Sunday, November 11, 2012

Shallot and Shiitake Seitan Wellington

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Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. I love coming up with the menu and cooking every dish from start to finish. I don't even mind doing the dishes after everything is over. I have learned to make every side dish completely and unobtrusively vegan over the past several years, except for the turkey of course, but I love the challenge every year of coming up with a faux-meaty alternative for guests to enjoy in addition to or instead of turkey.

Last year, I made this roulade, which was fantastic, but I wanted to make something a little more decadent this year, and got the idea to do a Wellington after watching it being prepped on The Food Network. I then googled "Beef Wellington" to get more of an idea of what was involved, learned how to prepare a duxelles, and was off and running with assembling a vegan version in my head.

This seitan is steamed then baked, which gives it a wonderfully unique texture and is perfectly complimented by tangy and succulent shiitake and shallots within and around it. My favorite part is the buttery and flaky pastry outside, which tastes fabulous with the other components.

This recipe, although involved, could be done in two parts: the seitan can be steamed and then refrigerated beforehand (just leave it in the tinfoil after it has been steamed and place it into a sealed ziploc bag) and the duxelles can be sauteed and then stored away in a separate container as well. This leaves the step of only having to brush the phyllo and bake it right before Thanksgiving dinner which is nice, especially when you have a zillion other items to prep and bake that day. This recipe makes about four servings and can easily be doubled if needed.

for the seitan

1/4 cup shallots, minced
4 shiitake caps, minced
1/4 cup cannellini beans, mashed
1 TB A1 sauce (I used cracked peppercorn flavor)
few dashes of liquid smoke
1 TB red wine
1 TB chickpea flour
1 TB fresh thyme, minced
1 TB toasted sesame oil
1 TB soy sauce
1 cup of vital wheat gluten
3/4 cup broth (I used Imagine brand No-Chicken broth)

for the duxelles
2 TB Earth Balance
2 cups shiitake caps, finely diced
3/4 cups shallots, finely diced
4-5 cloves garlic, minced
1 TB fresh thyme, minced
1/3 cup white wine

to assemble
6-8 sheets vegan phyllo dough (I used Fillo Factory brand), thawed overnight in the refrigerator
olive oil or melted Earth Balance, for brushing

for the seitan
Heat a teaspoon of olive oil in a small pan over medium heat. Add in the shallots and saute for about 2 minutes. Transfer to a glass bowl to cool. Return the pan to the stove and add in another teaspoon of oil. Add in the shiitake and saute for about 2 minutes, then transfer to the same bowl with the shallots. Turn off the heat and place the pan to the side.

Add in the next 8 ingredients and stir well. Add in about half of the vital wheat gluten, stir until well combined, then add in the rest and stir again. Add in the broth and stir again. The mixture should pull away cleanly from the sides as you stir it. Add a little more broth if needed.

Place the seitan onto a large piece of tin foil. Form the seitan into a cylinder shape, then press down so its curved on the top, but flat on the bottom. Bring up the sides of the foil, then twist the ends to seal it completely.

Place a steamer basket into a large pan with a tight-fitting lid. Place enough water so it covers the bottom of the pan, but is not touching the bottom of the steamer. Place the wrapped seitan inside, cover and steam over medium heat for about 40 minutes. (You may need to top off the water if the level gets low during steaming time.)

for the duxelles
Melt 2 tablespoons of Earth Balance over medium heat. Add in the shallots and saute for about 3 minutes. Add in the shiitake, stir and saute for 3 minutes more. Add in the garlic and thyme and stir. Let it saute until almost all of the liquid has evaporated, then add in the wine. Let the wine slightly reduce for a few minutes, then remove from the heat to cool.

to assemble the Wellingtons
Preheat your oven to 400. Lay one phyllo sheet directly onto the counter. Brush with a little oil or vegan butter, then lay another sheet on top of that. Repeat until you have 6-8 sheets laid out. Place the duxelle in the middle of the pastry in a thin but even layer, then place the seitan on top of that, curved side down. Bring the edges of the pastry up and fold them over each other, then fold the sides in, like you are wrapping a gift. Now flip the entire thing over so the seam is on the bottom.

Place a little oil on a baking sheet and place the Wellington on top of that. Brush the top with a little oil and bake for about 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and rotate it 180 degrees. Brush the top of the pastry again with a little oil (I just brushed it with the oil that has collected at the bottom of the baking sheet), and bake for an additional 15 minutes or until the top is golden brown.

Allow it to rest for 10 minutes before slicing and serving.


  1. This recipe is talking/singing to me on all sorts of levels! I just want to eat it now and I have only just had my breakfast. This amazing culinary creation is going to be my own personal Christmas feast this year :) Cheers for making my job as a resident magpie vegan special Christmas recipe hunter now retired :)

    1. Thank you! I hope you enjoy making it -- this is all kinds of fun to throw together, and I was really happy with the flavor and texture at the end (as was my meat and potatoes husband!)

  2. Very creative, wonderful ingredients! I can imagine this tastes extremely delicious. Beautiful job :)

  3. this looks lovely, I wish I could eat wheat!!!!

    1. Christine, I recently read about a gluten-free product over at Happy Herbivore:

      I'm not sure of it's availability, but it sounds like a terrific product!

  4. Hi! Can the chickpea flour be replaced with another kind of flour? It's difficult to find where I am. I can't wait to make this for Christmas!

    1. Leslie, if you have rice flour, that can be subbed here. Really any mild-tasting, gluten-free flour will work here. I hope you enjoy!


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