Homemade seitan for a meat substitute on Meatless Monday

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​No one's saying you have to go meatless just because it's Monday -- but as incentive to join the growing movement, every week we're offering an animal-free recipe.

Seitan is a protein-rich compound made from wheat; it's easily found in most grocery stores, but making your own is simple and much more cost-effective. This recipe creates about a pound of seitan, which you could use in a recipe like Ethiopian-style seitan and peppers.

You will need:

1 cup vital wheat gluten flour 3 tablespoons nutritional yeast flakes 4 1/2 cups vegetable broth 4 cups water 1/2 cup soy sauce 1 tablespoon olive oil 2 cloves garlic 1 lemon

1. Finely grate the lemon peel until you have about 1/4 teaspoon of zest. 2. Place the vital wheat gluten flour and yeast in a large bowl. Mix together until thoroughly combined. 3. In a small bowl, place 1/2 cup vegetable broth, 1/4 cup soy sauce, the olive oil and the lemon zest. Press the garlic cloves into the mixture. Blend together until combined. 4. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix. 5. After the wet mixture has been absorbed, knead the seitan for a few minutes, until it becomes elastic -- it should spring back easily when pressed. It should be ready after three to five minutes of kneading. 6. On a cutting board, roll the seitan into a long rope and slice into three roughly equal pieces. Knead each piece in your hand for a minute or so to stretch them just a bit. 7. In a large stock pot, place the water, the remaining four cups of vegetable broth and the remaining 1/4 cup of soy sauce. Add the seitan to the broth, cover and bring to a boil. Watch carefully -- as soon as the broth begins to boil, partially cover and lower the heat as low as you can so the broth is just simmering.

8. Simmer for one hour, turning the seitan occasionally. Turn the heat off and remove the lid after an hour, letting the seitan sit for fifteen minutes.

9. Remove the seitan from the broth and drain; when cool, it is ready to cut or slice and cook as directed. If not using right away, store the seitan in the cooking broth in a tightly covered container in the fridge.

We've used seitan to make red beans and rice, as well as stroganoff -- and next week, we'll show you how this batch took a starring role in a red-and-white bean jambalaya.

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