DIY Vegan Pepperoni

If you recall from my last post, I was shorted one pepperoni in my Big Box of Plant-Based Meat order from The Very Good Butchers. When I alerted the company, I was hoping they’d send me the missing sausage lickety-split. They did respond quickly, but with a refund for the missing item, rather than another pepperoni. Oh, they also gave me a discount code for future orders–pretty sweet!

However, I am now almost pepperoni-less, and it’s the item we’ve liked best so far. I’d order another couple, but they’re currently taking four to five weeks to fulfill orders.

So I decided to take a whack at making my own pepperoni. To this end, I read through every vegan pepperoni recipe on the web and went through all my vegan cookbooks to come up with just the right one. I was hoping to find a recipe that included beans and did not include oil. Unfortunately, I did not find one that fit the bill, but I did find one–from–that is very well reviewed, so I made a few adjustments and had at it.

Update: After making this recipes a few times, I watched a Gaz Oakley video where he added crumbled tofu to the dough, so I’ve started doing that too. I love the result in terms of the look and the texture, but I also love that the recipe now contains beans, which I was striving for in the first place because, if you recall…

A 3-ounce serving usually contains between 15 and 21 grams of protein, which is roughly equivalent to animal proteins like chicken or beef. However, while seitan is high in protein, it does not contain enough of the amino acid lysine to meet your body’s needs. Since it is low in lysine, an essential amino acid that humans must get from food, seitan is not considered a complete protein. But many vegans and vegetarians easily solve this problem by eating lysine-rich foods, such as beans, in order to meet their needs.” –from “Is Seitan Healthy?” Healthline

So…on to my recipe!

My adjustments: I used broth, rather than water; I cut down the fennel by 1/2 teaspoon and omitted the aniseed; I used red chilli flakes, rather than cayenne; I added vegan Worcestershire powder and BTB for a greater umami taste, and I subbed soy sauce for liquid aminos. Finally, I subbed tahini for oil. I also decided to steam the sausages in the Instant Pot for thirty-five minutes, rather than bake for ninety. Most of the other recipes I found online recommended steaming and one of the reviewers of the Allrecipes recipe said she’d steamed it in the IP, so I figured I’d give it a go.

Vegan Pepperoni

  • 1 ½ cups vital wheat gluten
  • ¼ cup nutritional yeast
  • 2 tsp dry mustard
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp fennel seed
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp chili flakes
  • 2 tsp vegan Worcestershire powder
  • ½ tsp sugar
  • ¾ cup vegetable broth
  • 1.5 tsp Better Than Bouillon Vegetable Base
  • ¼ cup tomato paste (or Sambal Oelek if you like it hot…or half and half)
  • 2 TBS tahini
  • 2 TBS soy sauce
  • 2 tsp liquid smoke
  • 125 grams crumbled firm tofu (optional, but gives great texture!)

Mix the dry ingredients together…

Add the wet ingredients. At this point, you can crumble 125 grams of crumbled tofu into the mixture to give the pepperoni texture and mimic the fat globules in regular pepperoni. The tofu isn’t necessary, but I got the idea from a Gaz Oakley video. His recipe is quite different from mine, but I think adding the crumbled tofu is brilliant!

Mix in a stand mixer until no dry flour is evident.

Let sit for about ten minutes and then knead with the mixture for five minutes. Shape into three sausages of about 200 grams each.

I know what this looks like, okay?!!

Wrap tightly in parchment paper…

…and then tightly in foil.

Steam in the Instant Pot for thirty-five minutes.

The IP comes to pressure quicker if you start the water boiling early with the “saute” button!

As soon as the little packages are cool enough to open, you can slice them up and devour on a charcuterie table or use as a pizza topping!

It slices very nicely!

And this is what the pepperoni looks like if you add the crumbled tofu:

Vegan Pepperoni with Crumbled Tofu added

We had a few slices with our preprandial snack today at four…along with the last few slices of The Very Good Butchers’ pepperoni…

The recipe made three 200-gram pepperonis, so I’ll freeze a couple to have on hand for pizzas and snacks. This is one of the easiest seitan recipes I’ve ever made, and, best of all, everything gets thrown in the stand mixing bowl, so the dishes are minimal! It’s also pretty cheap–I made three pepperonis for about $4-worth of ingredients!

And the song of the day is The 1975’s “Loving Someone”…

3 thoughts on “DIY Vegan Pepperoni

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