Recipe: Vegan Turkey Roast

Food & Beverage

By Emilee Gettle
Growing up I was quite accustomed to the yearly ritual of selecting the largest turkey we could find and babying it through the roasting process. However, once I married my vegan sweetheart, my Thanksgivings would never be the same. As usual, my creative mom came to the rescue and taught me how to make this festive vegan turkey alternative. I’ve found that even the die-hard meat lovers in my life love this recipe.
If you have vegan friends and family who will be knocking on your door during the holidays, keep a sliced roast in the freezer that you can quickly pull out and pop in the oven! This recipe can be a real lifesaver – and friend saver!
For a PDF of this recipe, visit the build page on Make: Projects!


Boiling Broth:
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/3 cup imitation chicken seasoning
6 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tbsp onion powder
2 tsp celery seed
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup chopped onion
12 cups hot water

Gluten Turkey Roast:
4 cups gluten flour
3/4 cup oat flour
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup imitation chicken seasoning
2 tbsp onion powder
1 tsp garlic powder
3/4 cup finely ground cashews
5 cups cold water
This is an approximate – you might need more or less. Also, it must be cold water.
Fresh parsley
Fresh rosemary
Fresh thyme

3 heaping tsp Earth Balance margarine
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups broth
1/8 cup tamari

You will also need:
1/3 yard pre-washed muslin or 1 yard cheesecloth, folded into thirds
2 lengths of string or fine crochet thread, 3 yards each

Serves 8


Step 1: Place all of the ingredients for the broth in a large stock pot. Cover the pot and set the broth to simmer.
Step 2: Combine all of the dry ingredients for the roast in a large bowl, but do not include the fresh herbs. Then, once the broth is simmering (and not until broth is simmering!) make a well in the dry ingredients and add the water. Work quickly – this is essential!
Step 3: Begin kneading the gluten dough and work out any lumps. Your goal is to prevent the gluten from “knotting” – you want to create a smooth “loaf.” You may need to add a little more water in order to incorporate all of the dry flour into the loaf. Knead 25-35 times, or about 10-15 minutes, until the gluten strands develop (which look like thin fibrous strings) within the dough. The dough should look smooth, like a large dumpling. Shape the gluten into a loaf.
Step 4: Now, place the muslin under the faucet to dampen, and ring out the excess water. Then, spread the muslin over your work surface. Place the loaf in the center of the muslin and fold the right and left pieces of muslin in toward the center of the loaf, leaving some slack on the fabric. This will allow the loaf to expand when cooking. Now, fold the piece of muslin closest to you up and over the loaf and then tuck it under the loaf. Next, bring the piece of muslin furthest from you over the loaf, then tuck it under the loaf. Now your loaf is completely enclosed in muslin.
Step 5: Take 3 yards of string, double it, and lay it under the loaf horizontally. Bring the cut ends of string through the loop end and tie it in place. Then repeat one more time horizontally and tie at the opposite end with the excess string.
Take 3 yards of string and tie it to the horizontally tied string at one end. Then spirally wrap the string around the loaf, leaving about 1″ space between each round of thread, and tie it off at the opposite end. When you are tying the circumference of the loaf, it can be made taut.
Step 6: Create bouquets of fresh, washed herbs to tuck under the string wrapped around the gluten.
Step 7: Place the muslin-wrapped loaf in the simmering pot of broth. It will sink to the bottom. Now, bring your broth to a boil. You may leave the pot uncovered through the process of cooking, to keep an eye on it. Once boiling, turn down the heat to a slow simmer. Midway through cooking time run a spoon around the edge of the pot to be sure the loaf is free to rise. When the loaf is done, it will rise to the top. The cooking time is approximately 2 hours.
Step 8: Remove the turkey roast from the broth and unwrap to cool. Cool and reserve the broth. You can freeze the broth and reuse it for another turkey roast, or use a small amount to make gravy** to serve with the roast. It also makes a great soup stock. The broth will keep fresh in the fridge for a week, or 1 month in a freezer.
Step 9: You can serve the turkey roast as it is now. However, I find it is much tastier if it is made one day in advance of any festivities and allowed to rest in the fridge. Then, the day of your gathering, place the roast in a well-oiled 9″ x 13″ pan and rub the roast with olive oil. Then, rub in your fresh herbs such as parsley, rosemary, or thyme. Now, cover it with foil and place it in a preheated 350 degree oven for 20 minutes, until it’s warmed through. Remove it from the oven, slice, and place it on a serving tray. Garnish with fresh herbs.
**Gravy: For an optional gravy, melt margarine in a small sauce pan and then whisk in flour to form a paste. Gradually whisk in the broth and tamari. Cook until thickened.
Note: This recipe is low in sodium – feel free to add more salt in the loaf or broth.
About the Author:
emilee gettle.jpg
Emilee Gettle enjoys remaking carnivorous recipes into vegan favorites. This holiday season you can find her whipping up batches of vegan cookies and candy and crafting handmade gifts. Check out her latest projects and recipes at Heirloom Girl.

14 thoughts on “Recipe: Vegan Turkey Roast

  1. Fiona says:

    I’m tossing up between making tofurkey and gluturkey. Do you think it would work to put stuffing in this? Would the stuffing get soggy, or would the gluten form an waterproof barrier?

  2. gulfdice says:
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  3. Emilee says:

    Hi Fiona,
    Yes, we have put stuffing inside this roast before. What you need to do is make up your stuffing, then instead of shaping the gluten into a loaf, press it out flat on your work surface, add the stuffing and then seal it in by wrapping the gluten around it. Make sure the stuffing is completely sealed inside the gluten, otherwise when it is cooking it might pop open as the gluten expands.
    Then, instead of boiling it in the broth, it needs to be steamed in a roaster. :) This way the stuffing doesn’t get soggy. ;)
    Have fun… and Happy Thanksgiving!

  4. Elsa says:

    This looks like a wonderful recipe! I am unfamiliar with a couple of your ingredients, and wonder if you can tell me a bit more about them. What is the imitation chicken seasoning that you are using, and what is gluten flour? Thanks!

  5. Emilee says:

    Hi Elsa,
    Thanks for the compliments! ;)
    Gluten Flour is wheat flour that has the starch and bran removed so it is higher in protein and lower in carbs. Just one half cup of gluten flour has 46 grams of protein.
    Imitation chicken seasoning is like bullion only flavored with spices that taste like chicken, without using the real bird. :)

  6. Emilee says:

    Oh and Elsa… I forgot to mention I use McKay’s Imitation Chicken Seasoning, if you were wanting a specific brand. :)

  7. Phyllis Weber says:

    For those with a gluten intolerance, is there something that can be substituted for the gluten flour?

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