Heirloom Beans & Seitan Recipe

This is simply heirloom beans and roasted broccoli with shallots and pan-fried seitan. Something I threw together one night after getting home from the airport. It's filling and hearty, and quick to make - particularly if you have cooked beans stashed in the freezer...but canned beans will work too.

Heirloom Beans & Seitan

A few weeks back Wayne and I spent three days visiting Palm Springs. The weather was hot (in a good way), and the weekend was set against the backdrop of a piercingly clear blue sky. We visited date farms, browsed vintage furniture shops, brunched outdoors under giant umbrellas, lounged around near the hotel pool, and went to a beautiful evening wedding at the Corona Yacht Club. We arrived home late Sunday night, neither of us felt like going out again, and it became one of those nights where dinner comes together as I pick and pull from every shelf, drawer, and pocket in the refrigerator/freezer. We ended up having this heirloom bean and broccoli bowl with shallots and seitan. It's filling and hearty, and the roasted broccoli works nicely with the beans and the dusting of cheese I add at the end. I've cooked this three or four times since that night, and thought it might be the kind of thing you'd like to make too.

Heirloom Beans with Seitan

I suspect some of you might not be familiar with seitan. You can buy it at many natural food stores, and the Whole Foods Markets here in San Francisco stock it as well. But let me back up a bit and say, I've only recently become enamored with seitan. In fact, it has always been one of those ingredients I would skip over at the store. I suspect this was because I've never been interested in making meals with faux meat. In addition to that, I think we can agree, seitan is not an attractive ingredient. To my eye it looks like dense, wet, papier-mâché. Nicknames? Some people call it wheat meat....again, not very charming. All that aside, I've come to enjoy seitan. Here's how.

Heirloom Beans with Seitan

Wayne came home with some "cutlets" one day (this one). He chopped them into small chunks which he then pan-fried. The little pieces got nice and brown, and crispy. I had to admit it was quite good. Ever since, and despite its status as the least photogenic ingredient in my refrigerator, I've been making an effort to been cooking with more and more of it - mostly in stir-frys, or as a protein-packed topping on chunky soups, or in a range of throw-it-all-in-the-skillet type meals like this one.

For the other components in this particular recipe? I almost always have bags of leftover cooked heirloom beans in my freezer, so I used those. And then tossed a few handfuls of broccoli in olive oil and roasted it for just a few minutes. That's pretty much it.

I'll leave you with a couple snapshots from Palm Springs. Here's a picture of Wayne enjoying a morning espresso. And a photo of one of the date farms we visited. I made date cookies when I got home using little date chunks and a recipe I found on the side of a bag of the date pieces. Unfortunately, they were quite bad, which is why they never made it onto the site :/

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Heirloom Beans & Seitan Recipe

Feel free to tweak the ratio of beans to seitan if you like more beans or less. You might also crisp up the beans if you like - I've also thought about adding the beans to the broccoli pan and heating them up that way....You can use any number of beans here - preferably beans that hold their shape. In my freezer I happened to have some heirloom beans bought and cooked from the farmers' market (some sort of cranberry bean?), as well as some Hutterite soup beans from Rancho Gordo - so I used this slightly bizarre combination (this is what you see in the photo). But I've also used white cannelini beans in the past, and chickpeas are great too. From a can will work - just drain, rinse, and shake off any extra water before using.

1 small-medium head of broccoli or broccolini, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
fine grain sea salt

4 ounces seitan, sliced into smallish bite-sized pieces
2 shallots, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon clarified butter or extra virgin olive oil
2 cups of your favorite cooked beans (see head notes)
3 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan or Grana Padano

Preheat oven to 400F degrees. Toss the broccoli with the olive oil and a couple pinches of salt, and place in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake for about 10 minutes or until the broccoli is cooked through and has starting to char just a bit where it is touching the pan. Alternately you might boil, steam, or saute the broccoli - but I like roasting the broccoli for this, it works particularly well.

In the meantime, in a large non-stick or (preferably) well-seasoned pan, over medium high heat, saute the seitan and shallots in a bit of clarified butter or olive oil. I like to get the seitan nice and dark and a touch crispy at the edges. The shallots should brown up nicely as well - ten minutes or so. Stir in the beans and cook until they are heated through, you can even let those brown up a bit if you like. At this point, stir in half the grated cheese, taste, and adjust seasoning if needed with more salt.

Turn the beans and seitan out onto a large plate or platter, top with the roasted broccoli and finish with the remaining cheese.

Serves about 2 as a main, 4 as a side.

Prep time: 10 minutes - Cook time: 20 minutes

If you make this recipe, I'd love to see it - tag it #101cookbooks on Instagram!

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I love your creativity. Looks like this dish will be dinner sometime soon!

lisa @ dandysugar

Mmmm... I love heat. We just got back from Palm Springs about a week ago. It was a good break - wish I would have found the date farm though. I did, however, find a wonderful restaurant. We ate at Native Foods (two locations within the area) 3 out of the 5 nights we were there. They specialize in vegan cuisine and it was OH!-soooo-good. I had seitan in a couple different dishes. They are definitely worth checking out the next time you are there (the desserts were really good too!).

