Apple Cranberry Salad with Fried Seitan and Almond Dijon Dressing

Apple Cranberry Salad with Fried Seitan and Almond Dijon Dressing

I rarely post salads. As tasty as salads can be, I want to do my part in convincing the world at large that vegans don’t survive solely on lettuce. But this salad? Whoo boy. I love this salad.

My husband calls salads like these “tossed sandwiches” and I’m inclined to agree with him. Our favorite salads aren’t just lettuce; they usually included our favorite veggies, a tasty homemade dressing, tofu or seitan, and sometimes fruit and/or nuts. We don’t make wimpy “house salads” with a few leaves of lettuce and some sliced tomatoes. Our salads are entire meals that look like they’ve exploded in the bowl.

While I think this is a perfect salad, the fried seitan is really tasty and would go great as part of a non-salad meal (with mashed potatoes and gravy? Yes please!) or shoved in a sandwich. It’s crispy and delicious and meant to resemble country fried chicken.

I’ve given directions for making the seitan from scratch (it’s not hard!), but any pre-made seitan should work. The main benefit of making it from scratch is being in control of 100% the flavoring and texture, but feel free to sub store-bought seitan if you want. It’s FANTASTIC with homemade seitan, but I bet it would still be pretty good with commercial stuff too.

The dressing is almond-based, flavored with lemon, mustard, and spiced with Old Bay seasoning. The fried seitan also relies on Old Bay. It’s a wonderful commercial spice blend that you should seek out if you’ve never tried it. You can find it at any major grocery store, and it gives the perfect seasoning to the fried seitan. The ingredients are (copied from the bottle): Celery salt, Spices (Including mustard, Red Pepper, Black Pepper, Bay Leaves, Cloves, Allspice, Ginger, Mace, Cardamom, Cinnamon), and Paprika. It’s so good.

You can make the seitan ahead of time (up to a few days in advance) and then deep-fry it when you’re ready.

Apple Cranberry Salad with Fried Seitan and Almond Dijon Dressing

Apple Cranberry Salad with Fried Seitan and Almond Dijon Dressing
Makes two entree salads

1 Head Lettuce (Romain, Green, Butter, whatever)
1/2 Cup Dried Cranberries
1 Granny Smith Apple, thinly sliced
1 Recipe Creamy Almond Dijon Dressing (recipe below)
2 Fried Seitan Cutlets (recipe below)

Creamy Almond Dijon Dressing
Makes enough for two salads

1/2 Cup Sliced Almonds (blanched or raw)
1/2 Cup Water
2 Tbs Nutritional Yeast
1 1/2 tsp Tamari or Soy Sauce (low sodium)
1 Tbs Fresh Lemon Juice
2 Tsp Dijon or Stoneground Mustard
1/2 tsp Old Bay seasoning

Blend all the ingredients in a high-speed blender until smooth and no pieces of almonds remain. Refrigerate until needed.

Chicken-Style Seitan
Makes four cutlets

1 1/2 Cup Vital Wheat Gluten
2 Tbs Nutritional Yeast
1 tsp Old Bay Seasoning
3/4 Cup Cold Water
1 Tbs Tamari or Soy Sauce (low sodium)
3 Tbs Soymilk
1 Tbs Olive Oil

Braising Broth
2 Cups Water
1 Vegetable Bullion Cube

Mix the dry ingredients together. Combine the wet ingredients and stir well. Add wet to dry and knead until a dough is formed. Add more liquid if needed. The gluten will develop very quickly. Knead a few times on your counter, forming a ball. Cut the ball in quarters, forming four triangular wedges. Squish/Pound/Pull the wedges into 1/2″ thick cutlets. Take your time shaping, letting them rest if needed.

Once they’re the right thickness, put a large, high-walled skillet on medium heat, adding the water and bullion cube to make a braising bath. Once it starts simmering, add cutlets and turn down the heat and cover. It’s important that you DO NOT boil the cutlets. Check several times to make sure the broth is just barely simmering. Boiling isn’t a disaster, but it will change the texture of the cutlets, making them spongier and rubbery.

Simmer, covered for 20-30 minutes, flipping halfway through. You can now refrigerate the cutlets in their broth for later, or fry immediately. I think cutlets that have been refrigerated over night before frying have a better texture, but you can use them right away.

