Vegan Seitan Turkey

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Vegan recipes for Thanksgiving. You can have your faux meat and feel good about eating it, too. Here's a recipe for vegan turkey.
Thanksgiving is notorious for causing the consumption of massive amounts of food and in a day known for eating, no food is more iconic than turkey. However, the very fact that turkey (and dressing, gravy, etc., which are made from turkey) is so prevalent on Thanksgiving makes the holiday difficult for those who do not eat meat.

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Over the past few years, the solution to this problem has been to create faux meat alternatives to turkey such as tofu turkey, tofurkey, field roast, etc. The problem is that these "meats" are not always all they're cracked up to be. They are often made from crops of genetically modified organisms (GMO), chemically denatured proteins, and other artificial ingredients that can negate the health effects of the meatless diet.

The good news is that you can have your faux meat and feel good about eating it, too. You will just have to make it yourself instead of taking it out of a box. Still, when you think about it, is that really a bad thing?

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How are we going to go about making a meatless turkey? We are going to call on seitan (pronounced like the dark lord of hell, "Satan")! Seitan is a meat replacement that has been around for thousands of years and also goes by the name Buddha food or wheat meat. At its most basic, seitan is just a high protein dough made from vital wheat gluten and other flours that has the texture of meat. If you season and cook it properly, it can taste like almost anything...including turkey.

Vegan Seitan Turkey

When you make this recipe, a KitchenAid mixer will make the mixing easier. If you don't have one, you will definitely have a tired arm or two.

  • 1 cup vital wheat gluten flour
  • 1 cup garbanzo bean flour
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • 1/4 vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons dried thyme
  • 2 tablespoons garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons salt plus more for the water
  • 2 teaspoons pepper
  • Cooking spray

  1. In a mixing bowl, mix all of the ingredients except the cooking spray and lightly stir with a fork to make sure they are well incorporated. Then, turn your mixer on medium and let it knead the dough for 10 minutes. If you don't have a mixer, knead the dough for at least 15 minutes.
  2. After 10 minutes, you should have something that looks kind of like dry bread dough or even a child's Play Doh. At this point, you can slice the seitan into strips, sauté, and serve; however, because this is a turkey-centric holiday, let's keep working the seitan so it appears a bit more like a real turkey.
  3. Next, shape the dough into a circle as best you can and bring some salted water to boil over high heat; boil the seitan for 15 minutes, or until it is cooked all the way through. The resulting dough should be soggy and gross looking. In fact, it should look like something for Halloween, not Turkey Day! Fortunately, we are not done.
  4. The last step in the process is what will make the seitan look like a proper turkey. With a sharp knife, cut the dough into pieces that look like boneless, skinless breasts and put them on a greased cookie sheet. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F and cook the seitan for 20 minutes or until firm.