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!

Note: This recipe is low in sodium – feel free to add more salt in the loaf or broth.

Serves 8.

Recipe originally posted on CRAFT.

Project Steps

Make broth

Place all of the ingredients for the broth in a large stock pot. Cover the pot and set the broth to simmer.

Make gluten turkey roast

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!

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.

Tie up the

Now, place the muslin under the faucet to dampen, and wring 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.

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.

Create bouquets of fresh, washed herbs to tuck under the string wrapped around the gluten.

Boil the

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 it is 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.

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.

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.


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.