This vegan teriyaki seitan jerky is easy to prepare, low in fat, and high in both protein and flavor! It does require some time and a little prep work, but it's way more affordable than specialty jerky you find in stores and is so worth the effort.
Ever notice how difficult it is to find a healthy, savory, portable snack? While I love fruit and energy bars as much as the next person, sometimes you're just not in the mood for something sweet. Homemade vegan jerky to the rescue!
How to make vegan seitan jerky
The process begins like traditional seitan, except we're actually going to build the teriyaki flavors into the dough.
Once the dough comes together, you’ll cut it into 3 or 4 pieces and freeze them for 30 minutes. This firms up the dough, and makes it easier to slice.
With a serrated knife or a very sharp chef's knife, slice the seitan as thinly as possible. This doesn't need to be perfect. Embrace the jagged edges and varied shapes.
A little bit of variance in thickness isn't a big deal either. The jerky will spend long enough in the oven that all of it will get nice and chewy and dry.
The slices then take a quick dip in teriyaki sauce and go into the oven. So while this isn't a super quick recipe, it isn't that difficult.
Placing the slices on racks helps the seitan dry more evenly but isn't required. I experimented with putting some directly on parchment paper, turning them midway during cooking, and they turned out fine.
Also, I recommend saving yourself some headache by covering your baking pans with foil, parchment or silicone mat. Otherwise, any sauce that drips onto the pans during baking becomes SUPER baked on and difficult to remove. Thankfully, you can learn from my mistakes!
There is a bit of an art to knowing when the jerky is done. But if you read the tips below (also summarized in the Notes section of the recipe), you'll be ready to make jerky like a pro.
- Since we're working with a flour (vital wheat gluten), how you measure it is very important. The wet-to-dry ratio of the seitan directly affects how long it takes to cook. I recommend using a kitchen scale to weigh the vital wheat gluten, but if you don't have a scale, use the following method:
Pour vital wheat gluten into a large bowl and gently whisk it (like other flours, it will be more compact in its original package, causing you to scoop up more than is needed; whisking fluffs it up). Then gently scoop it up with a measuring cup, and level off the excess using the flat edge of a knife.
Side note: if you enjoy baking and don't yet have a kitchen scale, I highly recommend getting one. It makes measuring so much easier and leads to consistent results! I've been using and enjoying this affordable one from Escali.
- Also, ovens can vary quite a bit. When you're cooking something for well over an hour, even just a 5 degree difference in oven temperature can impact the cook time significantly.
- Finally, the thickness of your slices will determine whether the jerky is ready in one-and-a-half hours or closer to two hours! This is where the "art" of knowing doneness comes into play.
But before you start thinking, "Ugh, this sounds too hard!" rest assured that there isn't ONE specific level of doneness, where anything outside of that means failure. Nope! There is actually a somewhat forgiving window. Here are my best tips:
- Check the consistency a few times, and you'll start to get a feel for the progression of doneness. When the thickest pieces no longer show signs of that squishy raw seitan texture but are still a tad soft, you'll know they're done. At this point, the thinnest pieces will seem firm, almost crisp. For me this is usually around the 1 hour 45 minute mark.
- Right out of the oven the thinnest pieces of jerky might seem too crispy, but don't despair! Store the jerky in an air tight container for a few hours (or overnight), and you'll find that the remaining moisture magically redistributes, softening the crispier parts and making the thicker pieces firmer and more jerky-like.
I hope you love this Teriyaki Seitan Jerky as much as we do. If you try it I would love to hear from you! Leave a comment below, or tag a photo @myquietkitchen on instagram.
Seitan Jerky (Buffalo and Thai Peanut)
Teriyaki Seitan Jerky
For the seitan:
- 2 ¼ cups vital wheat gluten (280 g) - Use a scale for the most accurate measurement; otherwise, whisk vital wheat gluten before gently scooping it up with a measuring cup. Level off excess with the flat edge of a knife.
- 1 cup water
- ¼ cup plus 1 Tbsp soy sauce or tamari
- 1 tsp liquid smoke
- 5-6 cloves garlic, zested or finely minced
- 2 Tbsp rice vinegar
- ¼ cup maple syrup
- 2 tsp toasted sesame oil
- 1 inch piece fresh ginger, zested or finely minced
For the teriyaki sauce:
- ¼ cup plus 1 Tbsp soy sauce or tamari
- 1 ½ Tbsp rice vinegar
- 1 ½ Tbsp maple syrup
- 1 ½ tsp toasted sesame oil
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- black pepper, to taste - optional
- Line two baking sheets with foil. Place racks on top, if using, or cover the foil with a layer of parchment paper.
- Put the vital wheat gluten in a large bowl and set aside.
- Put the remaining seitan ingredients (water, soy sauce, liquid smoke, garlic, rice vinegar, maple syrup, toasted sesame oil and ginger) in a blender and blend until smooth.
- Pour the wet mixture into the wheat gluten, stirring to combine. Move the dough to a flat surface and knead for 2 to 3 minutes. Cut the dough ball into 3 or 4 pieces and freeze for 30 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 250 degrees F. In a small bowl whisk together the ingredients for the teriyaki sauce.
- After the dough has chilled, slice it thinly, dip each piece into the sauce, and place on the rack/pan. Sprinkle with freshly cracked black pepper, if desired.
*If jerky is directly on a parchment-lined pan, flip every 30 to 45 minutes to ensure even drying.
- Bake the seitan for 1 ½ hours to 1 hour 45 minutes (as mentioned in the post, this is affected by several factors; it may even take closer to 2 hours). Check doneness a few times during the second half of cooking (see notes).
- Because the jerky cooks at such a low temperature, the cook time is somewhat forgiving. Depending on the thickness of your slices, as well as the exact moisture content of the seitan (this is why the method used to measure the vital wheat gluten is very important), you may need to experiment a bit to find your favorite level of chewiness. It's better to err on the side of slightly underdone than over.
- When the thickest pieces no longer show signs of that gelatinous, raw seitan texture, you'll know they're done. They may still be a bit soft while the thinnest pieces seem almost crisp.
- Thin pieces of jerky might seem too crisp right out of the oven but will take on a more uniform chewiness once stored in an airtight container.
- Store jerky at room temperature for several days or in the refrigerator for up to a week (possibly more if very dry).
Estimated Nutrition (per serving)
Nutrition information is an estimate and will vary depending on the exact amounts and specific products and ingredients used. We calculate this information using the online calculator cronometer.com.