The Unturkey Roast

 With mashed potatoes and gravy, cider caramelized brusselsprouts with cranberries


 The roast is easy to cut in thick or thin slices.

Americans have always associated Thanksgiving with food. This recipe is a modification of the Gobbler Slices in Vegan Sandwiches Save the Day. If you’re lucky enough to have leftovers, this roast is a natural for sandwiches.

While cooking the savory aroma will have the whole family lurking about the kitchen. The list of ingredients might look long, but note how many of those ingredients are herbs and spices, which pack this seitan with all the flavors you think of at Thanksgiving. This recipe is adapted from the Gobbler Slices in Vegan Sandwiches Save the Day! Watch for more recipes using the roast soon.

The Unturkey Roast

This mighty roast is enough to feed the family and still have leftovers, as is traditional. The roast may be cut into thin or thick slices. If desired, let cool, then bake the slices in broth until heated. The slices may also be wrapped in puff pastry with sautéed mushrooms, greens, or cooked crumbled vegan sausages and bread cubes. Follow the package directions to bake the wrapped unturkey. Serve with gravy.

The Roast

8 ounces extra firm tofu, drained

1/2 cup dry white wine

1/2 cup vegetable broth, more if needed

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon onion powder

1 tablespoon light miso

2 teaspoons garlic powder

2 teaspoons dried parsley

1 teaspoon dried sage

1 teaspoon dried mustard

1 teaspoon dried rosemary

1 teaspoon ground white pepper

1 teaspoon fine sea salt

1/2 teaspoon celery seed

2 1/4 cups vital wheat gluten

1/4 cup nutritional yeast

1/4 cup chickpea flour or soy flour

2 tablespoons Instant Tapioca, such as Minute Brand

2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil


Cooking Broth

3 cups vegetable broth

1/2 onion, peeled and quartered

1 carrot, peeled and quartered

2 cloves garlic, peeled and cut in half

2 sprigs fresh parsley

2 sprigs fresh thyme

Preheat the oven to 300 °F.

Combine the tofu, wine, broth and onion powder through (and including) the celery seed in a blender. Process until smooth.

Stir together the vital wheat gluten, nutritional yeast, chickpea flour, and tapioca in a large bowl. Pour the blended ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix well with a fork. Add an extra tablespoon of liquid or vital wheat gluten to make a soft, workable dough. Knead for a few minutes, squeezing to be sure all ingredients are combined. Shape the mixture into a symmetrical log about 7 to 8 inches long. Wrap the log in a 12 x 16-inch piece of cheesecloth. Tie the ends of the log with twine.

Heat the sesame oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Cook the log until browned on all sides, turning occasionally. Transfer to a 9 or 10-inch covered casserole pan. Pour the broth over the roast and add the remaining ingredients. The broth should cover the roast about halfway. Cover and bake for 2 hours, turning every 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and cut the cheesecloth from the roast. Strain the liquid and discard the solids. Keep the broth to use as a base for gravy, if desired.

Yield: One 2-pound roast

Leftovers make fantastic sandwiches. Shown here on Mashed Potato Whole Wheat Rolls (recipe to come soon).

Did someone say sandwiches? Be sure to check out the blog tour posts from this week!

Olives for Dinner – our inner most thoughts and a contest! And now a recipe!

Vegan Dad – haven’t won a copy yet? Now is your chance!

Kim Cooks Veg 4 U – has a glowing review and photos to tempt the skeptical!

As if all this isn’t enough, we’ve got 3 more weeks of the blog tour coming up. And you know about the Artisan Vegan Cheese photo contest, right? If not, here you go! Good luck!

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  1. Posted November 7, 2012 at 2:10 pm | Permalink

    I am so going to try this one out Tami! Looks great especially with gravy all up on it!

  2. Posted November 7, 2012 at 4:24 pm | Permalink

    Let me know what you think, Kelly!

  3. Maureen
    Posted November 8, 2012 at 3:38 am | Permalink

    What does the tapioca do? I use it for fruit pies etc. but I remember on one of Bryanna’s recipes she used it to create ‘fat’… so I definitely don’t want that :). It has taken me years of being vegan before I could even think of making seitan as I have never missed meat in any form but would like to try this for Thanksgiving.

