We all must prepare for the likelihood of running out of our regular protein sources in an extended emergency. From a dietary standpoint, exploring high protein meat alternatives to incorporate in your emergency preps would be a proactive step in maintaining your caloric and nutritional intake during an emergency.
Wheat meat, also known as wheat gluten and also Seitan is listed as a principal source of protein along with eggs, milk, cheese, lean meat, fish, soybeans, peanuts and vegetables. From a nutritional perspective, wheat meat has 378 calories, 41.4 grams of protein, 1.9 grams of fat, thus making it a viable option for dinner. Wheat meat is made from the protein that the wheat produces, and it is easier to digest compared to real meats. The best part of wheat meat, is it really has no definite taste and can easily be seasoned to take on the flavor of the meat you are trying to substitute it for.
Basic Wheat Meat Recipes Made From Whole Wheat
- 12 c. whole wheat flour
- 7 c. water (or enough to moisten all the flour
You’re basically kneading the dough like you would bread and for the same reasons – to activate the gluten. This is nice to know because if the power is out, you can still make gluten. Set this mixture aside for 20 minutes. If longer, refrigerate.
Add two parts flour to one part water in a bowl (i.e. 12 cups flour to 6 cups cool water. Mix with kneading arm. The consistency should be like bread dough and pull away from the sides of the bowl. If it does not, add more four. Mix 5-10 minutes. Now it is ready for the rinsing process.
(This step will separate the gluten from the other products in the wheat flour which has been stirred or kneaded).
Add water to bowl of rested dough (use enough to cover the dough). Work and squeeze with your hands to loosen the dough (About 10 seconds). When the water takes on a milky appearance and you see specks of bran, pour this water off into another bowl if you want to save the bran and starch (as it contains vitamins, mineral-rich starch, bran and wheat germ). Over a sink, place this dough in a colander (plastic is best). Under a tap of slowly running lukewarm water, work and squeeze the dough with your hands until the gluten starts to hold together and the liquid coming from the dough is clear. It is not necessary to rinse out all of the bran from the gluten. In about 3 minutes or longer, you should have a ball of elastic-like dough. This is the raw gluten. At this point, you can begin to shape the wheat meat into the desired form. Get creative with this meat alternative. The meat lover in you can still enjoy ribs, meatballs, steak, corned beef and ground beef–made even if you’ve run out of meat.
In “The Amazing Wheat Book” by LeArta Moulton, there are some helpful tips to remember when making wheat meat:
- Once a small amount of gluten starts holding together, you will find that the rest of the gluten clings to it, so as quickly as possible get a small ball of gluten started. You may want to work a small amount in your hands to get this started.
- How soon gluten cells start holding together is determined by the protein quality of the wheat flour used, or how often the clean water is allowed to run through the dough.
- The dough becomes slightly stringy and falls apart easily just before it starts holding, so don’t give up too soon. Don’t throw it away, try again! Add more flour to the mixture and let it rest again, only longer – 1 to 4 hours, or even overnight in the refrigerator.
- If you want tighter texture for chicken, pepperoni & bologna type slices, form it into a roll in a cheesecloth, or you can simmer to make thin strips for stir-fry, strogonoff, jerky, etc., using pizza cutter or knife.
Using Gluten Flour:
A kind reader of this website, mentioned that she uses high gluten flour, this flour does not require washing of the dough and saves time. In a situation of preparedness, we must remember we do not want to waste our water, so even though the flour is higher priced, it is well worth it. When using the high gluten flour, you add the water (or broth) to the flour and seasonings, and then boil it. It doubles in size, so it is very deceiving.
Once the wheat meat is formed, now it’s time to cook it. Some of the simpler ways to cook wheat meat are explained below:
Boiling – This is the easiest way to cook wheat meat is to drop shaped dough into flavored boiling broth (equal amt. of broth & raw gluten. Simmer till liquid is gone (@ 30 min.)
Dehydrator – Make jerky or dehydrated wheat meat by drying in the dehydrator.
Baking – Put wheat meat on a sprayed cookie sheet 350′ oven & bake until pieces appear dry on top, then turn & bake until texture is chewy.
Meatball or Burger Recipe
- 2 c. ground gluten
- 3 tbl. finely minced onion or 1 tbl. dry onion
- 1 tbl. sausage seasoning, chicken seasoning, or seasoning of your choice
- 2 tbl. flour
- 1-2 eggs, beaten
- 2 tbl. oil (preferably olive oil)
- salt and pepper to taste
*To make Oriental Style Meatballs
Add the above ingredients along with:
- 1 tbl. green pepper
- 1/4 tsp. ground ginger
- 1 tbl. soy sauce
- 1tbl. sesame seeds
- 1/2 tsp. sesame oil
Mix all ingredients together and form into balls or desired shape. Bake at 350 degree F on a cookie sheet 20-30 minutes or until firm.
- 4 eggs
- 3 tbl. olive oil
- 2 tsp. sausage seasoning
- 1 tsp. each of garlic and onion powder
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1/2 tsp. pepper
- 1/2 c. potato or oatmeal flakes
- 1/4 c. flour (whole grain or bean)
- 4 c. ground gluten
- 1/2 c. grated vegetables (about 4 tbl. each of green and red bell pepper, celery, onion and carrots).
Note: could use dried vegetables, softened
Spoon onto preheated, medium heat fry pan and brown on both sides or place formed patty on a baking sheet and bake 20 minutes or until firm. Serve on bun with your favorite condiments. Makes 14 patties (1/4 c. each).
Savory Vegetarian Meatloaf
- 1 c. raw potato, grated
- 1/2 c. grated onion
- 1 c. celery, chopped
- 1/2 c. rolled oats
- 1/3 c. oil
- 3 c. ground gluten
- 4 eggs, beaten
- 1 tsp. crumbled sage
- 1 tsp. meatloaf seasoning
- 1 tsp. soy sauce
- 1/2 tsp. celery salt
- 1/2 tsp. salt
Mix all above and place in oiled baking dish. Bake at 375 for 1 hour. Slice and serve with sweet and sour sauce or gravy.
This article was based on the information provided in The Amazing Wheat Book by LeArta Moulton.
To purchase a cookbook about Wheat Meat or Seitan, consider Cooking With Seitan by Barbara Jacobs
Also, a special thanks to some of my readers and friends on Facebook for their contribution to this article.