Seitan Buffalo “Wings”

Vegan Buffalo Wings

For someone who’s never had real chicken wings, I seem to have a little bit of a fixation on vegetarian variations. Of course, I do live with someone who was a chicken wing fanatic before he went veggie – but even if I didn’t, things that are breaded and fried and tossed in buffalo sauce are delicious and I refuse to miss out on that just because I don’t eat chicken.

All that said – these don’t fit the cliché. They don’t “taste just like chicken!” They are delicious and flavorful and one time I ate so many for lunch I couldn’t have dinner. But they’re not chicken – whenever I make a veggie replacement for a classic meat dish, I try to think of it in its own right and appreciate the tastes and textures for what they are instead of trying to compare apples and oranges (or, in this case, chicken and seitan).

seitan

If you haven’t had seitan, or don’t know about it, it’s what’s known in the vegetarian world as “the wheat meat.” Its base is the gluten protein extracted from wheat, milled into flour. It’s then mixed with liquid and seasoning and cooked. It bakes, fries, or steams up with a toothsome, meaty texture that tofu really can’t touch, and that’s why you’ll find it in recipes like this, or vegetarian hot dogs. To me, it has a very distinct taste that I really like – I use it in “chicken” parm, “chicken” noodle soup, the aforementioned hot dogs, and lots of other stuff. In this recipe, we mix in mushrooms and onions for extra flavor and a softer texture. Then we roll each little “wing” in breading and fry ‘em up.

Yep, we’re going to fry. This is about the “wing experience” – greasy bar food, messy hands, and Super Bowl-ready indulgences. If you’re super-averse to frying, you can bake these at 400 for 15 minutes per side. However you cook them, they’re a fantastic vegetarian alternative to garden-variety chicken wings, for the big game or any other occasion. Just don’t forget to bring lots of napkins.

Seitan Buffalo "Wings"
 
Prep time
Cook time
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A vegan version of chicken wings made from seitan. Perfect for a party, the Super Bowl, or just because.
Category: Appetizer
Yield: 16 wings
Ingredients
Breading
  • 1 cup non-dairy milk
  • 1 tsp vinegar
  • ½ cup panko breadcrumbs
  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
Buffalo Sauce
  • ½ cup Frank's Red Hot Sauce (or other cayenne pepper sauce)
  • ½ cup margarine
  • 1 tsp white vinegar
  • ¼ tsp garlic powder
  • ¼ tsp salt
Wings
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil, divided
  • 4 oz cremini mushrooms, sliced
  • ¼ cup onion, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp dried sage
  • ½ tsp dried thyme
  • ½ tsp dried parsley
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ cup water
  • 1 cup + 1 Tbsp vital wheat gluten
  • Vegetable oil for frying
Instructions
Prepare the Breading
  1. Combine milk and vinegar in a small bowl and stir. Set aside.
  2. Combine breadcrumbs, flour, and spices in another bowl and set aside.
Make the Sauce
  1. Combine hot sauce, margarine, vinegar, garlic powder and salt in a small saucepan. Heat on medium-low, whisking frequently, until margarine is melted and mixture is bubbling. Remove from heat and set aside.
Make the Wings
  1. Heat 1 Tbsp of oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add mushrooms and onions and cook until softened and most liquid is released, about five minutes.
  2. Transfer to the bowl of a food processor and add the garlic (meanwhile, wipe down the skillet so you can use the same one for frying). Pulse until finely chopped, about 30 seconds. Add sage, thyme, parsley, salt, pepper and water and process into a relatively smooth paste. Add vital wheat gluten and process until mixture is smooth and doughy (about 45 seconds to 1 minute). If mixture seems too wet, add 1 Tbsp of vital wheat gluten.
  3. Roll the dough into a cylinder about 16 inches long. Cut into 1-inch pieces and shape into tube-like pieces, then flatten slightly (the pieces will swell a little when you fry them).
  4. Turn the heat under the wing sauce back to low.
  5. Heat about 1.5-2 inches oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat (if you have a thermometer, you're going for 350-375. If you don't, flick a stray breadcrumb into the oil - if it bubbles immediately and browns within seconds, you're good to go).
  6. Dip each wing into the milk mixture, then roll in the breadcrumb mixture, ensuring each is thoroughly coated. Fry for 45-60 seconds, then flip and fry for another 30-45 seconds, until coating is browned.
  7. Drain on paper towels and keep warm in a 300 degree oven. When all the wings are cooked, toss with the buffalo sauce. Serve with celery, carrots, and your favorite blue cheese (this is my favorite vegan version)
Notes
If you're not concerned with these being vegan, you can replace the milk/vinegar in the breading with buttermilk, and the margarine with butter in the wing sauce.

If you can handle the heat, feel free to double the hot sauce in the buffalo sauce.

Source: Adapted from Vegan Dad

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3 Responses to Seitan Buffalo “Wings”

  1. My boyfriend and I were really excited to celebrate the Fourth of July with buffalo seitan wings and after reading through it a few times we began prepping. We did everything as follows however after cooking the wings per the specified time we cut one open just to try it and it was super doughy. We spit it out. My boyfriend makes the seitan in our house and said he was nervous about frying the dough without boiling or baking it first, especially for such a short amount of time. Not wanting to scrap the whole batch because it did smell amazing when we were shaping the wings, we decided we would fry them and then bake them. We ended up frying the wings for much longer than recommended, not sure of the time, but until golden on both sides. We then baked them at 400 degrees for 10 minutes on each side. In the meantime we decided we’d try frying some of our cooked seitan that we had on hand. We breaded it and fried until golden. After both our cooked seitan (traditional boiled method) and this recipe were done frying and baking we tossed them in the buffalo sauce and gave it a go.

    • Hi Margaret – thanks so much for your feedback. I’ve made these many times without issue but I’m going to take them back into the kitchen next weekend and try again in case I missed something. I’m glad you and your boyfriend are experienced with seitan and it wasn’t a loss – I will be sure to update the recipe accordingly after a few more test batches. Thanks again.

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