Frech Dip with Porcini au Jus

French Dip with Porcini au Jus

I’ll say this upfront, this recipe is not for the faint of heart. To achieve a vegan version of the classic sandwich, the French Dip, a little patience and preparation is key. I recommend preparing the seitan over 2 days. On the first day, make the dough and let it rest, and on the second, boil it. The Homemade Seitan can be substituted with store bought seitan, but if you have the time, I really encourage you to make it from starch. The difference in the taste and texture of homemade is phenomenal, and you won’t want to eat packaged seitan again. The recipe makes a lot, which is nice, as you can freeze half of it, so that your next meal isn’t as labor intensive.

I’m not sure exactly what spurred me to want to create a “veganized” French Dip, but what I do know is that all of these recipes were heavily influenced by my culinary school, The Natural Gourmet. I remember making seitan for the first time in class, watching the giant ball of dough being run under water, leaving the gluten strands behind. Learning from a class (and certain classmate) the patience it takes to create the perfect caramelized onions, and falling in love with them from that moment on. All of these recipes I learned at school, and have tweaked them to suit my tastes. This French Dip is worth the work, so be adventurous and create a sandwich that will give it’s meat filled counterpart a run for its money.



French Dip
Serves 4

4 french rolls, hoagie rolls, etc
1 pound Homemade Seitan {recipe to follow}
1 tablespoon safflower oil
vegan Worcestershire sauce {Ripe Tip: I use The Wizard’s Organic}
fresh ground black pepper
1/2 cup Horseradish Aioli {recipe to follow
1 cup Caramelized Onions {recipe to follow}
2 cups Porcini au Jus {recipe to follow}

  1. Split rolls and lightly toast. {Ripe Tip: This is how I prefer my sandwich. Additionally, after toasting, you can fully dip each side of the roll in the Porcini au Jus.}
  2. Meanwhile, thinly slice the seitan, about 1/4 inch thick. In a medium sized sauce plan, heat oil, and begin searing sliced seitan. Season with ground black pepper and a few splashes of Worcestershire sauce. Cook seitan on each side about 2 -3 minutes, until lightly golden.
  3. To assemble sandwich, spread about 1 tablespoon of Horseradish Aioli on each side of roll, divide seitan evenly among each roll (about 4 ounces per sandwich), and top with Caramelized Onions. Served with 1/2 cup warm Porcini au Jus on the side for dunking.

Homemade Seitan
Makes approximately 5 pounds

5 cups whole wheat flour
5 cups bread flour
1 cup vital wheat gluten
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
5 cups water

4 cups vegetable broth
6 cups water
2 inch piece kombu
1 inch piece ginger, peeled
1/2 cup tamari
2 tablespoon Vegan Worcestershire Sauce {Ripe Tip: I use The Wizard’s Organic}
5 -6 cloves garlic, smashed
1 teaspoon mixed peppercorns
3 bay leaves
1 cube no-beef bouillon cube, dissolved in water

  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine whole wheat flour, bread flour, vital wheat gluten and salt. Add water, about 1 cup at a time, until a knead-able dough forms. {Ripe Tip: If you over do it with the water,  making the dough too sticky to knead, you can add more flour to “dry” it out.}
  2. Knead dough for 10 – 15 minutes until dough is very stiff (and your arms hurt). {Ripe Tip: The kneading in this step is very important as this is what helps forms the protein structure (gluten), which will be seitan at the end of this process, so don’t cut the kneading short.}
  3. Cover dough with enough cold water to submerged for at least 1 hour. {Ripe Tip: Overnight or 8 hours is best, as letting the dough will continue to develop the gluten.}
  4. Once dough has rested, transfer to a colander in the sink, and rinse under running water, for several minutes. In this step you are rinsing off the starch and bran components of the flour and leaving behind the gluten. {Ripe Tip: I find it easier to work the dough is smaller chunks (batches) to ensure thorough rinsing.} Once the water is running almost clear, and the dough looks like a giant soggy spider’s web {Ripe Tip: See picture}, set aside.
  5. In a large stock pot, combine remaining ingredients (only 1/4 cup of tamari at this time) and bring to a boil.
  6. To cook seitan, either place in stock-water mixture, divided into fourths formed into large ball or divide in half, rolling each half into a log wrapped in cheesecloth with ends tied. The first method will create uneven shaped seitan, whereas the second method will create uniform logs {Ripe Tip: This is an aesthetic decision, and depending on what you plan to do with your seitan it may make more sense to choose one versus the other.}
  7. Cook seitan for 2 hours. At 1 1/2 hours of cooking I recommend tasting your seitan. The inside should be firm, with the outside a little slimy still. Add the additional 1/4 cup of tamari per your preference at this time.
  8. Once the seitan is firm and cooked through, let cool in the stock as this will continue to firm seitan and develop a better texture and flavor.
  9. Store seitan in broth in the refrigerator for  1 week or wrapped in plastic wrap in the freezer for 3 months.
When making seitan, it starts out looking like bread dough
The seitan after its been washed looks like a giant soggy spider’s web 

