This vegan turkey roast is the perfect Thanksgiving dinner centerpiece and the only recipe you need. It gets its tender meaty texture from a combination of silken tofu and wheat gluten and finished with a golden crispy rice paper skin. A good for you plant based alternative from scratch, the flavor is light but savory with umami undertones, just like you would expect from the best holiday roast.
This delicious vegan roast aka vegan turkey / seitan is a riff on our fan favorite vegan chicken cutlets and holiday roast. The texture is meaty, tender and juicy made from wheat gluten and tofu with the rice paper skin perfectly roasted until crispy. I used the food processor to mix up the dough but this step can also be done by hand. At this point the roast is steamed, wrapped in rice paper and roasted until crispy. A really easy “vegan meat” recipe for Thanksgiving and Christmas anyone can master.
- Silken Tofu – I used MORI-NU organic silken tofu, I find its texture to be outstanding + it is also shelf stable so it’s a great item to stock in the pantry since it doesn’t require refrigeration. All things considered, any silken tofu and even soft or medium will work here. If you must use a firm tofu make sure to compensate for the texture by adding a little extra liquid to the dough, a couple of tablespoon of water or so, just enough so the dough isn’t dry.
- Vital Wheat Gluten – This is the glue of the roast, this is what binds it all together and lends it the meaty texture. Unfortunately there is no substitute for this and can’t be omitted from the recipe.
- Garlic + Herbs – Rosemary, sage, thyme and bay leaves are all classic holiday herbs, you can use some of each or pick your favorites. I like to add them on the bottom of the roasting dish with smashed garlic cloves and a couple of citrus slices then place the roast on top. During the roasting process the herbs and the garlic start releasing their aroma and permeating the roast from below without overpowering the flavor profile. Remember to remove them before slicing and serving the roast.
- Miso Paste – I love adding umami flavor to my roast with a little white miso paste. You can use a chickpea miso to make it soy-free or any mild white miso available. Remember to dissolve it in a little warm water before adding it into the mix.
- Nutritional Yeast, Onion + Garlic Powder & Salt – This is your basic flavoring and it all goes in together with the miso, remember you don’t want to add too many different flavorings here as the fresh herbs and garlic will add a lot of flavor during roasting + we are also seasoning the rice paper skin. Feel free to add some “poultry seasoning” here if you insist but it isn’t needed. Less is more in this case.
- Make it Smoky – For a rich smoky flavor just add a couple of teaspoons of liquid smoke to the seitan dough and use a dash of smoked paprika on the crispy rice paper “skin”.
Recipe Tips + FAQ
- What is Seitan? – Also known as “wheat meat”, mock meat and vegan meat, seitan is technically a sort of bread with the texture and consistency of meat. The vital wheat gluten is the protein separated from the wheat and it’s what gives the loaf its chewy meaty characteristics. Really good stuff!
- Steaming the Roast – Use your largest steamer basket for this, or just make sure to shape your roast so that it fits what you have. Lightly oil your steamer basket to prevent sticking (I do not recommend using aluminum foil but you could if you wanted to). Allow room for the loaf to puff up a bit during steaming, this is normal because of the tofu. (I suspect you could also steam it in the Instant Pot, I’m still a dutch oven kind of girl).
- Texture – In order to achieve a most tender texture it’s important to avoid over-mixing the seitan. You don’t want it to become chewy as you would for a vegan steak for example, so as soon as your dough comes together it’s ready, no kneading required.
- Make Ahead – Yes the roast can be prepped ahead all the way to the roasting point. Once steamed allow it to cool off, then wrap it in plastic wrap or place in an airtight container and refrigerate. Wait to wrap it in the rice paper until you are ready to roast it.
- Leftovers + Storage – Cold leftovers make perfect vegan turkey slices to use in a cranberry club sandwich, salads, casseroles, pot pie and even pizza. Leftovers can be frozen in lidded freezer proof containers / bags, or wrapped in parchment paper and refrigerated for up to a week. Enjoy cold or reheat in the microwave.
- Serving suggestions: vegan gravy, chimichurri sauce, piccata sauce, cranberry sauce, this tomato cucumber salad.
