to get an even amount of sauce on each strip and tossed them quickly.

As I suspected after reading the ingredients for the cucumber sauce, it turned out to be somewhat bland.  I bought some dried dill, thinking that it would be in the sauce, but it was not called for.  Next time I would add a couple pinches of dill.

When we were eating, Jeff pointed out that he had never had a gyro, so had nothing to compare it to.  Personally, I haven’t had one in years and also do not remember what it was supposed to taste like.  (Though I find with a lot of vegan fakes, it’s probably best if you don’t remember what the real thing tastes like!) In any case, it was pretty tasty and would’ve been better with a tangier sauce and fresher pita bread. (Though my supermarket’s lack of fresh pita is hardly the recipe author’s problem. Maybe next time I’ll have to make pita from scratch!)

Easy to make, tasted good, and the grilled seitan strips were even enjoyed by my 13-month old daughter.


~ by AmyLL on July 10, 2008.

One Response to “Review: Home-Made Seitan, Vegan Gyros (Vegan Vittles)”

  1. Thanks Amy for the tip on the book. I think I want to get it and try this recipe – Joe from

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