  4. Tami
    Posted November 8, 2012 at 10:28 am | Permalink

    Hi Maureen!
    I think the tapioca adds to the texture. I’m not sure I would think of it as fat, but if Bryanna does, she’s probably right! It can also be omitted. I’ve told people before that if you never had it with the tapioca, you won’t miss it without. I hope you give it a go!

  5. Posted November 8, 2012 at 4:28 pm | Permalink

    This looks amazing!

  6. Posted November 8, 2012 at 4:45 pm | Permalink

    Thanks, Becky. Hopefully next week I’ll be posting one of the ways to showcase it. :)

  7. Posted November 8, 2012 at 5:27 pm | Permalink

    That looks great! I’m intrigued by this process of braising the roast before cooking it in the liquid, is it still as firm as the gobbler slices?

  8. Posted November 8, 2012 at 5:35 pm | Permalink

    Maggie, I think the braising helps to “seal” the outside of the roast. And yes, it is just as firm and slices beautifully, thick or thin!

  9. Posted November 11, 2012 at 6:40 pm | Permalink

    Looks amazing, Tami! So firm looking and, man, I could swear I can smell the aroma here!

  10. Tami
    Posted November 11, 2012 at 7:30 pm | Permalink

    Thanks so much, Vegan Aide! It’s so hard to believe it’s almost Thanksgiving.. again!

  11. Posted November 12, 2012 at 10:51 am | Permalink

    Tell me about it! Next week already !?

  12. Maureen
    Posted November 13, 2012 at 1:56 pm | Permalink

    Another question! Do you brown the cheesecloth? The log is wrapped in the cheesecloth and then put into the oil and browned? Have never used cheesecloth before so want to do this right!

  13. Posted November 13, 2012 at 2:05 pm | Permalink

    Yes, Maureen. The seitan is wrapped in the cheese cloth and the ends are tied to form a log. Then it is browned in the oil. I’m excited about you trying it!

  14. Maureen
    Posted November 13, 2012 at 10:55 pm | Permalink

    OK!! The seitan from American Vegan Kitchen was the first recipe I could actually eat!! And omni husband is willing to eat on a regular basis. So… going to make this for our TG dinner – which we are celebrating on Sunday 18 November due to being in South Africa and Thursday not being a public holiday over here :).

  15. Posted November 14, 2012 at 8:27 am | Permalink

    Maureen, I am so excited! Love that the AVK seitan was the first you liked, and that it even works for your husband! I hope you love it!

  16. Jessica
    Posted November 15, 2012 at 2:20 pm | Permalink

    I made this last night as trial run for Thanksgiving, and it is AMAZING! Such awesome texture and flavor – and really easy to make. It came together super fast, and then of course the hardest part was waiting for it to be done roasting. :) This is going to be SO GOOD with cranberries and mashed potatoes.

    I just saw the comment above asking whether or not to brown the cheesecloth, too. I also was confused about that, so I browned the roast without the cheesecloth on. I think I will do that next time, too, just because I’m nervous about cloth particles getting seared into the roast…!

    At any rate, this is an AWESOME roast. For sure my favorite seitan “turkey” I’ve ever tried. SO much more delicious than storebought, and of course much, much cheaper. Thank you for the recipe! Can’t wait to share it with loved ones next week.

  17. Posted November 15, 2012 at 2:30 pm | Permalink

    Jessica, I am so excited that you made this and had success with it! Woohooo!!! I’m bouncing off the walls here.

    I’ve never had a problem with the cheesecloth sticking, but if you have, it’s way better to be safe than sorry.

    So thrilled it will be a part of your Thanksgiving feast. Since I haven’t gotten around to it yet, I’ll tell you how I’m thinking of serving mine. I’m going to saute baby kale and make some thick cranberry relish. I’m going to put the kale in between two slices of seitan, and wrap it in puff pastry. I’m debating about adding mushrooms, onions, red bell pepper to the kale mixture. I’m looking forward to it!

    Thanks, Jessica!!

  18. Jessica
    Posted November 16, 2012 at 3:24 pm | Permalink

    Ooh, that sounds SO GOOD!!

  19. Posted November 17, 2012 at 10:07 am | Permalink

    Thanks, Jessica, and guess I should get on that! :)

  20. Maureen
    Posted November 19, 2012 at 10:27 am | Permalink

    OK! Feedback after our TG dinner!

