A simple, easy, rustic and hearty Vegan Roast that's sliceable, ultra-tender and full of flavor. Just perfect for serving with copious amounts of gravy, roast potatoes and all the trimmings. Leftovers are great in sandwiches too!
Introducing my new vegan comfort food love. Vegan Roast.
And yes, to answer your question, I have become a homemade seitan lover and I attribute my newfound love to how easy this roast is to make, and how absolutely delicious it is when served up in epic proportions with all the trimmings in a roast dinner type situation!
In this post:
Tis the season of gathering around the table and feasting on delicious food, and I am always in need of simple, manageable, festive recipes that still feel a bit special. And this vegan roast recipe is all of that.
Like my vegan chicken breasts and vegan ham, it is super easy to make and you can prep it and shape it up to 3 days ahead, leave it in the fridge, then cook it on the day, or even in advance. Don't you just love recipes that take the pressure off like that?
It's also way cheaper to make than pre-made vegan roasts and is a great alternative to Thanksgiving turkey or Tofurky. If beef is more your thing though check out my amazing vegan beef recipe!
What Is Seitan?
Seitan (pronounced say-tan) is a vegan meat substitute that is made with vital wheat gluten. It's popular because of its very meaty texture and extremely high protein content. Most of the ready-made vegan meat substitutes that you can buy at the grocery store are seitan based.
When you make seitan you make a dough and then knead it to develop the gluten structure, in a similar way to making bread. That's how it gets it's unique "meaty" texture. In most seitan recipes, the more the dough is kneaded, the chewier the finished product will be. This one is a little different because of the ratio of other ingredients to the vital wheat gluten. It will stay tender and not chewy even if you accidentally knead it for too long. It's a pretty foolproof seitan recipe.
Once kneaded, seitan dough can be cooked by either steaming, baking or simmering in water. Each method creates a very different result. For this recipe baking is what I recommend and you do not need to steam it first.
Please note that because seitan is a wheat based product, people with gluten sensitivities or who are celiac should avoid eating it. You can enjoy my gluten-free seitan roast though!
(For detailed measurements and instructions, see the printable recipe card).
So, let's get down to business. Here’s the run down on what’s going on in this vegan seitan roast and why:
- Vital wheat gluten - Vital wheat gluten is what gives this vegan roast its meaty texture and is an absolutely essential ingredient in this recipe. It absolutely cannot be made without it.
- White beans - Any canned white beans will work. They add moisture to the recipe and keep the roast tender.
- Artichoke hearts - These should ideally be the ones packed in oil for the very best flavor, but the canned ones in water will work too. I haven't tried it but I think you could probably get away with using uncooked mushrooms and a tablespoon of oil instead if you wanted to.
- Nutritional yeast - For depth of flavor. I promise your roast will not taste cheesy!
- Sage, rosemary, thyme, garlic, pepper - All the flavor givers to cover up that unique vital wheat gluten taste.
- Tamari or soy sauce - For "meaty" flavor
- Stock - again for flavor and moisture. For this recipe I love to use 2 tablespoons of Better Than Bouillon No Chicken Base mixed with the water. It has a chicken-y type flavor that works so well in a roast like this. If you can't get that though any good tasting stock will do.
Success Tip - For the best results when making seitan, weigh the vital wheat gluten on a digital kitchen scale. Cup measurements are not accurate enough when measuring flour-like substances and if you use too much it will greatly affect the texture of the finished roast. If you must use cups spoon the VWG into the cups without compacting or shaking down, then level with a knife. Do not scoop it up or you will end up using way too much.
How To Make A Vegan Roast
And what we are doing here is simple. No cutting board is necessary because there is absolutely no chopping of anything to do!
- Add all of the ingredients except the vital wheat gluten to a food processor.
- Blend them up.
- Add the vital wheat gluten and pulse until a rough dough is formed.
- Tip out and knead until it looks fibrous. This is how it should look:
- Shape into a log, and roll up like a Christmas cracker in foil.
- Let it rest then unwrap and serve or store for later.
You just made your own vegan roast, you little genius you!
