Vegan Turkey

Vegan Turkey

This easy vegan turkey recipe will blow you away! Made from seitan, it’s meaty, juicy, and roasted to perfection, yet it’s 100% vegan. Your holiday guests won’t believe their taste buds when they bite into this authentic-tasting tofurkey!

A vegan tofurkey on a cutting board being cut into slices with parsley on the sides.

❔ What are seitan and vital wheat gluten?
It has a chewy meat texture and can be flavored and mixed with other ingredients to replicate nearly any type of meat. Sometimes people also call it “wheat meat.” Vital wheat gluten is a super fine powder made from wheat flour. It is the protein from wheat that has been isolated without the starch. It is very sticky and almost like glue when it gets wet.

❤️ You’ll love this recipe because it’s
easy to make.
full of a satisfying meaty flavor and texture.
perfect for your vegan Thanksgiving feast!
great for turkey sandwiches – the best vegan deli meat that you will ever eat!

🧾 Ingredients and substitutions
Vital Wheat Gluten – to give the turkey the meaty texture. This ingredient can not be substituted. Unfortunately, it can’t be made gluten-free. If you want a gluten-free mock turkey, make my vegan tofu turkey roast.
Chickpeas aka Garbanzo Beans – to add protein and dilute the gluten so it’s not too chewy. You can also use white beans, pinto beans, or a 14 oz block of tofu instead.
Broth – to flavor the vegan turkey. I like to use a chicken-style vegan broth like Not Chick’n or you can use any vegetable broth that you wish.
Neutral Flavored Oil – to make the meat moist. (optional) I like refined coconut oil because it is most similar to the fat that you find in meat and will give it the most authentic texture. Feel free to leave it out, I just find the “meat” to be dryer tasting without it. However, I do highly recommend using some oil in the basting liquid.
Poultry Seasoning – for flavor. You can use ground sage instead.
Soy Sauce – or Bragg’s Liquid Aminos for flavor.
Nutritional Yeast – for flavor. (optional) There is nothing that replaces the umami flavor of it, but if you don’t have it, you can leave it out.
Garlic Powder – for flavor.
Onion Powder – for flavor.
Oregano – for flavor in the basting liquid.
Fresh Ground Pepper – for flavor in the basting liquid.
🔪 Helpful tools
Food Processor or Blender – to blend the beans and broth. If you don’t have one, you can simply mash the beans with a potato masher.
Glass Mixing Bowl – gluten is very sticky and will stick to plastic.
Silicone Spatula – to stir the gluten mixture. Don’t use a wooden spoon, it will stick and be very hard to clean.
Steamer Basket – is helpful to steam the tofurkey, (If you don’t have a steamer, you can place jelly jar rings at the bottom of a pot and fill with enough water to reach just under the rings. This will hold the turkey out of the water. You will need to keep an eye on the water level and refill it a few times while it’s steaming.)

A vegan turkey loaf on a cutting board cut into slices.
🥄 Instructions
Add chickpeas, broth, poultry seasoning, soy sauce, nutritional yeast, garlic powder, and onion powder to a food processor or blender.
Blend for about 30 seconds until you have a thick liquid. (It’s okay if there are still a few chunks of the beans in it.)
A collage of two pictures showing the chickpeas, broth and spices in a food processor before and after blending.

Pour the liquid into a glass bowl (gluten will stick to plastic) and sprinkle 3/4 cup of gluten flour over it and fold it in with a silicone spatula.
Sprinkle the remaining gluten flour over it and continue to fold it in. Once it gets firm, use your hands to knead the dough for about 30 seconds until all of the gluten is incorporated.
Form the dough into one large loaf and wrap it tightly and completely in foil.
Place the wrapped “turkey” in a large steamer basket, cover, and steam for 1 hour.
A collage of 4 pictures showing the vegan turkey broth, adding the vital wheat gluten, and kneading it into a dough, then wrapping it in foil to steam.

Note: You can serve the meatless turkey at this point. It’s great for slicing thin on vegan turkey sandwiches, hot open-faced turkey sandwiches, or chop it up for stirfries or toss it into tofurkey a la king. (If I am going to just cut it up for one of these things, I skip the baking step to make it easier.) If you want a beautiful presentation and extra flavor roast it at this point.

BAKE THE VEGAN TURKEY
Place the steamed “turkey” in a small baking dish. (An 8 x 8-inch baking dish works well.)
Mix broth, oil, soy sauce, oregano, and black pepper and pour over the turkey.
Bake at 375° F for 25 minutes. (Take out of the oven 2-3 times during baking and quickly spoon the basting liquid over the tofurkey and place back in the oven.)
Slice with a serrated knife.
A roasted vegan turkey that has been based with spices in a red baking pan.