    I made the roast, went to put it in the cheescloth and decided it (the cheesecloth) was too thick (not really knowing how thick it should be!) so I thought… I will just roast it as is. After the first 30 minutes it looked great (did the browning etc of all side and the ends before I put it in the covered pan). After the second 30 minutes I took off the foil and jumped back! It had GROWN!! So I turned it again and cooked it for another hour turning again as instructed.

    When it had finished cooking it looked more like a ciabatta loaf! I placed it on a cooling rack and waited until it was cool and then tried a small slice from the end. Tasted good. Having never ever eaten turkey and having not eaten any animal flesh in well over 50 years I really wasn’t sure what it was supposed to taste like so I can’t say wow it tasted just like turkey!

    I used a sharp knife and cut very thin slices for over half of it, then cut some thicker slices for the rest of it. I have frozen all the thin slices in various packets for my son for his Christmas dinner and some sandwiches etc.

    I pan fried three thick slices in some olive oil and had them with all the rest of our TG dinner – Omni husband roasted his own turkey breast but seeing as that is the only time at home he doesn’t eat vegan I think that is not bad.

    Verdict: I could have eaten just two slices as it was very filling and very tasty. The texture was sliceable with a sharp knife. I am not sure that I would eat it in sandwiches as I have never ever eaten sliced meat… but am sure my son will try eating it that way. I will make it again for Christmas with some ‘proper’ cheesecloth and not what I found in my husband’s tool box.

    Thanks for the great recipe :).

  21. Posted November 19, 2012 at 4:44 pm | Permalink

    Maureen, I can just picture the roast practically climbing out of the pot at you! The cheesecloth helps keep it all nice and tidy with a consistent texture. Next time, you’ll have a more conforming shape.

    To be honest, I can’t say if it tastes like turkey either! It’s been 30 plus years here. I tend to think of it as a turkey alternative, rather than a substitute. I just didn’t say it well in my post. :)

    I hope your son enjoys it, too! We’ve used it in soup (a chicken noodle knock-off), and pot pies. Thank you very much for the feedback!

  22. Posted November 22, 2012 at 1:07 am | Permalink

    I love this roast — just made a wonderful sandwich with it: handful of roast chunks + about 1/4 cup well drained sourkraut + spicy mustard and caraway seeds… warmed and topped with fresh spinach, on crusty bread: WONDERFUL!!

    Just had to share… thanks again for coming up with it! :)

  23. Tami
    Posted November 22, 2012 at 7:03 pm | Permalink

    Yes! So, so, so happy to hear this. Thanks, Yana!

  24. Posted November 24, 2013 at 1:30 pm | Permalink

    Hi Tami! I’m going to make this roast for our Thanksgiving this week. We’re quite excited! I was wondering if it was possible to prepare it in a slow cooker? It’s not a deal-breaker if that’s not possible; I’m making it no matter what, but I thought I’d see if I could free up my oven a bit. :) Thanks!

  25. Tami
    Posted November 24, 2013 at 1:36 pm | Permalink

    Hi! I can’t say for sure, as I’ve never tried it and would hate hate hate for you to have a fail on such an important day. But.. you could make it ahead of time, and keep it hot in slow cooker with a bit of broth for sure!

  26. jessy
    Posted November 28, 2013 at 4:36 pm | Permalink

    wooooohooooooo! we made your unturkey roast today for thanksgiving and it was absolutely wonderful! we can’t wait to enjoy unturkey sandwiches later this week. thanks so much for sharing such a delicious and fool-proof recipe that rocks!

  27. Tami
    Posted November 28, 2013 at 5:52 pm | Permalink

    You just made my day. Thank you so much,Jessy!

  28. veganchubosaurus
    Posted January 3, 2014 at 11:04 pm | Permalink

    I know it’s, like, 6 weeks late, but I wanted to let you know that I did make this for Thanksgiving and WE LOVED IT. It turned out beautifully, and we will definitely be making it again and again!

  29. Tami
    Posted January 4, 2014 at 7:34 pm | Permalink

    I am so so so happy you enjoyed it! Never too late to hear great news like that. :) Thank you for letting me know!

  30. veganchubosaurus
    Posted January 3, 2014 at 11:41 pm | Permalink

    P.S. We loved it so much, our leftovers were completely gone within two days!

6 Trackbacks

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