This is the best vegan steak recipe! It's perfectly tender and juicy and looks so realistic, you could sneak them on the grill and no one would question you. They're filling, high in protein, and surprisingly easy to make!
This post is sponsored by WE LOVE FIRE.
Why make this vegan steak recipe
These vegan seitan steaks are so realistic looking but don't worry, there's no meat in them! It is completely plant-based!
These vegan steaks are boiled in a broth that makes them extra tender, juicy, and infused with flavor! That, combined with traditional steak seasonings and you have yourself some pretty tasty vegan beef!
You're going to absolutely love this vegan steak recipe! It's:
- easy to make
- high protein
- perfect for grilling!
If you're new to the plant-based lifestyle and need some more ideas for what to grill, check out these vegan grilling tips and ideas!
What is vegan steak made of?
Alright, you're probably skeptical of what makes this plant-based steak so meaty. The secret is seitan. Seitan, pronounced 'say-tan', comes from vital wheat gluten, the main protein in wheat. Wheat flour dough is washed with water until all the starch granules have been removed, leaving behind the sticky insoluble gluten. It's also referred to as wheat meat.
Luckily you don't have to wash the flour yourself. You can buy vital wheat gluten with the starch already removed at most large grocery stores or online.
Don't let the name intimidate you, it's just a high protein flour.
Vital wheat gluten is essential for this recipe so if you're gluten-free, there are no substitutions unfortunately. The high protein content and elasticity of gluten are key.
There are three parts to this vegetarian steak recipe: dry ingredients, wet ingredients, and the broth. It may seem like a lot but don't worry—you probably already have most of the ingredients in your pantry save for a few specialty ingredients.
Dry ingredient notes
- Vital wheat gluten flour—The main ingredient that provides protein and chewy texture. This seitan recipe is not possible without it! Any brand will work but I find this vital wheat gluten from Anthony's to be the more affordable (and it lasts a long time!).
- Nutritional yeast—Provides a savory and umami flavor. This is another key ingredient and I don't recommend substituting nutritional yeast for this recipe.
- Italian seasoning—Typical in many steak seasonings.
- Smoked paprika—For color and a smoky flavor.
Wet ingredient notes
- Red kidney beans—Adds color, texture, and additional fiber and protein.
- Beetroot juice—Gives it a color more similar to real steak. I used the liquid from a can of beets. Make sure the canned beets are not pickled. If you can't find canned beets you can also use a small beet or omit and add water to maintain the right liquid ratio.
- Liquid smoke—For an extra smoky flavor. If you can't find it you can omit or use extra smoked paprika.
- Soy sauce—Provides more umami flavor. Feel free to use coconut aminos or tamari instead.
- Tomato paste—This concentrated form of tomatoes enhances the flavor and provides a rich and savory taste.
How to make
This step by step walk-through shows the process of making this vegan seitan steak recipe. Exact times and temperatures are available in the recipe card at the bottom.
1. The process is really quite simple as we're making a quick dough for the base of our vegan steaks. First, you'll combine all the dry and wet ingredients, except the vital wheat gluten in a food processor or blender.
2. Transfer to a large bowl and add the vital wheat gluten. With a large spoon or spatula, fold in the flour until it is just combined. You can use your hands for the last bit, kneading to make sure the flour is incorporated.
3. On a flat surface, roll out the dough. You can either use a rolling pin or flatten and stretch it with your knuckles by pressing down and pulling a little bit at a time until you reach your desired shape.
4. Slice into 6 steaks and continue to flatten each steak a bit more while changing the shape slightly to look more steak-like if desired. Shaping is optional but fun and reminiscent of playing with Play-Doh.
The dough can be a bit tough and snap back from the gluten elasticity but with a bit of work you can shape your dough into realistic looking steaks!
5. Next, prepare the broth in a large skillet over medium heat. Then add the steaks in a single layer. They will not be fully covered but that is okay. Once boiling, turn down the heat to a gentle simmer, cover, and cook for 10 minutes on each side.
I found simmering to be the best method for tender, less chewy steaks.
They will end up absorbing most, if not all, of the broth by the time they're done which infuses lots of flavor into them. Just watch them towards the end to make sure they're not burning if all the broth has been absorbed. Keep them covered to help retain the moisture.
6. Grill steaks over medium-high heat on each side for 1-2 minutes for a nice char and caramelize the outside. For the classic grill marks, use any outdoor grill or a grill pan. If you don't have a grill or grill pan you can use a regular skillet. Non-stick or cast iron works best.