Erin D.

Hi Heidi, For some reason I can't get to the photo link of the Palm Springs date farm but I'm wondering if it was Shields. We visited and did a story on it. It was tons of fun. Wondering if it was still torn up or if the remodeling was finished. I also have a real fondness for Rancho Gordo beans. I think what Dave is doing, saving heirloom varieties, is so worthwhile. And of course, the beans are absolutely delicious and... did you know that they are on average 1 year old compared to most dried beans which are 5-10 years old - sitting in warehouses somewhere. Ick! Here's the link to the date story if you are interested. http://www.nativefoodandwine.com/features/2009/9/29/dates-the-deserts-candy.html Cheers. Great work as always.

Amber @ Native Food and Wine

Yum! I have heirloom beans, and broccoli from the farmshare, and seitan. I know what I'm making for dinner this week :-D Hint -- for extra-chewy-and-delicious homemade seitan, mix gluten and water, roll it into little balls, then bake it in the oven at 400 for about 20 minutes until it puff up (it's quite dramatic). Then slice the puffs (or not) and braise them with your recipe. Vital wheat gluten is refined, but your other option is starting with flour and refining it yourself by washing off everything except the gluten. It's just the nature of the food.


I didn't realize what Seitan was until I looked it up in Japanese! I have to say that it looks far different from the Japanese Fu I know though. I wanted to take a close look of the image (texture, color, ingrediets, flavors and etc), but the website you linked has a flash and the image wouldn't stay!! LOL The Japanese kind that I've had wasn't gooey or sticky at all but how are these ones, I wonder.

Kitchen M

Ok Heidi, I'll give seitan a try, you've convinced me.


This looks amazing. I haven't used seitan so I look forward to trying this recipe. Thanks!

Carrie @ Deliciously Organic

Heidi, thanks so much for another (yet again!) wonderful recipe. Can't wait to try it. I was in Palm Springs a couple of weeks ago myself and went to a vegan organic place called Native Foods. The food was absolutely delicious. Hopefully you can visit the next time you're in that area. I bought a copy of Chef Tanya's (owner) cookbook and she has a recipe for homemade seitan in there, which I can't wait to try as well. I guess that's the secret to a good dish. The ones you can buy at the store just won't cut it.


I like how you cooked the brocolli, I gotta try that. Seitan is pretty good, I've had luck marinating it and using in a number of recipes. Not entirely sure how I feel about vital wheat gluten...isn't that a fairly refined grain? I really don't know much about it...will have to research! HS: When i made seitan I didn't use Vital Wheat Gluten. I think there are a number of ways to approach it.


Right there with you on the seitan and its slice o' cow poo look. But last weekend I visited my parents, and my mom tossed a package of homemade wheat meat into the cooler for me to take home. She made it herself. I am one of those guilt-driven midwesterners who can't waste food, much less things my mother made me. So I ate it. I was shocked by the taste, not at all meaty or even pretending to be. It's almost succulent inside. I'm not sure how she flavored it, but I've asked her to show me how to make it over the holidays. It's extremely high in protein and very little work. I'm excited to have another very flexible protein source that I can make at home.


Love beans, but I'm not sure of the seitan or broccoli here. I'd surely like to have a bowl of it to know. I do like the roasting of the broccoli idea!


Heidi, Great recipe, I will try it tomorrow I'm always looking for new and different ways to save time

Frank M

Wow this sounds delicious and I can't wait to try! Glad you had a wonderful time in FLA! Thank you for the always YUMMY posts!!!


I make lots of different roasted veggies, but broccoli and cauliflower don't seem to work as well for me. Was the broccoli that you roasted for a few minutes super al dente?

Lentil Breakdown

Creativity out of the freezer! :)))) I love how that can sometimes surprise and delight!


I have made seitan before, and I used the recipe in the Veganomicon (which I think is the same as the one referenced in the link). It was really good. Cooking it in the broth gives it a lot of flavor. It wasn't really that hard, just takes time (the boiling). It's so easy to cook with, and doesn't break apart like tofu. This looks like a great recipe, I look forward to trying it.


Thanks for posting, Heidi. I personally LOOOOVE seitan (much more so than tempeh, which I really dislike) and tend to use seitan in most of the recipes where you use tempeh :-) Regardless, your recipes are always stellar!


I've never tried freezing beans, but it would be so convenient since I'm no longer a fan of canned ones (with a few exceptions). Do you heat them right out of the freezer? Any ones that you would avoid freezing?


This recipe looks great. I love doing new things with seitan, as it's one of my substitutes for meat in recipes. I also like trying out new heirloom beans. We grow several varieties over the summer in my garden and store them for the winter, and they provide a great change of pace from my normal black bean/garbanzo bean consumption.


Love this throw-it-all-together idea. I'd just eliminate the seitan (no gluten for me!), but I love this idea. And I'm jealous you got to visit a date farm. Gotta make a mental note to do that if/when I get to Florida.


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