Horseradish Aioli
Makes about 1 1/2 cup

12 ounces silken tofu
3 tablespoons horseradish, peeled and grated (or more to taste)
3 tablespoons white miso
3 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic
2 tablespoons lemon juice + 1 teaspoon lemon zest
2 tablespoons tahini
1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon umeboshi paste
1/2 teaspoon yellow mustard
fresh ground black pepper

  1. In a blender, combine all ingredients until well incorporated. Chill in refrigerator until a mixture firms up to a spreadable, thick consistency about 30 minutes.


Caramelized Onions
Makes about 1 cup

1 tablespoon grapeseed oil
2 medium sized yellow onions, sliced 1/4 inch thick with the grain
1/2 teaspoon salt
generous amounts of water {Ripe Tip: I don’t have an exact measure for this because it changes depending on the amount of onion you have, how long you caramelized them, etc. About 8 cups should be sufficient}

  1. In a large sauce pan, heat oil and add sliced onion. Stir to coat onions with oil and season with salt. Cover and let steam for 2- 3 minutes.
  2. Continue to cook onions until let begin to just brown the bottom of the pan, creating “fond”. Deglazed pan with water, just enough to remove brown bits of “fond” at the bottom of the pan.
  3. Continue this process, 30 -45 minutes, of sauting the onions, creating fond, and de-glazing until a rich, sweet caramelizing flavor develops. Onions should be a deep golden brown.

Porcini “au Jus”
Makes approximately 2 cups

1 ounce dried porcini mushrooms
1 tablespoon safflower oil
1/2 pound cremini mushrooms, sliced
1/2 cup onion, roughly chopped
6 cups water
2 ounces carrot, roughly chopped
1 rib celery, roughly chopped
3 cloves garlic, smashed
3 bay leaves
1 teaspoon mixed peppercorns
4 sprigs parsley
2 sprigs thyme
salt, to taste

  1. In a small bowl, cover dried porcini mushroom with water for 20 – 30 minutes until reconstituted and pliable.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large stockpot, heat oil, and add onions and cremini mushrooms. Sauté until mushrooms are golden brown around the edges, and onions translucent. {Ripe Tip: Mushrooms will make a squeaky sound when done.}
  3. Add revitalized porcinis with their soaking liquid, along with the remaining ingredients to the cremini and onions. Bring to a boil, and reduce to a simmer for 30 minutes. Strain in a colander (reserving liquid) and remove porcinis.
  4. Return stock back to pot with porcinis and reduce to about 2 cups. Once reduced, season with salt to taste.


  1. I’m not criticizing you. I’m just curious to know why we added ten cups of flour and at the end it all away? If more gluten was desired, why not just add more vital what gluten?

  2. Hi Lisa, Good question. Using flour and kneading it to develop the gluten is an ‘authentic’ way to make seitan. When you wash the dough ball, you are rinsing away the bran and other components of the flour which are not the protein (gluten) itself. Alternatively, now you can purchase vital wheat gluten which has been processed from the flour. I add a bit of the vital wheat gluten to help ‘sweeten the pot’ so to speak. If you prefer to use all vital wheat gluten (a shortcut and simpler method, for sure), you wouldn’t need to rinse the dough created as all the dough itself would be gluten … Check out the recipe for the Seitan Roast as that recipe uses purely a mixture of the vital wheat gluten and pinto beans to create a ‘seitan’ substance. You don’t have to fill or stuff it as that particular recipe does – but that’s always a fun option too. Hope that helped explained the process better! Thanks for checking out our site and recipes.

  3. Hi,

    I am just wondering is 35-40 minutes a typo in “caramelized onion” section.


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