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Hello! I’m Anjali. I’m a board certified health coach, author, wife, mom and food lover from the SF Bay area (now living in Seattle, WA!); with a passion for delicious food and a desire to make healthy eating easy, tasty and fun! Learn more about me here and stay for a while!

Anjali Shah

Vegan Turkey

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This vegan turkey roast is tender on the inside & crispy on the outside with a meaty herb-roasted flavor! It’s easy to make and it can be parbaked ahead of time for a fuss-free thanksgiving. Even meat eaters will devour this one!

Vegan turkey roast in a serving dish with roasted vegetables surrounding it.

With Thanksgiving dinner just around the corner, it only felt right to master a vegan roast turkey. It had to be herbaceous with spices like thyme and rosemary, but more importantly have a meaty, sliceable texture. It took a few tries to perfect, but I finally made a vegan turkey loaf that made my mouth sing! You will love this roast vegan turkey!

Latest Recipe Video!

This vegan turkey recipe is made with chickpeas instead of tofu and vital wheat gluten. Vital wheat gluten holds moisture to make it juicy and is crucial for a chewy, meat-like texture that doesn’t fall apart. It’s low in fat, high in protein, and a good source of iron and selenium.

I like to make the seitan ahead of time, then baste and cook it in the oven right before it’s time to eat. Enjoy this vegan Thanksgiving turkey alternative with all the vegan trimmings! It’s great for family gatherings and for feeding a crowd. I always serve it with a side of roasted vegetables and vegan mashed potatoes.

👩‍🍳 Why This Recipe Works

  • Tastes like real turkey
  • Perfect centerpiece for a holiday meal or for a vegan Thanksgiving dinner
  • Juicy main course with a meaty texture
  • Worlds better than a tofurky roast
  • Your family members will love it
  • Cut into vegan turkey slices for sandwiches
  • No preservatives or natural flavors
  • Far better than store-bought vegan meats
  • Best vegan turkey roast recipe ever!

🥘 Ingredients

This vegetarian Thanksgiving turkey requires simple ingredients found at most grocery stores. Here’s what you need:

Ingredients for vegan turkey recipe on a white background.
  • Chickpeas: Garbanzo beans are a rich source of plant-based protein and fiber. A can of chickpeas work great. Just remember to drain and wash them to remove the aquafaba. Oftentimes, plant-based roasts are made with extra-firm tofu, but I think chickpeas form a better texture.
  • Vegan Chicken Broth: If you can’t find this at your local grocery store, try a health food store like Whole Foods. It moistens the plant based turkey and adds flavor to the basting liquid. You can also swap it with vegetable broth if needed.
  • Nutritional Yeast: Nutritional yeast has a nutty, savory flavor. It can typically be found in a plastic container in the spice aisle.
  • Coconut Oil: Adds moisture so the “meat” isn’t dry.
  • Seasoning: Garlic powder, onion powder, poultry seasoning, rosemary, sea salt, black pepper, and thyme give you a quintessential turkey flavor.
  • Soy Sauce: Adds an umami flavor to this vegan meat substitute! Look for a vegan brand like Kikkoman’s. For a soy-free roast, leave out the soy sauce.
  • Vital Wheat Gluten: This wheat protein is just as it sounds – powdered gluten! Almost all the wheat starch has been removed. It improves the elasticity and chewiness of breads and in this case, seitan. It’s crucial for a firm but juicy texture that doesn’t fall apart.
  • Vegan Butter: To baste this easy vegan turkey!

📖 Variations

  • Sides: Serve this vegan holiday roast with any of your favorite vegan sides. Try vegan mashed potatoes, wild rice stuffing, roasted green beans and potatoes, vegan stuffing, or vegan dinner rolls!
  • Sandwiches: Cut the entire meatless roast into slices and use it for vegan sandwiches. I like to make it into club sandwiches and also use it for thanksgiving leftover sandwiches with cranberry sauce.

🔪 Instructions

My vegan Thanksgiving roast is easy to make! You can make the seitan up to two days ahead of time if you prefer. Just steam it, then refrigerate it until ready to bake.

Blend Ingredients: Place all the “turkey” ingredients, except for the vital wheat gluten, into a high-speed food processor or blender and blend until smooth.

Chickpeas and homemade seitan ingredients blended in a blender.

Make Seitan: Transfer the mixture to a large bowl and stir in the vital wheat gluten.

Dry ingredients for homemade seitan mixed in a mixing bowl.

Knead: Use your hands to bring the dough together and knead the dough for 1 to 2 minutes. Be careful not to overdo it. Shape the seitan dough into a loaf.