Success Tip - Don't skip the kneading. I've heard that some seitan recipes come out tough as old boots if you knead them too much and I don't want you to be scared of that. I promise that as long as you follow my recipe exactly, this one won't. Even if you get carried away and knead it way more than called for it will still be beautifully tender.
Slice up that tender roast and serve it with:
Be sure to slice up any leftovers because it also makes great lunch meat/cold cuts for sandwiches and salads etc!
How To Store & Reheat
Leftovers will keep in the fridge for up to a week. Keep them wrapped well to stop them drying out. You can also freeze it for up to 3 months. Let it defrost in the refrigerator overnight before using.
It's great cold or at room temperature, but to reheat, wrap in foil tightly and pop in the oven on about 350°F for 10 to 15 minutes. Or microwave individual slices for around 30 seconds.
Vital wheat gluten is made from wheat flour which is hydrated to activate the gluten, the main protein in wheat. Then everything but the gluten is removed. The gluten is then dried and ground back into a powder. It's the main ingredient in seitan recipes like this one, but is also great when used as a binder in vegan meatloaf and burgers. I use it in the "meatball" recipe in my cookbook Vegan Comfort Cooking. It's also a useful ingredient in bread recipes. Just a tablespoon or two in a loaf can improve the texture and elasticity of dough, which in turn helps improve the rise, crumb and the crust. It's especially useful when making bread with lower protein flours such as wholewheat and rye. Vital wheat gluten pretty cheap to buy although not all grocery stores carry it. I buy mine from Amazon. This is the one I used to make my seitan. It's incredibly good value for a great big bag and it's non GMO. Pour it into an airtight container and leftovers will keep for ages and ages.
This recipe does need to be wrapped in foil to cook properly If you try without it it will dry out. If you prefer the foil not to come into contact with your food, wrap the roast in baking parchment paper (not wax paper) first, and then cover that tightly in the foil.
If you try this recipe, let me know how you like it by leaving a comment and rating below! And be sure to join my mailing list for more deliciousness!
- 1½ cups (270 grams) canned white beans , drained & rinsed (such as white kidney, lima, great northern, or cannellini)
- 1 cup (200 grams) artichoke hearts , ideally packed in oil but in water is fine too. Squeeze gently to remove excess liquid before measuring.
- 4 cloves garlic
- ¼ cup (28 grams) nutritional yeast
- 2 tablespoons (30 ml) soy sauce or tamari
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- ¾ teaspoon rubbed sage , or ½ the amount of ground sage
- ¾ teaspoon fresh or dried rosemary
- ¾ teaspoon dried thyme
- 2 tablespoons Better Than Bouillon No Chicken Base , or ½ cup of strong tasting veg/mushroom stock instead of the Better Than Bouillon & water.
- ½ cup (120 mls) water
- 2 cups (256 grams vital wheat gluten
- Preheat oven to 400°F (200 °C).
- To a food processor add the beans, artichoke hearts, garlic, nutritional yeast, soy sauce, black pepper, sage, rosemary, thyme, Better Than Bouillon No Chicken Base, and water. Process until well combined and smoothish.
- Add the vital wheat gluten to the food processor and pulse until a rough dough is starting to form then tip out onto a clean surface. Bring it together with your hands and knead for 7 minutes. By the time you have finished kneading the dough should look fibrous. See my picture in the post above as a guide. If it isn't, knead for a few minutes more.
- Shape the dough into a log shape roughly 8½ inches long and 4 inches wide.
- Get a long piece of foil (around 20 inches long) and place the roast right at the end of it, long side of the roast along the shortest side of the foil. Roll it up in the foil. Keep rolling it until you reach the end, so that the roast is surrounded by a few layers of foil. Then twist each end tightly shut so it looks like a Christmas cracker.
- Place the foil wrapped roast onto a baking tray and place on the middle shelf of the oven and bake for 35 minutes. Turn it over and bake for another 35 minutes. Remove from the oven. Leave it to rest in the foil for at least 30 minutes before opening and slicing. It will stay warm for a few hours if you don't unwrap it.