Seitan or Wheat gluten is simply a food made from gluten, the main protein in wheat. It is made by washing wheat flour dough with water until all the starch dissolves, leaving insoluble gluten as an elastic mass which is then cooked before being eaten.
It is an alternative to soybean-based meat substitutes such as tofu and tempeh. Interestingly, seitan is believed to have been developed by Mahayana Buddhist monks in ancient China, who were strict vegetarians. Legend also attributes the invention of gluten to the kitchens of Chinese emperors, who developed it for the royal family to enjoy during a week of vegetarianism each year. Commercially available Seitan is brown in color and chewy in texture. It easily absorbs whatever flavors and seasonings are added to it, much like tofu. It is nearly fat free, and has 0 saturated fats and cholesterol. Because the starches have been washed away, seitan is low in carbs and high in protein.