🍗 White “meat” vs. dark “meat”
I tested this homemade tofurkey many times with different flavorings and protein sources to see which one tasted most like turkey. The version above made with chickpeas is most similar to the white meat of the turkey. However, when I used tofu, it was softer and moist, similar to the dark meat turkey.

To make dark meat turkey, replace the chickpeas with a 14 oz block of firm tofu that has been drained and press to get out all the excess liquid. Increase the soy sauce by 1 tsp and then follow the rest of the ingredients and instructions the same.

To make drier white meat: omit the oil and use chickpeas in the mixture. This will give you the same great flavor with a dryer texture.

A seitan turkey on a cutting board cut into thin slices.

✨ Make it into a holiday loaf!
If you want your vegan turkey to resemble the Tofurkey or Gardien brand holiday loaves that have stuffing inside, simply press the seitan dough into a flat circle. Put a cup of vegan stovetop stuffing or cauliflower stuffing in the center and then fold up the edges and press the seitan together to seal the stuffing inside. Wrap in foil and steam and bake as instructed above.

⏱️ Can I make it ahead of time?
Yes! The great thing about this recipe is that you can make it up to 3 days ahead of time and keep it in the fridge until you are ready to bake it. Mix up the dough and steam it then just keep it in the foil wrapping in the fridge until you are ready to baste bake it. (Add about 10 more minutes to the bake time if baking it cold from the fridge.)

A sliced tofu and seitan turkey on a cutting board.

🥡 Storage and freezing
Once you steam the meatless turkey, it has been cooked enough to slice and eat on sandwiches. you can keep it in the fridge in a sealed container or wrapped in foil for 3-5 days.

If you want to freeze your “turkey,” simply wrap it tightly in foil and place it inside a large freezer bag getting out all of the excess air possible. You can keep it frozen for up to 3 months. To thaw it, let it thaw in the fridge overnight.

🔥 Reheating
To reheat your veggie turkey, simply place it in a baking dish, cover it with the basting liquid and bake for 25 minutes. You can also reheat individual slices in the microwave in about 1 minute on high.

Vegan Turkey

A vegan turkey made with vital wheat gluten and chickpeas or tofu.
Ingredients
1 1/2 cups chickpeas (or white beans or 14 oz. pressed firm tofu)

1 cup vegan broth (chicken-style vegan broth tastes best)
2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
3 tablespoons refined coconut oil melted (or any other neutral-flavored oil)
2 teaspoons poultry seasoning
2 teaspoons soy sauce Bragg’s Liquid Aminos
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1 1/3 cup vital wheat gluten
Basting Liquid
1/2 cup broth
2 tablespoons light olive oil or other neutral-flavored oil
1 teaspoon soy sauce or Bragg’s Liquid Aminos
1 teaspoon oregano
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
Instructions
Add 1 1/2 cups chickpeas, 1 cup broth, 2 tbsp nutritional yeast, 2 tbsp melted coconut oil, 2 tsp poultry seasoning, 2 tsp soy sauce, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp garlic powder, and 1/4 tsp onion powder to a food processor or blender.

Blend for about 30 seconds until you have a thick liquid. (It’s okay if there are still a few chunks of the beans in it.)
Pour the liquid into a glass bowl (gluten will stick to plastic) and sprinkle 3/4 cup of gluten flour over it and fold it in with a silicone spatula.
Sprinkle the remaining gluten flour over it and continue to fold it in. Once it gets firm, use your hands to knead the dough for about 30 seconds until all of the gluten is incorporated.
Form the dough into one large loaf and wrap it tightly and completely in foil.
Place the wrapped “turkey” in a large steamer basket, cover, and steam for 1 hour. (You can now eat the “turkey” or you can baste and bake it for more flavor.)

Baste and bake the vegan turkey
Preheat the oven to 375° F (190° C).

Place the steamed “turkey” in a small baking dish. (An 8 x 8-inch baking dish works well.)

Mix 1/2 cup broth, 2 tbsp oil, 1 tsp soy sauce, 1 tsp oregano, and 1/4 tsp black pepper and pour over the turkey.

Bake at 375° F (190° C) for 25 minutes. (Take out of the oven 2-3 times during baking and quickly spoon the basting liquid over the tofurkey and place back in the oven.)

Slice with a serrated knife.

Recipe Notes
What if you don’t have a steamer basket?

You can place jelly jar rings at the bottom of a pot and fill it with enough water to reach just under the rings. This will hold the turkey out of the water. You will need to keep an eye on the water level and refill it a few times while it’s steaming.

To make dark meat turkey:

Replace the chickpeas with a 14 oz block of firm tofu that has been drained and press to get out all the excess liquid. Increase the soy sauce by 1 tsp and then follow the rest of the ingredients and instructions the same.

To make drier white meat:

Omit the oil and be sure to use chickpeas and not tofu in the mixture. This will give you the same great flavor with a dryer texture.