Seitan nutrition data is hard to find for a good reason.
It’s because “seitan” isn’t one specific food, it covers anything made with vital wheat gluten as the main ingredient.
In this short post, I’ll go over the macros, protein content, and nutrients in both vital wheat gluten and my favorite seitan recipe.
Nutritional information for other seitan recipes will vary, but this is a pretty standard and simple one, and I think it gives us a good estimate.
Let’s start with the macros, note that the seitan recipe is linked in the header of the table if you care to take a look at it:
|Vital Wheat Gluten||Simple Seitan Recipe|
|% calories from protein||81.30%||49.67%|
The seitan recipe macros were calculated using My Fitness Pal’s recipe function. It doesn’t give the nutritional data per weight (i.e. per 100 g), so I picked a reasonable serving size instead that had a similar number of calories to 100 g of vital wheat gluten.
As you can see, vital wheat gluten is very high in protein, and also has a significant number of carbohydrates. With this recipe, seitan is just about a complete protein.
When you actually make seitan, you add in mostly fat and some carbs, which reduces the percent of calories that come from protein (although still high).
Nutrients in Seitan
Seitan is primarily eaten just for the protein content, it doesn’t have a ton of nutrients.
Again, it will depend on the recipe you use, but the vital wheat gluten itself has very little in terms of significant nutrients:
|Vital Wheat Gluten (per 100 calories)||Seitan (%DV per 100 calories)|
The iron and calcium are nice, but it’s not going to come close to 100% of your daily value for either vital wheat gluten or seitan.
One note I will make is that I don’t trust My Fitness Pal’s nutrition data for nutritional yeast (which is in the seitan recipe). It seems to be data for unfortified nutritional yeast.
Most nutritional yeast is heavily fortified with nutrients like B12, which will help a lot.
Nutrients Will Vary Based on Your Seitan Recipe
Depending on which ingredients are added to vital wheat gluten, your seitan can turn out to be a lot more nutritious than other seitan.
Some recipes call for chickpea flour, some don’t.
Some call for nutritional yeast, some don’t, and so on.
There are tons of seitan recipes out there, all with their own unique macros and nutritional profile. If you feel that you’re lacking in a certain nutrient, there’s almost certainly a way to adapt a seitan recipe to include more of it.
Summary of Seitan Nutrition
In terms of vitamins and minerals, seitan is nothing special, and pales in comparison to other plant sources of protein like legumes.
However, in terms of protein content, seitan is king. It is the best source of plant-based protein.
If you’d like to see it compared head-to-head with the other best sources in terms of protein and nutrition, see my comparison of tempeh vs seitan vs tofu.