Tender, juicy, and protein-packed Vegan Steak is made from seitan, lentils, and classic seasonings. Marinated in soy sauce, tomato paste, and maple syrup, the smoky flavors are perfect for summer barbecue season.

brushing red sauce on a charred vegan steak in a grill pan

Just because vegans don’t eat meat doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be allowed to enjoy a tender and juicy steak every now and then. My Vegan Steak recipe uses simple seasonings, a tangy marinade, and meaty seitan and lentils to replicate the real thing. Grill them up for an unforgettable summer meal!

Plant based vegan beef isn’t always easy to find and is rarely kind to your wallet. Did you know that it’s actually really easy and fun to make at home? Just like my vegan beef and broccoli, this vegetarian steak recipe comes together in a few simple steps and grills up in minutes.

Making vegan steaks out of seitan is the secret to the best tender, juicy, and chewy beef replica. As if they could be any more flavorful, the steaks are marinated in a simple soy sauce and tomato paste mix before being grilled in a pan or in the great outdoors. Pair each juicy steak with baked potatoes, corn on the cob, and pasta salad for a filling and delicious vegan meal you won’t ever forget!

4 charred vegan steak patties in a black grill pan

What is it made of?

I made this vegan steak out of seitan, which is a chewy, tender, and flavorful homemade meat substitute. It comes together using vital wheat gluten, a handful of spices, and vegetable broth, which gives it a scary similar taste, look, and texture to real meat.

Using anything else, like marinated tempeh, tofu, or portabello mushrooms, to make these vegan steaks just wouldn’t be the same. Seitan soaks up flavor like a sponge and is much more tender and meaty than anything else.

How to make seitan steak

Find the complete recipe with measurements below.

  1. Add all the ingredients to a food processor.
  2. Pulse all of the steak ingredients until they’re combined.
  3. Knead the seitan mixture on a clean surface a few times until it’s no longer crumbly.
  4. Cut it into 4 sections.
  5. Flatten each one slightly (I like to use a potato masher for this.)
  6. Steam the 4 steaks in a steamer basket for 30 minutes.
6 images showing the process of making vegan steaks out of seitan

While the steaks steam, whisk the marinade ingredients together in a shallow dish. Marinate the steamed steaks for a few minutes, turning them over a few times.

2 orange seitan patties marinating in a dark brown liquid

How to cook vegan steak

Pan fry the steaks in a cast iron grill, skillet, or outdoor grill. Cook for a few minutes on each side until they have a nice char. Brush the excess marinade on each side of the steaks as they cook for the best flavors.

Tips and substitutions

  • I like the steaks on the thin side. Use a potato masher or your hands to flatten the seitan into 1-inch thick (or less) patties.
  • Instead of lentils – You can use chickpeas or even black beans.
  • Marinade – Play with the flavors in the marinade! Add in herbs, citrus juice, or anything else you like to get your vegan steaks just the way you like ‘em.
  • Gluten free – Unfortunately, this recipe cannot be made gluten free as there isn’t a substitute for the vital wheat gluten.
  • Steak sauce – Instead of the marinade, brush the steaks with your favorite steak sauce or barbecue sauce.
grilling 2 orange seitan patties in a black grill pan

What to serve with vegan steak?

There are tons of great vegan sides you can pair with your steaks. My favorites are baked potatoes and sour cream, mac and cheese, corn on the cob, potato salad, and grilled veggie kabobs. For a simple, filling, and nutritious meal, pair the steaks with asparagus, potato wedges, and a green salad.

One of my favorite ways to serve seitan steaks is to slice them up for an array of different meals. Layer the pieces into veggie steak fajitas, tacos, vegetable wraps, burritos, salads, and grain bowls. Drizzle a little chimichurri or vegan pesto on top for tons of fresh and herby flavors.

4 charred vegan steaks in a black grill pan

Making ahead and storing

If you want to make these ahead of time, prepare the steaks up until they’re done steaming. Store them in an airtight container in the fridge for about 3 days. Then you can marinate them and finish cooking them later.

To freeze, steam the steak patties first and then transfer them to an airtight container or ziploc bag. Let them thaw completely before cooking.

