Top your pizza or crackers with this vegan Seitan Pepperoni, a meatless plant-based alternative made with tomato paste, soy sauce, and loads of delicious seasonings!
Meatless chicken and burgers are one thing, but meatless pepperoni? Well, that’s on a whole other level! It’s really hard to get the right consistency and texture in plant-based pepperoni using substitutes like soy or tofu. But once again, good old seitan comes to the rescue!
Thanks to its meat-like texture, it makes a rockin’ pepperoni that’s perfect for making your favorite at-home pizza or veggie Italian sandwich!
It’s not very difficult to prepare either, which makes it a must-try on your seitan journey. Let’s dive in!
Ingredients in vegan pepperoni
Making vegan pepperoni isn’t as complicated as you may think. It only takes a handful of ingredients, and many of the items are probably already in your pantry!
- Vital Wheat Gluten: The first (and main) ingredient in seitan is wheat gluten. By working the dough, we’ll develop strong gluten strands, which give this pepperoni its meaty texture!
- Water: Next, we will mix that with water to form a dough.
- Tomato Paste: Tomato paste adds both umami flavor and the classic red pepperoni color!
- Soy Sauce: Soy sauce will add a salty element (and because we’re using this, we won’t need to add salt!)
- Coconut Oil: Solid coconut oil will contribute to the texture of the pepperoni while helping everything bind together. Ensure you use solid, cold coconut oil, which will give this pepperoni those fat pockets found in traditional pepperoni.
- Seasonings: The seasonings are where homemade pepperoni really shines! You’ll need crushed red pepper flakes, ground mustard seed, smoked paprika, garlic powder, and chopped or crushed fennel seeds.
- Liquid Smoke: Last but not least, 1 tsp of liquid smoke will make this recipe complete!
How to make Seitan Pepperoni
This seitan pepperoni is a four-part recipe that begins like most seitan recipes — forming the dough. From there, we’ll shape it into two pepperoni logs, and then we’ll let it steam over water. The whole process takes 1 hour, with 15 minutes devoted to prep time.
Step 1: Create the dough
In a large bowl, stir together all of the ingredients until a ball forms. Transfer the mix 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 pepperoni
Divide the dough into 2 even pieces, and then shape each piece into a log. Each log should be about 1 inch (2.5 cm) thick. Wrap each tightly in aluminum foil, making sure the foil overlaps so it doesn’t open during cooking. Twist the ends to secure.
Step 3: Steam the logs
Bring a pot of water to a boil and place a steamer basket on top. Place the wrapped pepperoni logs in the basket. Cover and let steam for 45 minutes. Keep an eye on the water level to make sure it doesn’t all evaporate.
Step 4: Let cool & slice
Remove the pepperoni logs from the basket and gently unwrap. Transfer to the fridge and allow to cool fully, then use a sharp knife to thinly slice each log into pepperoni pieces!
Seitan Pepperoni Recipe Q&A
Use these tips for making (and enjoying!) the best meatless pepperoni ever.
Why does the coconut oil need to be solid?
Solid coconut oil is important for the final texture of the pepperoni, giving it those pockets of fat you would find in traditional pepperoni! If it’s not solid, transfer it to the fridge to cool down and harden before using it in this recipe.
How should seitan pepperoni be used?
You can use this wherever you’d use traditional pepperoni — on pizza, in sandwiches, with crackers, in your favorite meatless charcuterie board, etc.!
How do you store seitan pepperoni?
Leftover vegan seitan pepperoni can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 5 to 7 days.
Try these seitan recipes next
Now that you’ve mastered seitan pepperoni, it’s time to tackle some more seitan dishes! Here are some of my favorites including steak, burgers, and more!
Or for a similar sausage style seitan recipe, try our plant based sausage links!
- 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 coconut oil* should be solid, 50 g
- 2 tsp each crushed red pepper flakes, ground mustard seed, smoked paprika, garlic powder
- 1 tsp fennel seeds roughly crushed or chopped
- 1 tsp liquid smoke 5 mL
- Dough: In a large bowl stir together all 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: Divide into 2 even pieces, then shape each piece into a log. Each log should be about 1 inch (2.5 cm) thick. Wrap each log tightly in aluminum foil, making sure the foil overlaps so it doesn't open during cooking, then twist the ends to secure.
- Steam: Bring a pot of water with a steamer basket to a boil, then place wrapped pepperoni logs 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 pepperoni logs from the basket and gently unwrap. Transfer to the fridge and allow to cool fully, then use a sharp knife to thinly slice each log into pepperoni pieces! Use as you would traditional pepperoni (on pizza, sandwiches, or crackers!)
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