Vegan Thanksgiving Recipes
- Vegan Sausage Gravy
- Roasted Butternut Squash Soup
- Best Vegan Mac and Cheese
- Best Scalloped Potatoes
- Rosemary Roasted Potatoes
- Thanksgiving Wild Rice
- Vegan Green Bean Casserole
- Balsamic Cranberry Sauce
- Vegan Pumpkin Cake
- Crispy Roasted Broccoli.
- Amazing Air Fryer Tofu Steaks.
Vegan Turkey Roast
Make the Seitan Roast
- To the bowl of a food processor add the wheat gluten, nutritional yeast, onion powder, garlic powder and salt. Press the pulse button a couple of times and process until combined. Add the silken tofu. Mix the miso paste with the warm water until dissolved and add it to the bowl. Mix until the dough comes together but take care not to overwork it.2 x 20 oz silken tofu, 2 + 2/3 cup vital wheat gluten, 2.5 Tbsp nutritional yeast, 1.5 Tbsp onion powder, 2 tsp garlic powder, 2 tsp sea salt, 1 Tbsp white miso paste
- With lightly oil hands remove the dough from the processor and shape it into a loaf by folding it over on itself just like you would bread. Make a round or oblong shape that will fit your steamer basket with plenty of room around it. (The loaf is going to puff up during steaming due to the tofu so it’s important to allow space for that).
Steam the Roast
- Bring a couple of inches of water to a simmer in the steamer pot (or use a pan/pot that perfectly fits your steamer basket). Place the steamer basket over the simmering water and lightly brush or spray with oil to prevent sticking.
- Place the seitan roast in the steamer basket and cover with a lid. Steam on medium low heat for 25 minutes. Once done transfer the roast to a lightly oiled plate to prevent sticking.
Wrap the Roast in Rice Paper Skin
- Have a large wet plate ready on the counter. Prepare a shallow bowl with warm water. I use the same water from the steamer pot since it’s already hot. Submerge a sheet of rice paper for 7 seconds. Transfer it to the wet plate. Repeat with the second sheet of rice paper and place it on the plate overlapping the first one.3 pieces rice paper
- Place the seitan roast on top of the rice paper and start folding the paper upwards much like wrapping a present. Submerge the third sheet of rice paper in the water for 7 seconds and then place it on top of the roast folding the edges downwards to create a seal.
- Preheat your oven to 400”F. Lightly oil the bottom of a roasting dish or rimmed baking sheet. Place the herbs, garlic cloves and some citrus slices in the middle. Place the “vegan turkey” roast on top making sure it covers all the aromatics.6 garlic cloves, 3 bay leaves, 2 sprigs rosemary or sage
- Lightly brush the rice paper skin with olive oil all over. Sprinkle with a good pinch of sea salt, paprika and chili flakes. Use your hand and rub it all over the roast to create an even coverage, make suer to get the sides too.1 pinch red chili flakes, 1 pinch sea salt, 1 pinch sweet paprika
- Roast in the preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes until golden crispy.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool for a few minutes then transfer to a serving dish. (Discard the garlic and herbs that might be sticking underneath). Serve with mashed potatoes, gravy and stuffing or cold in sandwiches and salads.
- Steaming the Roast - Use your largest steamer basket for this, or just make sure to shape your roast so that it fits what you have. Lightly oil your steamer basket to prevent sticking, I do not recommend using aluminum foil but you could if you wanted to. Allow room for the loaf to puff up a bit during steaming, this is normal because of the tofu. I suspect you could also steam it in the Instant Pot as well, I'm still a dutch oven kind of girl.
- Leftovers - The cold leftovers make perfect vegan turkey slices to use in a cranberry club sandwich, salads, casseroles, pot pie and even pizza.
- Make Ahead - If you wanted to you could prep ahead your roast all the way to the roasting point. Once steamed allow it to cool off, then wrap it in plastic wrap or place in an airtight container and refrigerate. Wait to wrap it in the rice paper until you are ready to roast it.
- Storage - Any leftovers can be sliced up and frozen in lidded freezer proof containers / bags, or wrapped in some parchment paper and refrigerated for up to a week. Thaw out in the refrigerator and reheat in the microwave or oven.