The leftovers store nicely too! Place the cooked and cooled leftovers in an airtight container and keep them in the fridge for 3 or 4 days. Reheat them in a skillet over medium heat or in the microwave for 1 or 2 minutes.

fork taking a slice of vegan steak out of a grill pan

Hungry for more seitan recipes?

brushing red sauce on a charred vegan steak in a grill pan
4.91 stars (11 ratings)

Vegan Steak

Tender, juicy, and protein-packed Vegan Steak is made from seitan, lentils, and classic seasonings. Marinated in soy sauce, tomato paste, and maple syrup, the smoky flavors are perfect for summer barbecue season.
Prep: 20 mins
Cook: 40 mins
Total: 1 hr
Servings: 4 steaks

Ingredients 
 

Seitan Steaks

  • 3/4 cup cooked lentils I used canned, drained and rinsed
  • 1 3/4 cups vital wheat gluten
  • 1/2 cup tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon liquid smoke
  • 1/2 cup vegetable broth or water

Marinade

Instructions 

  • To a food processor, add all seitan steak ingredients and pulse, scraping down the sides as needed until combined.
  • Dump the seitan onto a clean surface, sprinkling with a little vital wheat gluten if needed to prevent sticking. Knead the mixture together for a few minutes until it's no longer crumbly.
  • Flatten the ball somewhat, then cut into 4 sections. Use a potato masher, or even just your hands to flatten the steaks further. I think they are best when they are quite thin, about an inch or a little less.
  • Place the steaks in a steamer basket with water on the bottom and steam for 30 minutes. You can also wrap each one in foil if desired, but they really turn out fine unwrapped. Make sure the water doesn't all evaporate and add more as needed.
  • While the steaks steam, whisk the marinade ingredients in a shallow dish (8×8 is perfect).
  • Once the steaks are done steaming, remove and place in the marinade. Turn them over a few times to coat.
  • Heat a large pan (cast iron grill pan preferred) with a few tablespoons of oil. Add the steaks and cook for a few minutes on each side until a bit blackened. You could also cook them on an outdoor grill.
  • Brush the steaks with a little more marinade right before removing from the pan for extra flavor and moisture.
  • Serve immediately with baked potatoes and vegan sour cream, or any other side dishes you like. See the post above for ideas. Enjoy!

Notes

  1. You may use chickpeas or even black beans in place of the lentils, if desired. I used canned lentils to skip the step of cooking them from scratch.
  2. There is NO substitute for vital wheat gluten free, unfortunately. So there is no way to make this particular recipe gluten free. You may enjoy my Cauliflower Steaks instead though!
  3. Leftover steaks will keep for about 3 days in the refrigerator. Slice and enjoy on salads, in tacos or wherever else you like. Or simply reheat in a pan until warm.

Nutrition

Serving: 1steak | Calories: 375kcal | Carbohydrates: 32g | Protein: 46g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Sodium: 950mg | Potassium: 652mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 12g | Vitamin A: 875IU | Vitamin C: 9mg | Calcium: 113mg | Iron: 6mg
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Author: Nora Taylor
Did you make this recipe?Mention @nora_cooks_vegan_ or tag #noracooks!

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Comments

  1. Hi Nora! First off I just want to say THANK YOU for all your amazing recipes. I made this tonight and they turned out great but mine seem a little doughy? I didn’t know if that’s normal or what texture they are supposed to have! Thanks!

    1. You’re so welcome, Jessica! Seitan can be a little doughy/spongy naturally, but if it was really doughy, then it’s possible the mixture was over-kneaded.

  2. This is an amazing recipe, and so easy! My husband normally does the seitan-related foods in our house, roasts and chicken wings. They didn’t always turn out as well when I made them. But this went great! Very easy and understandable, and they came out so delicious! I agree that cutting them thin is key. We had thicker steaks the first day and though they were great, they were better when we cut them thinner. But for two people, the above recipe gave us steaks for 4 days. Thanks for a great recipe, Nora!

    – Just wanted to add, I used kidney beans instead of lentils, and used beetroot juice instead of water so it got that steak color and cut when it was done. Very yummy.

  3. Made this one tonight, I used black beans instead of lentils and I’m absolutely speechless with how amazing this was. Going to try the carne asada recipe next time I make steaks. Keep up all the great work !!!

    1. Hi Steph. How wonderful that you loved the steak! Thanks for using my recipes! I appreciate you taking time to share your wonderful feedback!

  4. Great recipe Nora – again!
    I was wondering about making a batch of these and freezing some for future meals.
    Any advice on freezing and thawing the steaks?

    1. Hi Deanna. Thanks! I’m glad you enjoyed the recipe! I haven’t tried freezing them myself, but I think it would probably work. One person commented they freeze them after they are steamed, and it works well! I appreciate you taking time to share your wonderful feedback!