Fried Seitan
For four cutlets

4 Seitan Cutlets (recipe above)
32 Oz. High Heat Oil (for frying: canola, peanut, etc)

Seasoned Dry Mix
3 tsp Old Bay Seasoning
1/4 Cup Nutritional Yeast
1 1/2 Cup All Purpose flour
4 tsp Baking Powder

Wet Mix
1/3 Cup Seasoned Dry Mix
3 Tbs Mustard (dijon or stoneground)
1/4 Cup Water
1/4 Cup Soymilk (or more water)

Fried SeitanHeat the oil to 350ยบ F in a 10″ skillet, cast-iron is best. Mix together all the dry ingredients except the baking powder. In another bowl, mix the wet ingredients together. Add baking powder to the remining dry ingredients and mix well.

When oil is heated, dip a seitan cutlet in the wet mix coating well. The dredge the cutlet in the dry mix and gently slip it into the oil. Fry for 2-3 minutes on each side, until golden brown and crispy. Drain well on a paper towel and slice if desired.

Assemble the Salad

Toss lettuce with the salad dressing and plate. Add sliced apples and dried cranberries. Place 1 sliced fried seitan cutlet on top and drizzle with more dressing. Serve while the seitan is still warm.

Apple Cranberry Salad with Fried Seitan and Almond Dijon Dressing


  1. Jaime

    This sounds delicious! Is there a combination of spices that approximates Old Bay Seasoning, or is it something unique? I just bought a box of gluten, and am looking forward to some seitan-making. I’ve never made boiled seitan before, only baked, and trust your repices and would love to try this one!

  2. Joanna

    Oh my gosh, I haven’t seen Old Bay seasoning in years! I have really fond memories of going to Maryland with my parents and ordering a dozen blue crabs which were always smothered in the stuff. The crabs were dumped right onto the table (covered with a classy brown paper tablecloth) and in the process of eating them, your hands would get coated with a layer of Old Bay so thick that no amount of paper towels or handi-wipes could quite cut through it all. And you had to be reeeeally careful not to touch your eyes, but it was so worth it!

    Somehow it never occurred to me that Old Bay existed outside of my memories, or that it could be used on anything other than blue crabs. Now I think that almond vinaigrette is calling to me!

  3. Dana V.

    I just made a loaf of your easy-baked seitan (my hubby the vegetarian LOVES the stuff); do you think it would fry up well, or should I make a separate batch for frying? I guess I could give it a go!

    Thanks so much for your recipes… I am not a vegan, but between my husband, and my kids who are allergic to dairy & eggs, I do a lot of vegan cooking.

  4. Kimberlee B

    Perfect timing. I had some left over fried seitan tonight… I guess i know what i am going to make for lunch tomorrow. This looks so yummy, can’t wait to try it.

  5. Cassandra

    Don’t shoot me for this but this looks like the natural version of all those fast food “healthy” salads. :P I’ve never tried seitan, but I do love my salad… I might pick some up for this.
    And what’s the big deal over Old Bay? xD I’ve never heard of it.

  6. Jaime

    Hmm. I just made a half-batch of the cutlets, planning to pan-fry them, and they’re half way between chickeny seitan and matzah balls. Part of that is probably a minute of too-strong simmering that snuck in, and hopefully some pan-frying will help, but they’re sort of mushy and not very flavorful. I wonder if I botched reducing the recipe. But let this be a warning against simmering too strongly!

  7. Wheeler's Frozen Desserts

    Hi again!
    Just wanted to pass on this information …

    Boston Magazine recently published an article all about us this month – here is the link:

    Oh So Soy!

    If you have a few minutes to spare, could do us a huge favor and read the article and comment at the bottom of the page? We’re very excited about getting such great press, especially from a magazine of this caliber. If everyone drops by and leaves a quick comment, soon there will be no doubt in any publisher’s mind: YES, readers absolutely do want to know about vegan happenings and developments. Please don’t hesitate to repost the article on your blog and spread the world!

    Emily @ Wheeler’s Frozen Desserts

  8. VeganCowGirl

    Looks amazing.

    I never thought of trying to make seitan without the actual processed glutten protien. You just used the flour on its own? Interesting. I am going to give it a try the next time I make some seitan.


  9. Lolo

    VeganCowGirl – The recipe does call for vital wheat gluten. It would be a disaster with regular flour! I know it’s possible to make seitan with regular flour, but this recipe requires vital wheat gluten. Perhaps you were looking at the breading?

    Emily – I commented on your article. I can’t wait for Wheeler’s to open up in Boston!

