By KD Angle-Traegner / Last Update: October 2019
Seitan, aka wheat gluten, is food that originated in China and Japan more than 1,000 years ago.
Traditionally prepared by Zen Buddhists, it was used as a substitute for meat or fish. It comes from the Japanese words “sei,” meaning “to be, become, made of,” and “tan,” as in tanpaku, which means “proteins.”
Freely translated, it means: “made of proteins.”
Since the mid-20th century, seitan (pronounced SAY-TAN) has become a staple among vegans because of its chewy, toothy texture and its ability to mimic the flavors of non-vegan meats.