Vegan Turkey

This is the best vegan turkey recipe, delivering a delicious roast full of flavor and plant-based protein. Serve this as your favorite vegan Thanksgiving turkey for the holidays or any time of year with vegan mashed potatoes and vegan gravy on the side.

A vegan turkey loaf sits on a plate next to greens and carrots in the background.

We have typically bought a “Celebration Roast” by Field Roast (also referred to as a seitan turkey) for our big holiday dinners, but after my plant-based cooking school oriented me to vital wheat gluten, I’ve been experimenting with the best vegan turkey roast recipe. The results are amazing!

I’m not against buying vegan roasts at the store, but if you have the time, making it homemade is the best.

Why This Recipe is a Winner

  • Using tofu creates the most tender roast possible
  • Adding a generous portion of poultry seasoning creates undeniably delicious flavor in every bite
  • Wrapping the loaf tightly in foil before steaming helps compress the loaf, creating the perfect texture for this seitan turkey loaf

Marly’s Tips

A measuring cup holds whole wheat pastry flour.

What is Vital Wheat Gluten?

Gluten is the main protein of a wheat berry found in the endosperm. When gluten is separated from wheat, you’re left with vital wheat gluten, a flour-like substance that is used in a lot of vegan and vegetarian recipes. It is referred to as “wheat meat” because of it’s similar texture to meat. As a result, it’s often used to make vegetarian meat substitutes. It can also be added to yeast breads to improve the texture and volume of yeast breads.

Ingredients are on a counter. The labels read, "veg broth, bouillon, yeast flakes, olive oil, wheat gluten, lemon juice, tofu, garlic powder & onion flakes, soy sauce, and seasonings."

What You Need

You can find the full printable recipe, including ingredient quantities, below. But first, here are some explanations of ingredients and steps to help you make this recipe perfect every time.

Here are the ingredients you’ll need for this recipe:

  • Tofu — You’ll need one container of extra firm tofu that’s between 12 and 16 ounces in size
  • Bouillon — I highly recommend Better than Bouillon No Chicken Base for this recipe because it adds the best flavor
  • Nutritional Yeast Flakes — I love cooking with nutritional yeast flakes because it adds a savory, cheesy flavor to so many dishes
  • Olive oil — You can substitute a neutral oil here, such as canola oil
  • Soy sauce
  • Onion powder + Garlic powder
  • Poultry seasoning — Despite its name, this is a vegetarian spice blend that I keep in large quantities in my vegan kitchen
  • Vital Wheat Gluten — This is a powdery-flour substance, also referred to as “wheat meat.” You’ll need 1 ¼ cups of vital wheat gluten.
  • Vegetable broth — Since you have the Better than Bouillon above, I recommend using that combined with water to make this vegetable broth
  • Lemon juice — Either fresh or bottled lemon juice works

How to Make This Recipe

  1. Place the lightly pressed tofu in a food processor with oil, bouillon, onion powder, garlic powder, and poultry seasoning. Blend until smooth.
  2. Transfer the tofu mixture to a bowl and stir in the vital wheat gluten.
    A hand holds a bowl, pouring a flour mixture over a wet mixture.
  3. Use your hands to gently “knead” the mixture until just combined and none of the powdery vital wheat gluten is visible. 
    An oval loaf sits on a cutting board on a white counter.
  4. Shape the dough into an oval loaf and wrap it tightly with foil, sealing the ends. This helps compress the loaf, so it doesn’t expand as it cooks.
    Hands are folding foil up around a vegan turkey loaf.
  5. Place the loaf in a steamer basket over boiling water and steam for 60 minutes. Check the water level every 20 minutes and add more as needed.
    Seitan turkey has been wrapped in foil and is sitting in a steamer basket inside of a saucepan.
  6. Use tongs to remove the roast from the basket. Leave it in the foil and set it aside to cool.
  7. Baste the vegan turkey roast by transferring it to a baking pan, combining the basting ingredients, and drizzling it over the roast.
  8. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, spooning basting sauce over the turkey once or twice as it bakes.
A vegan loaf has a slice cut out and greens in the background along with carrots.

Frequently-Asked Questions

What is vegan turkey made of?

