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Grilling for Vegetarians : Seitan Negimaki

There used to be a time when 'grilling' and 'vegetarian' were considered antonyms. But not anymore! Because along with their personal health, people globally are becoming more and more aware of the planet's health too. We're not just counting our calories anymore. We're also counting our carbon footprints. And that is what has revolutionized barbecuing and grilling as cooking techniques worldwide. Because today, meat doesn't necessarily come from animals. We also have plant-based meat like Seitan as an excellent substitute for your regular animal meat. And before you scrunch up your faces, let's make it absolutely clear that not only does it look like meat but also tastes like it! Sometimes, even better!

One of the best dishes you can try for your next cookout is a Seitan Negimaki - scallions wrapped with thinly sliced seitan in a teriyaki sauce. Much of this recipe could be done ahead of time - make the seitan, assemble the rolls, then grill when you’re ready to eat.


Seitan Negimaki

Prep Time: 45 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour



For the simmering broth:

  • 8 cups vegetable broth

  • 6 cloves garlic, smashed

  • 1/4 cup fresh sliced ginger

  • 2 bunches scallions, green parts only, sliced 3 to 4 inches long

  • A few tablespoons toasted sesame seeds

  • Plain wooden toothpicks

For the seitan:

  • 1 1/4 cups vital wheat gluten

  • 3 tablespoons nutritional yeast flakes

  • 3/4 cup cold water

  • 1/4 cup soy sauce

For the marinade:

  • 1/4 cup mirin

  • 1/3 cup hoisin sauce

  • 2 teaspoons Sriracha (plus extra for garnish)

  • 1 teaspoon fresh ginger minced to a paste

  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil

  • 3 tablespoons of water.


For the Seitan:

Put the vegetable broth, garlic and fresh sliced ginger on a boil. Then begin making the Seitan.

First mix the wheat gluten and nutritional yeast in a bowl and then add the water and soy sauce and knead. Make sure to knead it for a good two to three minutes until it forms a stiff, hard dough. Shape the dough into a flat log that is rough 8×4 inches in dimension.

Once the broth comes to a boil, lower heat to a simmer and submerge the seitan. Simmer for 30 minutes.

Tips: While making the Seitan, it is important to keep the lid of the container ajar. This will allow the steam to escape and the Seitan to cook at the right temperature. Also, let your Seitan cool completely within the broth itself before taking it out. This will provide a better texture.


For the Marinade:

Take a wide, shallow bowl and mix all the ingredients for the marinade.

Now, slice the seitan. You want it to be about an 1/8 inch thick. One way to check whether it's done well or not is to try wrapping the slices around your pinky finger nicely, without breaking or being unruly. If they do, they're good to go!

Cut 16 slices and place them in the marinade for an hour and remember to flip them occasionally.


For assembling and cooking:

Add the sliced scallions to the marinade bowl and coat them in sauce. Take a slice of marinated seitan and place it on a dinner plate. Place 4 or 5 scallions across, so that scallions will poke out of the ends an inch or so. Now roll the seitan around the scallion and secure it with a toothpick or two.

Once rolls are formed, heat the grill over medium heat. Spray or brush the grill with oil and cook rolls on both sides until grill marks appear.

Transfer rolls to a serving plate. Drizzle with leftover marinade, some sriracha and sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds. And… Viola! Your Seitan Negimaki is ready!

Tip: Soak your toothpicks in water before using so that they do not burn during the grilling.

So, for your next barbecue party, surprise your guests by whipping up these absolutely delicious Seitan Negimaki recipes. But be sure to not tell them… because the look on their faces when they're done licking their fingers and praising your BBQ only to discover that all of what they ate was plant based and vegetarian is going to be priceless!