Homemade vegan turkey is the perfect entree for the holidays! This plant-based main course wonderfully replicates the taste of turkey, with rich, savoury flavours and a smoky brown sugar butter glaze that will make your mouth water.
Holiday foods are delicious and fun, but rarely vegan. That’s always a bummer for me. But thankfully I found the perfect solution: vegan turkey roast.
This plant-based turkey loaf uses white beans and vital wheat gluten (also known as seitan) as the base. The texture and the flavour are both very similar to a roasted turkey, making it a perfect headliner at Thanksgiving, Christmas, or any special occasion.
Why You’ll Love This Vegan Turkey Recipe
Here’s what makes this vegan turkey a winner:
- Made with whole food ingredients. Not a fan of highly processed vegan “meat” substitutes? I get it! This vegan turkey roast recipe only uses natural ingredients, making it a fantastic alternative to store-bought vegan turkey.
- It looks great on the plate. I mean, just look at this roast! Unlike so many faux turkey options, slices of this homemade vegan turkey are so appetizing, the meat eaters at the table are likely to dig in.
- Super affordable. You can make this vegan turkey roast for a fraction of the cost of store-bought vegan turkey substitutes. (Plus, once you have vital wheat gluten on hand, you can use it to make vegan chicken too!)
What Do Vegan People Eat on Thanksgiving?
If you’re hosting Thanksgiving and you have a vegan guest, you may wonder what to make for them. Quite honestly, you really don’t have to go out of your way—most vegans are happy to make a meal out of side dishes since there’s certainly no shortage of options!
So instead of focusing on a vegan turkey replacement, think about making side dishes without dairy, eggs, butter, and turkey drippings. If all your side dishes are vegan-friendly, there’s no need for a faux turkey—although if you do have several vegan guests at the table, this vegan turkey roast will certainly be appreciated!
Of course, it’s always a good idea to talk to your guests and find out what their expectations are and how you can accommodate their dietary needs.
How Do You Host a Vegan Thanksgiving?
Want to put together a completely vegan Thanksgiving menu? In that case, I do recommend a show-stopping main dish like this vegan turkey, or maybe vegan meatloaf or pot pies. Alongside the turkey, serve plant-based versions of your favourite holiday sides:
- Vegan Mashed Potatoes. It’s just not Thanksgiving without mashed potatoes! My Vegan Garlic Mashed Potatoes with Caramelised Onions are another excellent option. Don’t skip the vegan gravy!
- Cranberry Sauce. Canned cranberry sauce is typically vegan too, but there’s something really special about making it from scratch.
- Roasted Brussels Sprouts. The addition of maple syrup makes these extra tasty!
- Sweet Potato Casserole. This classic side has a creamy filling and irresistibly crunchy topping. Or try my Sweet Potato Souffle.
- Cornbread Stuffing. This cornbread stuffing is a Southern classic made vegan.
- Hasselback Butternut Squash. For something a little bit different, serve this impressive butternut squash for your vegan Thanksgiving celebration.
- Vegan Green Bean Casserole. Creamy, savoury, and always a welcome addition to the Thanksgiving table.
(Find more vegan Thanksgiving recipes here.)
Notes on Ingredients
Scroll down to the recipe card to find the ingredient quantities and recipe instructions.
- White beans – Like cannellini beans.
- Vegetable bouillon or water
- Nutritional yeast – Nutritional yeast adds savoury flavour.
- Garlic powder
- White miso paste – White miso adds umami to our vegan turkey.
- Fresh rosemary and sage – Two herbs traditionally used for turkey.
- Vegan chicken bouillon cube – If you can’t find vegan chicken bouillon, vegetable bouillon is fine.
- Vital wheat gluten flour
- Vegan stuffing – I used my vegan stuffing recipe.
- Poultry seasoning
For the glaze:
- Vegan butter – Store-bought or homemade vegan butter.
- Soy sauce – Tamari or liquid aminos are fine too.
- Brown sugar
- Smoked paprika
What Is Vital Wheat Gluten Flour?
One of the key ingredients in this plant-based turkey roast is the vital wheat gluten flour. Vital wheat gluten flour is the protein that is found in wheat. It’s essentially just gluten, and when added to bread recipes, it makes the bread chewier. It’s commonly used as a main ingredient in seitan, which is why it works so well in this recipe.
How to Make Vegan Turkey
This vegan turkey recipe is great for making in advance. After steaming, refrigerate the turkey until you’re ready to glaze and bake it on Thanksgiving day.
- Combine the beans and seasonings. Process the white beans, vegetable bouillon, nutritional yeast, garlic powder, miso paste, herbs, salt, and vegan chicken bouillon in a food processor until smooth.