Homemade seitan being kneaded in a mixing bowl.

Steam Seitan, Combine Basting Ingredients: Wrap the loaf in aluminum foil and place in a steamer basket over boiling water. Steam for one hour. Remove the foil and let it cool. While the seitan is steaming, preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. And in a small bowl, whisk the basting ingredients.

Vegan holiday roast wrapped in tin foil.

Baste Fake Turkey: Place the meatless turkey into an oven dish and pour the basting liquid over it. Use a spoon to scoop it up and cover the meat with the liquid.

Seitan turkey loaf in a baking dish surrounded by basting liquid.

Bake Turkey: Cook for 25 minutes, carefully removing the vegetarian turkey from the oven every 10 minutes and scooping the sauce over it.

Vegetarian turkey loaf in a baking dish surrounded by basting liquid.

Cool & Serve: Remove the faux turkey from the oven and let it cool for 5 minutes before slicing. Enjoy with vegan gravy and your favorite sides!

Vegan roast turkey in a baking dish with basting liquid.

❓ Recipe FAQs

What is vegan turkey made of?

It’s made from seitan, a vegan meat alternative made from vital wheat gluten. This vegan roast recipe has a sliceable yet juicy, meat-like texture that’s flavored with spices to mimic the authentic taste of turkey!

Is vegan turkey healthy?

Yes! Because it’s made from plants, and not actual meat, most plant based turkey is lower in calories and fat than its meat counterpart. This seitan turkey recipe is super healthy for you as it’s high in protein, low in fat, and a rich source of potassium, iron, and selenium. It’s a healthy part of a plant-based diet!

What do vegetarians eat instead of turkey for Thanksgiving?

There are so many different options for vegetarian main dishes on Thanksgiving, but here are a few of our favorites (besides vegetarian turkey roast of course!)
** Tofu steaks
** Whole roasted cauliflower steaks
** Vegan pot pie (or shepherd’s pie)
** Lasagna
** Enchiladas
** Veggie Burgers
** Hearty salads and ALL of the traditional Thanksgiving side dishes!

How should I store vegan turkey?

Store this vegan turkey dinner in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat leftovers in the microwave in 20-second increments until hot throughout, or in the oven on low heat until just warmed through. Try not to overcook it or the texture will suffer.

Can I make it ahead of time?

Yes, this vegan holiday roast can be prepared ahead of time, so all you have to do is bake it. Make the seitan loaf through step 4 (in the recipe card below) up to two days in advance. Refrigerate in an airtight container until ready to bake it.

💭 Expert Tips

  • Knead the dough 1-2 minutes to bring everything together but do not over knead it otherwise this plant based roast will become rubbery.
  • Unfortunately, there is no good substitute for vital wheat gluten, which means this seitan recipe can’t be gluten-free.
  • The seitan just gets better as it sits in the fridge so making it ahead is a no-brainer! Plus it frees up valuable time for side dishes. If you can, serve it fresh (from the fridge or freshly made), as it will taste just a little better than after it’s been frozen and defrosted (although, the defrosted version still tastes pretty good!)
  • The best vegan chicken broth I’ve found is Better Than Bouillon’s No Chicken Base – it adds a really rich flavor (more so than vegetable broth)
  • If you don’t have a steamer basket, you can make your own by rolling up 5-6 balls of foil, placing them in the bottom of your pot, and then adding an oven-safe plate on top of the balls that your vegan turkey loaf can sit on.
Vegan turkey roast in a serving dish with roasted vegetables surrounding it.

🍲 More Delicious Vegan Recipes!

LOVE THIS RECIPE? Please leave a 5-star rating 🌟 in the recipe card below and/or a review in the comments section further down the page!

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📋 Recipe Card

Vegan turkey roast in a serving dish with roasted vegetables surrounding it.
Print Recipe
5 from 8 votes

Vegan Turkey Roast

This vegan turkey roast is tender on the inside & crispy on the outside with a meaty herb-roasted flavor! It's easy to make and it can be parbaked ahead of time for a fuss-free thanksgiving. Even meat eaters will devour this one!
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time1 hr 25 mins
Total Time1 hr 40 mins
Course: Main Course, mains
Cuisine: American, Vegan
Diet: Low Lactose, Vegan, Vegetarian
Servings: 6 servings
Calories: 325kcal
Author: Anjali Shah

