Vegan Carne Asada (Seitan)
Carne Asada was one of my favorite things to eat and GRILL before going Vegan, so this Seitan Version is perfect for BBQ season!
When I lived in the Echo Park neighborhood of Los Angeles, one of my favorite pasttimes after going out for a few drinks was eating. More often than not, this was either in the form of a bacon wrapped hot dog, or if I wanted to really load up, I'd head for one of the many taco trucks on my way home. Taco Zone was pretty popular, but I preferred Tacos Arizas becuase it was better and the line was shorter. I'd often get 3 Tacos Al Pastor and 3 Carne Asada tacos, and would precariously balance them all on a paper plate (never dropped one once) and then of course you'd have to scoop up all the meat that fell off the tacos at the end of the meal, that was dessert!
Sometimes I'd take things into my own hands and grill it at home, and that's where this recipe comes in! As fun as it was to get tacos from a truck, there's something very satisfying about grilling it yourself. For this recipe, we are using a pretty traditional marinade and then for the meat we are using SEITAN! This steak recipe is from Sam over at It Doesn't Taste Like Chicken (original recipe HERE).
To avoid overly chewy seitan, make sure you don't overmix this in the food processor. And also, don't over knead it. You just need it to come together, it will be crumbly at first, but don't fret, you can smash it together in a minute or so.
The marinade calls for Mexican Beer, if you don't want to add it, it'll still be good. But if you have no problem with some beer I highly recommend it as it adds some nice flavor.
I recommend marinating for a minimum of one hour, but overnight is even better, plus it gives the seitan a chance to rest which should help with the texture.
Grill this however you like, but either way you should baste it with the lefover marinade. And also, once you chop it up, throw it back in the marinade for extra flavor / juiciness. Definitely store it in the marinade if you are gonna use it later!
Quick Note! This makes a lot of Carne Asada. You can definitely store some for leftovers and use them over 3-4 days.
2 Tbsp diced chipotles in adobo
6 Tbsp orange juice
6 Tbsp lime juice
2 Tbsp soy sauce
2 Tbsp neutral oil
1/2 cup Mexican beer (optional, recommended)
4-6 cloves garlic
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp cayenne
1 tsp guajillo powder (optional)
2 Tbsp brown sugar
Big handful of cilantro
Combine all ingredients in a food processor and save for later. You can bypass the food processor, just mince the garlic and finely chop the cilantro.
(adaped from It Doesn't Taste Like Chicken)
1 1/2 cups Vital Wheat Gluten
1 cup cooked lentils
2 Tbsp nutritional yeast
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp chili powder
black pepper to taste
2 Tbsp tomato paste
2 Tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp Beefless Bouillon paste (or veggie bouillon)
6 Tbsp water
1/2 tsp liquid smoke
Add the vital wheat gluten, lentils, nutritional yeast, garlic powder, smoked paprika, chili powder and black pepper to a food processor and blend until combined.
Whisk together the tomato paste, soy sauce, beefless bouillon, water and liquid smoke in a separate bowl.
Add the wet ingredients to the food processor and pulse until just combined, making sure not to over process.
Dump the seitan onto a work surface, it should be crumbly. Knead by hand until it comes together, again careful not to overknead to avoid a chewy seitan.
Roll the seitan out as large as you can so that it will fit in your largest pot / dutch oven. You can also cut it into 2 and roll it out into 2 separate steaks. I rolled mine to about 1/2" thick. Let the steak rest for 10-15 minutes, then tightly wrap in foil. You can also wrap it in parchment paper first if you don't want the foil to touch your steak.
Bring some water in a large pot up to a boil, then add a steamer basket and then add in the wrapped seitan steak. Cover and steam for 25 minutes, flipping halfway through.
Let the seitan rest until it's room temperature. Then add it to a freezer bag or tupperware with the marinade and let it marinade for at least 1 hour, but overnight is best.
Heat up a grill and then grill the carne asada seitan steak on both sides to your desired doneness. Baste it with the marinade everytime you flip it. I cooked mine on both sides twice for about 3 minutes each time, so 12 minutes in total.
Once cooked, chop up into bite size pieces, and add it back to the bag / tupperware with the excess marinade to soak in more flavor and juice! Then serve as tacos, burritos, tortas, whatever you like!