  10. Serena

    I’ve just discovered your blog and it’s amazing, and the pictures are so pro! Just one question: what’s old bay? I’m from Italy so it’s unavailable for me. Maybe I can try mixing, what, spices? I’d love to try it out! Please…

  11. Emily

    Oh wow. I’m not usually much of a salad person, but this one looks amazing. I stumbled across your blog by accident this morning and keep coming back just to stare at that picture…Yum.

  12. Kendra

    Perhaps I missed it but did you forgot to put cherrys in the recipe for the dressing? It says its cherry almond dressing but the recipe doesnt call for any cherrys.

  13. Tamara

    Thank you so much for this recipe! I made the Fried Seitan along with potatoes and vegetables today for my family and everyone LOVED it! Thanks for always posting such unique recipes!

  14. chow vegan

    Looks awesome! The fried seitan would be great as a meal in itself. I’ve never made my own seitan before but you make it sound so easy – I’ll have to give it a go sometime. Thanks!

  15. Erin

    Just made this for dinner tonight and it was fantastic! It was my first time making my own seitan, and it was so easy, I don’t think I’ll be using store-bought again!

    I just pan-fried it in a bit of olive oil, and that gave me all the crunch that I needed …. and added some lemon zest to the dressing for some extra zing. SO good!

  16. Lisa

    I just made this, too! So delicious!

    I live in Maryland and I am a big fan of our almost official State Spice Blend, Old Bay. It makes everything good…Old Bay fries, Old Bay chips, Old Bay in “Not Tuna Salad” with TVP, Old Bay tofu scramble…and now, there’s this Old Bay soul food seitan. It was easy. And it ruled. The dressing was really, really good on my veggie wrap for lunch the next day.

    We’ll be eating the leftover cutlets with asparagus and whipped cauliflower tomorrow. Thanks for the righteous recipe.

  17. Jessica

    Thanks for this great recipe. I made it tonight and loved it. Didn’t have cranberries, but raisins worked well. I also had to make up a seasoning because my co-op didn’t have Old Bay. Delicious anyway! The dressing was fantastic – it’s great to see a unique dressing made without oil (well, I suppose the almonds give it some fat, but it’s not like whisking in 1/4 cup of olive oil), even if the seitan is fried. :) Overall, it was maybe a tad salty, but I don’t think that’s this recipe’s fault. I used a different recipe to make the seitan(from La Dolce Vegan) that’s too salty all by itself.

    Thanks again. I look forward to trying some of your other recipes. I stumbled upon a picture of this salad on Flickr and wish I would have known about your blog a long time ago.

  18. Andrea from Nigeria

    THANK YOU for turning me on to home made seitan! I made the recipe this afternoon and was blown away by how GOOD it was! Keep the awesome recipes rollin’!

  19. Elaine

    I too am an Old Bay lover. It’s harder to find now that I live on the West coast (and in Canada) but so worth it. The seitan cutlets turned out really well for me, and the leftover breading mixture makes really good hushpuppies!

    The dressing tasted good but my blender isn’t quite good enough I think… it stayed gritty so that was a bust. Maybe if I had time to soak the almonds or something.

  20. Sharyn

    Awesome!!! My boyfriend made this for us for dinner Friday night and it was amazing considering it’s a salad! The seitan was the best I’ve had and the dressing was just perfect. Thank you.

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  22. Courtney `

    What can I do to replace Old Bay Seasoning? I could not find it here in Chicagoland. I am going to try to make this without the seasoning but would love to know what I can use instead…..

    I listed the spices contained in Old Bay in the entry, so you could try to make you own “mix” if you want. I also think if you search for it online you find several home recipes for a similar seasoning. Good luck!

  23. Val

    This was lovely. I made it a couple weeks ago, and it was a hit. I actually didn’t like the parts of the salad when I tasted them individually, but put together it was really yummy.

    I used store bought seitan because I was afraid to try to make my own, and that worked fine. With store bought seitan and pre-washed salad mix, this recipe was actually pretty easy to make!

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  25. Lindsey

    Thank you so much for all the work you do on your blog! This recipe was amazing, I made just the seitan and served it with mashed potatoes and herbed gravy, and mixed steamed veggies. It was amazing and my hubby was so impressed. I think my patties were a little too thick and I’m pretty sure I let my water boil a little, but it was still amazing!


  26. Gluten lab

    I can’t stress enough the part about NEVER letting it boil. Its SO true that if it bubbles even for a second, it turns into a soggy spongy mess!

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  32. Julie

    This looks DELICIOUS!!!

    My only question is what do you do with the oil after frying the seitan? I do like fried foods from time to time but I never know what to do with the oil, any advice?


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