Ingredients

Turkey Ingredients

  • 15 oz can chickpeas drained and washed
  • 1 cup vegan chicken broth or vegetable broth
  • 2 tbsp nutritional yeast
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil melted
  • 2 tsp vegan poultry seasoning
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • ½ tsp onion powder
  • tbsp soy sauce reduced sodium
  • tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp rosemary dried
  • 1 tsp thyme dried
  • cup vital wheat gluten

Basting Ingredients

  • ½ cup vegan chicken broth or vegetable broth
  • 2 tbsp vegan butter melted
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • ½ tsp vegan poultry seasoning
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp thyme dried
  • 1 tsp rosemary dried

Instructions

  • Place all “Turkey” ingredients, except for the vital wheat gluten, into a high-speed food processor and blend until smooth.
  • Add this mixture to a mixing bowl and stir through the vital wheat gluten, using your hands to bring the dough together and knead for 1-2 minutes. Shape into a loaf.
  • Wrap the loaf in foil and place in a steamer basket over boiling water. Steam for 1 hour.
  • Remove foil and allow to cool.
  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F / 180 C.
  • In a small bowl whisk together all basting ingredients.
  • Place the “turkey” into an oven dish and pour the basting liquid over it. Use a spoon to scoop up the sauce and cover the “turkey” with the liquid.
  • Cook in the oven for a total of 25 minutes, removing from the oven every 10 minutes to scoop and coat with the sauce.
  • Remove from the oven, allow to rest for 5 minutes before slicing with a serrated knife.
  • Serve with your favorite roasted vegetables.

Video

https://youtu.be/zAJJWaeVNLA

Notes

  • ‘Turkey’ can be made ahead of time by preparing up until step 4, then store it in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 days before continuing as per the recipe.
  • Knead the dough 1-2 minutes to bring everything together but do not over knead it otherwise it will become rubbery.
  • Unfortunately, there is no good substitute for vital wheat gluten, which means this seitan recipe can’t be gluten-free.
  • The seitan just gets better as it sits in the fridge so making it ahead is a no-brainer! Plus it frees up valuable time for side dishes. If you can, serve it fresh (from the fridge or freshly made), as it will taste just a little better than after it’s been frozen and defrosted (although, the defrosted version still tastes pretty good!)
  • The best vegan chicken broth I’ve found is Better Than Bouillon’s No Chicken Base – it adds a really rich flavor (more so than vegetable broth)
  • If you don’t have a steamer basket, you can make your own by rolling up 5-6 balls of foil, placing them in the bottom of your pot, and then adding an oven-safe plate on top of the balls that your seitan loaf can sit on.

Nutrition

Serving: 1piece | Calories: 325kcal | Carbohydrates: 27g | Protein: 32g | Fat: 11g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 1mg | Sodium: 898mg | Potassium: 342mg | Fiber: 7g | Sugar: 4g

Posted In…

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All of these main dishes are vegetarian, and most have a vegan and gluten free option as well. Plan a delicious meal by pairing your plant based entree with one of my side dishes!

Try this healthy makeover of a southern classic: vegetarian black eyed peas, or skip the Taco Bell takeout and try my version of a healthier Mexican pizza instead! You can’t go wrong with these hearty black bean quinoa burgers and this healthier mac & cheese recipe too!

18 responses to “Vegan Turkey”

  1. Good Morning…This looks and sounds amazing and I am planning on making it tomorrow. Could you please tell me what the approximate size of the loaf is? I want to have it the correct size for the timing of the cooking…thanks so much. I also left this question on the facebook post where I originally saw it.

  2. I did a tofu roast one thanksgiving, this one sounds amazing can’t wait to try it. But I pressed mine between two bowl colanders and made a bowl shape then I stuffed it, inverted it on a baking sheet. It was pretty cool that way. No not my idea, but I’d like to think that if you work quickly this might shape into that as well? We do know how quickly vital gluten likes to set up on us lol, thanks for this wonderful recipe!!5 stars

  3. Can I make a larger loaf with 1 1/2 ingredients? If so, how long do I steam and how long to bake? I don’t quite need two loafs.

    • Hi Lisa! Yes, theoretically you should be able to just multiply the quantities of each of the ingredients by 1.5x and make a larger loaf. The only issue is – I’ve never tested the recipe with that quantity, so I can’t give you exact instructions on how long to steam and how long to bake! My suggestion would be to steam it for maybe 20 minutes longer, and bake it for maybe 5-10 minutes longer, and test it intermittently to ensure it’s not overcooking. You’ll have to do a little trial and error with the timing! Hope that helps!

  4. I am having my vegan friends coming for dinner, and I believe your vegan turkey will be enjoyed by all, looks amazing, thanks!5 stars

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