  5. Hi Nora (or readers), I made the seitan, and it has really messed up my food processor. Remnants of the mixture are stuck like glue onto the sides of the bowl, even though I ran all parts through the dishwasher on the “pots & pans” setting.  I had first tried washing the bowl manually with a scrubby thing, and it didn’t do anything! All that happened was pieces of “dough” basically destroyed the scrubby thing. Has anyone else experienced this? What’s the secret for cleaning utensils/bowls/processor after making seitan? Thanks for any tips.

    1. I’ve never heard of this happening before! Every time I make seitan, the dough is quite soft, moist, and pliable, just like bread dough. Everything is easy to clean afterward. I would soak the food processor bowl with hot water and dish soap to help loosen the stuck bits, then continue washing until they come off. I hope this helps!

  6. Made this today for my vegan nephew   He was so so happy! He ate two steaks. I used canned red kidney beans instead of lentils. Bravo Nora ?? 

  7. Hi,
    I’m going to make vegan California Burritos with this, therefore carne asada. Just wondering if I want to cook lentils, which color lentils work best for this?

  8. This steak was awesome! I used it as part of Nora’s carne asada recipe.
    My only difficulty was when I added the lentils and other ingredients to the food processor to create the dough. The ingredients came together so quickly that my food processor slowed as it all coagulated into a singular ball. The problem was that it came together so quickly that all the lentils didn’t get pulverized, so I ended up picking them out of the dough one-by-one. In the future, I would blend the lentils down first, then add the other ingredients to make the dough.
    Also, since I don’t have a steamer basket, and my attempts to rig my own haven’t been successful, I eventually had to just bake these.
    Flavor was wonderful, and very tough meaty texture.

  9. Nora you continue to amaze my family and I with each recipe I try! This was hands down absolutely delish!! I had to sub regular paprika for smoked but I honestly think it gave it that grilled meaty flavor. I was bummed I made on 4 steaks and we ate one as our “sample” so the other 3 were rationed out for my family of 4 lol. Thank you again for these delicious recipes. Making it again today and slicing them into strips to make pepper steak! Of course I’ll be using your gravy to make it just perfect!

    1. You’re so welcome, Nerissa! I’m so happy you and your family loved the “steaks” so much and thank you for sharing such wonderful feedback!

  10. Hi Nora,

    These look yum and I am excited to try them out!

    Quick Q: have you frozen these? I want to try making a big batch and freezing a few after steaming them.

    Thanks!

    1. Hi Noey 

      I make these and freeze them after steaming and they are just perfect. 
      I like to make a bigger batch so I have them on hand when needed 

    1. It says in the recipe it can’t be gluten free. Seitan is vital wheat gluten thus can’t be gluten free. It addresses your concerns in the recipe.

  11. Shockingly good!  I made these steaks last evening and we couldn’t believe how great they tasted. I will definitely make them again. I do think that the recipe could be adjusted to make 6 small steaks instead of 4 large ones. We had leftovers that we served on a salad today for lunch – good cold as well as hot.  I am planning to serve this to my family (who are not vegan) and can’t wait to hear their praise.

    1. Hi Michelle. I”m glad that you enjoyed the steaks! You can definitely adjust the size of your steaks to your liking! Thank you so much for sharing your great review and comments! Happy cooking!

  12. Hi Nora,
    My husband also eats GF, and I’m wondering if the vital wheat gluten is necessary for this recipe to be successful? Is there a different ingredient I could substitute?

    1. Unfortunately, there is no way to make this particular recipe gluten free. The vital wheat gluten is needed for this recipe. You may enjoy my Cauliflower Steaks instead though!

  13. I’m a big fan of soy curls, so I don’t usually attempt seitan, but I just had to try this recipe. Wow! These are so good. The texture is perfect, and they’re amazing with mashed potatoes. I add a little salt to the seitan dough and also add vegan Worcestershire sauce to the marinade, and it comes out great. Thanks for this.

  14. I will be making these for tomorrow! Can you pre-make these and leave in the marinade in the fridge until ready to grill? Or will these take on too much of the marinade?

  15. I made the recipe as written , pan fried, and it was delicious, even better the next day. I might increase the spices a bit for my own liking. Looking forward to making this again and again. Thank you

      1. I think you could, but I haven’t tested it. I’d probably just go for the same time in the IP.

    1. I’ve done it this way. 30 minutes with about a cup and quarter of broth, let decompress for 10, and then take release the pressure. They’re perfect that way.

  16. Do you think I could make this without a food processor by just combining ingredients in a bowl or is the processor essential for texture?

    1. Yes, you totally could! I would just mash the lentil a bit first, then mix everything together well. Hope you enjoy!

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