- Finish the vegan turkey mixture. Add the vital wheat gluten flour and pulse to combine for about a minute.
- Shape. Turn out the dough onto a work surface and shape it into a long roll about 1 ½ inch diameter. Fold the roll in two and twist it like a rope, then stretch it into a 1-inch thick rectangle.
- Add the stuffing. Press the stuffing into the centre of the rectangle, shaping it into a log. Fold and close the dough, forming your turkey roast.
- Season and steam. Evenly rub the roast with a tablespoon of poultry seasoning. Wrap the roast with foil and secure it with kitchen twine. Steam for 45 minutes.
- Make the glaze. Stir together the ingredients for the glaze and let it sit while the roast is steaming to allow the sugar to dissolve.
- Glaze the vegan turkey. Let the turkey cool slightly after steaming, then unwrap it and place it in a baking pan. Brush it with half of the glaze and preheat the oven to 400ºF.
- Bake. Place the pan in the oven and bake the vegan turkey for 20 minutes, brushing it with additional glaze at the 10- and 15-minute marks. Slice and serve.
Tips for Success
Here are some additional pointers for a perfect vegan turkey.
- Make sure everything is well-incorporated. You want all the seasonings to be evenly distributed in the dough.
- Don’t over mix the dough. Once you’ve added the vital wheat gluten to the food processor, be sure not to over mix. If you over mix, you can break down the gluten in the flour. This will affect the texture of the vegan turkey.
- Make it unstuffed, if desired. Want to make this vegan turkey without stuffing in the middle? Shape it into a roll without the stuffing.
- Don’t cut it too thin. The stuffing will fall out if you try slicing the vegan turkey too thin, so I recommend slices that are about 3/4-inch thick, or even thicker.
How to Store
Store the plant-based turkey in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. You can eat it cold, or reheat it in your microwave or a 350ºF oven until warmed through.
Can I Freeze This Recipe?
Yes! This vegan turkey recipe will last in the freezer for up to 4 months. Store it in an airtight container, and thaw in the fridge before reheating according to the instructions above.
More Homemade Vegan Substitutes
- Homemade Oat Milk Creamer
- Vegan Marshmallows
- How to Make Vegan Parmesan Cheese
- Vegan Sour Cream (Creamy & Tangy)
- Vegan Heavy Cream Substitute
Enjoy friends! If you make this vegan turkey recipe, please snap a photo and tag #jessicainthekitchen on Instagram! We’d also love it if you would leave a comment below, and give the recipe a rating! Thanks so much!
- 1 15 ounce can white beans, undrained (425g)
- ¼ cup vegetable bouillon (broth) or water, 55g
- 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder
- 1 tablespoon white miso paste
- 1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
- 1 teaspoon chopped fresh sage
- ½ teaspoon salt
- Vegan chicken bouillon cube
- 1 ½ cup + 2 tablespoons vital wheat gluten flour, 240g
- 2 packed cups vegan stuffing
- 1 tablespoon poultry seasoning
For the glaze:
- 3 tablespoons vegan butter, melted
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
- Place white beans, vegetable bouillon (broth), nutritional yeast, garlic powder, miso paste, chopped rosemary and sage, salt and vegan chicken bouillon cube to the bowl of the food processor.
- Process for about one minute until smooth.
- Add vital wheat gluten flour and pulse until combined, this will take about 1 minute.
- Invert the dough onto a table or working board and shape into a long roll about 1 ½ inch diameter. Fold the roll in two and twist like a rope.
- Now stretch the dough into a rectangle, about 1 inch thick.
- Shape the stuffing into a roll in the middle of the dough rectangle.
- Fold and close the dough, forming your turkey roast.
- Now evenly rub the roast with 1 tbsp of poultry seasoning.
- Wrap with aluminum foil, fold the sides inward toward the bottom and secure it with a rope.
- Steam for 45 minutes. If you don't have an electric steamer: Fill a medium pot with 3 inches of water. Place a steamer basket into the pot, cover, and bring water to a simmer over high heat. Turn the heat to low and place your wrapped turkey to the basket. Steam for 45 minutes. If all of the water evaporates before the cooking ends add one more cup. If you don't have a steamer basket, you can place like a circular wire rack in the pot and place it on top of it.
- Combine all ingredients for the glaze, stir and let it sit while the roast is steaming to let the sugar dissolve.
- After 45 minutes let the turkey cool down slightly, remove foil and transfer to a baking pan. Brush with half of the glaze.
- Preheat the oven to 400°F/200℃ and bake for 20 minutes, removing after 10 and 15 minutes to add another layer of glaze.
- It’s ready to slice and enjoy with gravy or veggies on the side.
- You can also shape it into a roll without stuffing, steaming and glazing with the same instructions
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