My vegetarian readers have always graciously thanked me for the meatless recipes I post on PGEW, and for that I am very grateful. However, I do have to admit that I do it as much for myself as I do it for them. It’s obvious that I’m quite the omnivore with a healthy appreciation for meats & seafood, but I always appreciate the lightness of meals without meat. There are ways to get the best of both worlds though, and that’s where seitancomes in. Also known as the vegetarian “white meat”.
For those of you who are unfamiliar with this super versatile meatless product, seitan is basically cooked wheat gluten that has been marinated in tamari sauce, soy, ginger, and a whole bunch of other good stuff. The result is a chewy, “meaty” alternative to chicken or pork (I have yet to meat seitan that reminds me of steak). I wouldn’t necessarily say it tastes like chicken (because according to some folks EVERYTHING does, lol), but you can fool around with spices & herbs to make it taste pretty interesting. Seitan is extremely high in protein too, making this a wonderful source for those who do not eat meat for one reason or another. Though it still hangs out in places like health food aisles or natural food stores, seitan is gaining a bigger following so you will see it crop up in stores more often. Technically you can make your own seitan too, but I’ve heard it’s an extremely long, involved, and boring process, so for now let’s just stick to the prepared seitan.
As I mentioned before, it’s really versatile so feel free to get really creative with it. I am just starting to branch out from my standard stir fry seitan dishes myself, but I’ve had these fajitas numerous times and enjoyed them tremendously. As you can see by the photo, you can add as many of your favorite fajita accoutrements to this dish as you like! Salsa, avocados, sour cream, you name it -you’re having the same delicious basic, just with a different protein source.
So what’s it cost to get this fabulous faux foul? A 10 oz. package at the Sac Natural Foods Co-op will run from $3.99 to $4.99, and you will be able to get enough for four people from one package. Not a bad option when you’re craving meat & it’s just too expensive, or if you’re just trying to cut back on extra calories by eating a more vegetarian type diet. Altogether – excluding fixin’s – you’re only spending about $10 to serve 4 people with these super simple fajitas. That works out to around $2.50 per serving! Make these for a fun weeknight meal and rest assured that you will be able to make something all of your guests will eat, without having to take out a 2nd mortgage on your 2nd mortgage.
*Note: If you have any wheat or gluten related allergies such as celiac disease, please, PLEASE use real chicken. Or some very well marinated tofu. Or don’t make this at all and choose from one of the other 88 recipes (can you imagine!?) on the site! I don’t want you getting sick!
Quick & Easy Seitan Fajitas (serves 4; total cost per serving: $2.50)
1 c bell pepper strips
1 small yellow onion, cut into strips
1/2 t salt
1/2 t cumin
1/4 t chili powder
1/4 t ground black pepper
1/2 t cayenne pepper
2 T canola oil
4+ flour tortillas
Salsa, sour cream, guacamole, etc. (optional)
Cut the seitan into 1 1/2″ strips of a moderate thickness. Add the salt, cumin, chili powder, and both types of pepper, and toss together until evenly coated. In a large skillet heat the canola oil. Add the onions and pepper strips and stir fry quickly over medium high heat until they barely soften. Add the seitan and cook for about 2-3 minutes, or until seitan is warmed through! Do not overcook! Because seitan is already “cooked” all you need to do is just add it at the very end.
Warm the tortillas and keep them covered so they don’t cool off & dry out. Serve these buffet style with a wide array of items like sour cream, salsa, guacamole, chopped cilantro, beans, etc. As always, enjoy!