Vegan “Beef” Tartare with Seitan 

Vegan “beef” tartare is a delicious appetizer 

Photo: Tim O’Connor 


Vegan “beef” tartare with seitan 

By Tim O’Connor 


After the prior success of our vegan fried chicken (see last month’s column), I wondered, can this seitan be used to make something that tastes like beef? There began my quest to make a vegan tartare. 

I find that people are scared by the thought of chopping up raw beef at home to make tartare. What meat to use? How to cut it? How much fat do you include? A vegan tartare can get all the best of having a tartare at home with none of the worry. 

I set out to alter the vegan chicken recipe to make it more beefy, and the first thing I did was to replace the tahini with luxurious hoisin sauce. Hoisin gives the mixture that meaty, beefy taste. 

Next, I reduced the baking powder because I didn’t want this to be as airy as was the vegan chicken seitan.  

The last change was that instead of poaching it like we did last month to add a bit more liquid and sponginess for the vegan chicken, I baked this seitan so it would have less liquid and be a little more dense, like beef. I baked it in a cake pan and got this wonderful product that sort of looks like a loaf of bread, but when you slice and chop it, it tastes like beef. 

I chopped the loaf into small cubes and mixed it with the classic French tartare ingredients, including shallots, pickles, capers, Dijon, parsley and garlic. You can then serve it up with bread, chips or whatever you prefer to complement tartare. The result is a wonderful beefy tartare that makes a delicious appetizer for your guests on BBQ night. It’s outstanding and so simple. It’s even easier to make than is the vegan fried chicken. 

I’ve not yet made other vegan beef dishes with the seitan loaf, but you could just slice it and douse it with BBQ or other dark sauce and enjoy it as sliced vegan beef, perhaps even on a sandwich. Top with sauteed peppers and onions and cheese (vegan or real) on a bun and you have a vegan or vegetarian Philly cheesesteak. You can also cube it and add it to a stir fry. 

I wouldn’t advise it for a vegan burger just yet, as it must be ground and have a binding agent added, and I haven’t gone there yet. That’s an idea for our next column, the third in a “turning seitan into vegan meat” series. So, next month, it’s vegan burgers and meatloaf.  


Vegan “beef” tartare 


1 cup vital wheat gluten 

2 tbsp nutritional yeast 

1 tsp salt 

3/4 cup water 

1/2 tbsp baking powder 

2 tbsp hoisin sauce 


Mix all ingredients, form into a loaf and put in a cake pan on parchment paper or an oiled surface. Bake at 375F for 25 to 30 minutes. 

To make tartare, cut the loaf into tiny cubes, and mix with: 

1 tbsp chopped shallot 

1 tbsp chopped capers  

1 tbsp chopped parsley 

1 tbsp chopped pickles 

1 tbsp olive oil 

1/2 tbsp Dijon 

1/4 tsp ground black pepper 

juice of one lemon (and zest, to be extra fancy) 


The rule of thumb is 2 parts chopped seitan to 1 part tartare mix; adjust accordingly. 


Tim O’Connor was raised in the Glebe and is head chef at Flora Hall Brewing. 

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