Learn how to make Vegan Corned Beef, a protein-rich meat alternative with an eerily similar texture to the “real” thing! Made with tomato paste, liquid smoke, and even cinnamon.
Next up for our Irish series we’re making Seitan Corned Beef, the perfect addition to any sandwich or casserole!
This seitan corned beef is made much like our other seitan recipes, through creating a gluten and water mixture and kneading into dough. It’s steamed (like seitan pepperoni!), and rubbed with a delicious blend of spices.
Wondering how to use your delicious meatless corned beef? There are tons of options! Use it in soup for a hearty, protein-rich addition, toss it in casserole, slice it up and eat it alongside veggies, or place it atop rye bread with cheese and sauerkraut for a classic Reuben sandwich!
Vegan Corned Beef Ingredients
Seitan corned beef is made with a blend of gluten wheat and water, the same way we start all of our seitan recipes! For flavorings, we’ll use tomato paste, nutritional yeast, soy sauce, and various spices.
- Gluten: First, you will need 1½ cups of vital wheat gluten to create the seitan base. Gluten creates a chewy texture that helps to replicate the texture of meat!
- Water: The gluten will be mixed with ½ cup of water.
- Tomato Paste: Add ¼ cup of tomato paste to give the seitan savory umami flavor (along with a rich red color).
- Soy Sauce: Next, add in ¼ cup of soy sauce for a salty element.
- Nutritional Yeast: ¼ cup of nutritional yeast will be add even more savory flavor.
- Coconut Oil: Add ¼ cup of coconut oil, ensuring that it is solid and not melted. The solid coconut oil will give the corned “beef” little fat pockets, helping to replicate real meat.
- Liquid Smoke: 1 tsp of liquid smoke transforms the flavor of the dough. Pick it up in most grocery stores or online!
- Seasonings: Season with 1 tsp each of salt, garlic powder, onion powder, ground mustard seed, and ground black pepper, and ⅛ tsp of ground cinnamon.
The spice rub is made from a blend of brown sugar, smoked paprika, ground black pepper, and ground coriander seed. Use 1 tsp of each!
How to make seitan corned beef
Seitan corned beef is made by first creating the seitan dough using wheat gluten and water. From there, shape the dough, season with the spice rub, steam, and slice!
Step 1: Create the dough
In a large bowl, stir together all of the dough ingredients until a ball forms.
Transfer the dough to a clean surface and knead for about 5 minutes, or until the dough is elastic and cohesive. It will still be lumpy, which is okay.
Step 2: Shape the dough
Shape the dough into a rectangle. The thicker it is, the taller the slices will be. Combine all of the spice rub ingredients in a separate bowl, and then rub them to coat the entire loaf. Wrap the loaf tightly in aluminum foil, making sure the foil overlaps so it doesn’t open during cooking. Shape it as best as possible into a neat rectangle. The seitan will take on the shape of the foil packet as it steams.
Step 3: Steam the seitan
Bring a pot of water with a steamer basket to a boil, and then place the wrapped loaf into the basket. Cover and let steam for 45 minutes. Keep an eye on the water level to make sure the water doesn’t evaporate.
Step 4: Cool and slice
Remove the loaf from the basket and gently unwrap. Transfer the seitan to the fridge and allow it to cool (1 to 8 hours), then use a sharp knife to thinly slice into corned beef.
Solid Coconut Oil
Be sure to use solid coconut oil in making your seitan. This is specified because it contributes to the finished texture of your dish. If it’s not solid, transfer it to the fridge to cool down before using in your recipe.
Storing Corned Beef
Have leftovers? They can be kept in an airtight container in the fridge and will stay good for 5-7 days.
Make a Reuben!
This Vegan Corned Beef is best served on a Reuben Sandwich! Just stack the slices onto rye bread, drizzle with thousand island dressing, top with sauerkraut, and cook on the stove until cheese gets all melty and delicious (full instructions here).
More Recipes Using Seitan
Want to perfect your seitan making skills? Try some more of these recipes featuring the tasty meat alternative!
- 1 ½ cups vital wheat gluten 180 g
- ½ cup water 120 mL
- ¼ cup tomato paste 50 g
- ¼ cup soy sauce 60 mL
- ¼ cup nutritional yeast 15 g
- ¼ cup coconut oil* should be solid 50 g
- 1 tsp liquid smoke 5 mL
- 1 tsp each salt, garlic powder, onion powder, ground mustard seed, ground black pepper
- ⅛ tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp each brown sugar, smoked paprika, ground black pepper, ground coriander seed
- Dough: In a large bowl stir together all Dough ingredients until a ball forms. Transfer to a clean surface and knead for about 5 minutes, or until dough is elastic and cohesive (it will still be lumpy, that's okay!)
- Shape: Shape dough into a rectangle – the thicker it is, the taller your slices will be. Combine all Spice Rub ingredients in a separate bowl, then rub to coat the entire loaf. Wrap the loaf tightly in aluminum foil, making sure the foil overlaps so it doesn't open during cooking. Shape it as best as possible into a neat rectangle – the seitan will take on the shape of the foil packet as it steams!
- Steam: Bring a pot of water with a steamer basket to a boil, then place wrapped loaf into the basket. Cover and let steam for 45 minutes. (Keep an eye on the water level to make sure water doesn't all evaporate.)
- Cool: Remove loaf from the basket and gently unwrap. Transfer to the fridge and allow to cool (1 to 8 hours), then use a sharp knife to thinly slice into corned beef!