Plant-based turkey is made from a combination of plant-based proteins, such as tofu, chickpeas, and vital wheat gluten (also referred to as seitan or “wheat meat”). In addition, spices and flavorings are added to create the best texture and flavor profile possible.

Is there vegan turkey?

There are plenty of vegan turkey substitutes that you can buy in health food stores, such as Tofurkey, Field Roast, and Gardein. You can also make your own homemade vegan turkey roast, such as this recipe.

Serving Suggestions

To serve, cut the roast into slices to serve for dinners. To make vegan turkey slices for sandwiches, allow the roast to cool completely, then refrigerate for an hour or so. Use a serrated knife to cut the chilled roast.

Serve this vegan whole turkey with your favorite side dishes and desserts, such as:

Storage Tips

Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 7 days. It can be frozen in freezer-safe containers or bags for up to 3 months.

Looking down on a vegetarian turkey loaf with greens and carrots behind it.

Vegan Meat Recipes

If you love this vegan holiday roast, you’ll want to try these other vegan meat-based recipes, too:

That’s it for this vegan turkey recipe. Enjoy!

A vegan turkey loaf has a slice cut out of it. There are carrots in the background.

Vegan Turkey

This vegan turkey recipe makes a delicious, tender roast you can use for holiday dinners or any time of year. Leftover slices can be used to make sandwiches too.
5 from 2 votes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Asian
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 46 minutes
Resting Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 46 minutes
Servings: 8 slices
Calories: 209kcal
Author: Marly

Ingredients

Basting Sauce

  • ¼ cup vegetable broth
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice

Instructions

For the Vegan Turkey Roast

  • Drain the liquid from the tofu and lightly press to remove some of the liquid. Add tofu to a food processor with oil, bouillon, onion powder, garlic powder, and poultry seasoning. Blend for about 30 seconds. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and blend again until smooth.
  • Transfer the tofu mixture to a bowl. Add vital wheat gluten. Use a spatula to stir the ingredients together. Use your hands to gently "knead" the mixture in the bowl, only until just combined, and none of the powdery vital wheat gluten is visible.
  • Turn the dough out onto a cutting board. Shape it into an oval loaf. Tightly wrap the roast in foil, sealing the ends. This helps compress the loaf, so it doesn't expand as it cooks. Place the loaf in a steamer basket over boiling water and steam for 60 minutes. Check the water level every 20 minutes and add more as needed.
  • Once it's done, use tongs to remove the roast from the basket. Leave it in the foil and set it aside to cool.
  • You can eat the roast as is, but it transforms into something amazing after being roasted with basting liquids.

For Roasted Vegan Turkey

  • Preheat oven to 375°F.
  • Transfer the roast to a baking pan. Combine the basting ingredients and drizzle them over the roast. You can also add optional ingredients like thinly sliced garlic or rosemary.
  • Place the pan in the oven and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, spooning basting sauce over the turkey once or twice as it bakes.
  • The loaf will firm up as it cools. Cut the roast into slices to serve for dinners. To cut thinner slices for sandwiches, allow the roast to cool completely, then refrigerate for an hour or so. Use a serrated knife to cut the chilled roast.

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Notes

Substituting Steamer Baskets: If you don’t have a steamer basket, you can a metal strainer, a metal pie pan with holes, 3 balls of foil, or even mason jar lids in the bottom of a saucepan (but realize you’ll need to add more water from time-to-time). 
Substituting Tofu: If you don’t have tofu or prefer to not cook with it, you can substitute a 15-oz can of chickpeas. You will also need to add up to a half cup of water to the mixture to get a good consistency.
Nutrition Facts
Vegan Turkey
Amount Per Serving
Calories 209 Calories from Fat 126
% Daily Value*
Fat 14g22%
Saturated Fat 2g10%
Sodium 392mg16%
Potassium 88mg3%
Carbohydrates 6g2%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 1g1%
Protein 16g32%
Vitamin A 62IU1%
Vitamin C 1mg1%
Calcium 47mg5%
Iron 2mg11%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

The nutrition information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator and should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.

One Response to Vegan Turkey

  1. Avatar thumbnail image for MarlyDebra Reply

    I made this just to have vegan lunch meat for sandwiches and its fantastic!

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