Tips and Tricks
Don't over knead! Just knead until everything combines when making the seitan dough. If the dough becomes over mixed it will result in tougher, chewier steaks that are harder to shape.
Don't worry about getting every last bit of flour mixed in. If there's some flour still on the sides of the bowl, that's ok. Just as long as it's not over mixed.
Make ahead for grilling later: These vegetarian steaks are perfect to make ahead and bring to an outdoor BBQ. You can prepare them up to the point of simmering, then store them in an airtight container for up to a few days until you're ready to grill them.
I'll be surprised if you have leftovers but if you do, store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
To reheat you can use a microwave or heat them up on the stove or grill.
You can even freeze these. Allow to cool to room temperature, then store in a freezer-safe container. Thaw before reheating.
The meaty textured combined with the traditional steak seasonings make this recipe incredibly realistic but it won't taste exactly like steak. I can assure you that it is absolutely delicious and satisfying!
Vegetable broth, soy sauce (and alternatives like tamari and liquid aminos), and nutritional yeast helped to make this vegan steak taste extra flavorful. Also, use good quality seasonings. Make sure your spices have not dulled in color—this means they may have gone bad and the flavor won't be as strong.
These juicy steaks pair well with our creamy Mashed Potatoes and Gravy. You can't go wrong with some Air Fryer Asparagus on the side, as well as a tasty Summer Salad with Blackberries and Cashew Ricotta.
Don't want to spend forever making side dishes? Try this 5-minute baked sweet potato!
You can really serve this vegan steak with any of the traditional steak sides!
And don't forget a side of BBQ Sauce!
More Vegan Meat Recipes
Craving more? Here are some more vegan meats you'll love:
- Vegan BBQ Seitan Sandwich is a great meaty sandwich that's filling and high protein!
- For a BLT or a crispy side, try this carrot bacon recipe!
- Need something comforting and cozy yet fancy enough to serve for holidays and special occasions? This vegan meat loaf is the perfect choice!
- Start your day off with this incredible vegan scramble that looks so much like real scrambled eggs and tastes even better!
Or check out all these grilling options for vegans!
The BEST Vegan Steak (Perfectly Tender!)
- 1 cup kidney beans, drained and rinsed
- ½ cup low-sodium vegetable broth
- ¼ cup beetroot juice, liquid from canned beets
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce, *
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- ¼ teaspoon liquid smoke
- 4 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce, *
- 1 cup low-sodium vegetable broth
- First, combine all dry and wet ingredients, except the vital wheat gluten, in a food processor or blender until smooth.2 tablespoons nutritional yeast, 1 tablespoon garlic powder, 1 tablespoon onion powder, 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning, ¼ teaspoon smoked paprika, ½ teaspoon salt and black pepper, 1 cup kidney beans, ½ cup low-sodium vegetable broth, ¼ cup beetroot juice, 2 tablespoons tomato paste, 1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce, 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar, ¼ teaspoon liquid smoke
- Then transfer to a large bowl and add the vital wheat gluten. With a large spoon or spatula, fold in the flour until it is just combined. You can use your hands for the last bit, kneading to make sure the flour is incorporated. Be careful not to over knead! Just knead until everything combines.2 cups vital wheat gluten
- On a flat surface roll out the dough. I rolled mine into an elongated circle. Then cut into 6 steaks.
- At this point I continued to flatten each steak a bit more while changing the shape slightly to look more steak-like. Shaping is optional but fun and reminiscent of playing with Play-Doh. The dough will be a bit tough and snap back from the gluten elasticity but with a bit of work you can shape your dough into realistic looking steaks!
- Next, prepare the broth in a large skillet over medium heat. Then add the steaks in a single layer. They will not be fully covered but that is okay. Turn down the heat to a gentle simmer, cover, and cook for 10 minutes on each side.1 cup low-sodium vegetable broth, 4 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
- They will end up absorbing most, if not all, of the broth by the time they're done which infuses lots of flavor into them. Just watch them towards the end to make sure they're not burning if all the broth has been absorbed. Keep them covered to help retain the moisture.
- Then grill them on each side for 1-2 minutes over medium-high heat to char and caramelize the outside. For the classic grill marks, use any outdoor grill or a grill pan. If you don't have a grill or grill pan you can use a regular skillet. Non-stick or cast iron works best.
Nutrition Per Serving
This recipe was originally published in May 2021 and updated in June 2023 with helpful tips and tricks.