Vegan deli meats are something really special and this seitan pastrami is so good that it is completely worth the effort of making it. I have never found vegan pastrami in my local supermarkets so this is something I really look forward to making and eating.
Seitan Pastrami That’s Easy To Make
Pastrami is typically cured brisket with lots of black pepper and spices which is then smoked and after that steamed. It is quite laborious to make at home.
If you want vegan pastrami then you are in luck because this recipe, while still having a few steps, is really easy to make and the finished product will make the best vegan pastrami sandwich you are going to find, anywhere.
I first came across a similar recipe for pastrami in the book Beyond Seitan by Michael Skye Conroy which is one of the best books about making cold cut vegan meat substitutes. I thoroughly recommend it. I have adapted the recipe slightly to get something I think is really good.
What Ingredients Go In A Vegan Pastrami
This vegan pastrami is made from seitan which is a protein derived from wheat. You may be thinking what the hell is wheat protein, well it is called wheat gluten.
Vital Wheat Gluten
Vital wheat gluten is now available widely and is available in most supermarkets now so you should be able to pick it up wherever you live. Vital wheat gluten is a flour just like regular all-purpose flour but it has been processed and most of the carbohydrates have been removed leaving just the protein behind.
This is the base of our pastrami and it means that this seitan pastrami is going to be really high in protein.
Flavourings & Spices
We know that beef pastrami is flavoured with a lot of spices and herbs and we can utilise these in just the same way to flavour our seitan pastrami. We also need to recreate some of the flavours to make our seitan taste meatier to really simulate beef pastrami.
Ingredients such as miso, onion powder, garlic powder and soy sauce are rich in glutamates and bold flavours that will bring some of that sense of meatiness to our pastrami.
We then have the spices to bring that pastrami flavour which is a good amount of black peppercorns, liquid smoke, allspice and mustard.
Pastrami is a cured beef brisket and has a deep red hue. Seitan on its own is typically pale to light brown when cooked so if we really want to simulate the colour of pastrami we need to introduce a colouring to essentially dye the seitan.
Rather than using artificial colouring, we can use an ingredient such as beetroot. You can use either cooked beetroot or I like to use beetroot powder which is essentially dehydrated beets that have been ground into a powder. 1 or 2 teaspoons is all you need to make this pastrami.
Shaping & Cooking The Seitan Pastrami
Our pastrami is going to be made from seitan or wheat gluten which has a tendency to expand when cooked.
To prevent this from happening and keep the texture nice and firm we can wrap the seitan tightly in foil. Wrapping in foil two or three times will prevent holes from forming and prevent a spongy texture as well as keeping the general shape we want.
Pastrami is usually a slab shape. A 1 or 2-inch thick slab so when we shape the seitan in the foil we want to keep these proportions, then when it is sliced we will have nice slices.
It is important not to cook the pastrami at too high of a temperature. If cooked too high the pastrami will lose its meaty texture and become spongy.
It is best to cook the pastrami with the fan off in the oven at a temperature of 165°C / 330°F.
Keeping the fan off in a convection oven will slow the cooking down so the texture remains firm and dense.
Marinate The Pastrami After Cooking
When you come to make this seitan pastrami you will notice it is pale, tan coloured and not the deep pink/red that pastrami is.
To add the colour and the smoke we are going to slice and marinate the pastrami.
Making a simple marinade with water, liquid smoke, salt and beet powder we can get both the flavour and colour absolutely spot on. The pastrami can sit marinating for just an hour or overnight in the fridge and that is all that’s needed.
- 150g vital wheat flour
- 2 tbsp chickpea flour
- 1 tbsp nutritional yeast
- 1 tbsp onion powder
- 2 tsp vegan beef broth powder
- 2 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- 1/2 tsp mustard powder
- 1/4 tsp ground allspice
- 240ml water
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tbsp miso paste
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 tsp coarsely cracked black pepper
- 240ml water
- 2 tbsp liquid smoke
- 1 tbsp brown sugar
- 1 tsp salt
- 1.5tsp beet powder
- Heat an oven with the fan switched off to 165°C / 330°F.
- Combine all the dry ingredients in a large bowl and the wet ingredients in a smaller bowl and mix each thoroughly
- Add the wet ingredients to the dry and combine thoroughly. Knead the dough for 1 - 2 minutes to work the gluten and ensure everything is well combined.
- Tear an 18-inch square piece of foil on the counter and place the dough into the centre. Tuck and fold the dough into a rough square about 4 x 6 inches square and 1 - 2 inches thick.
- Dust the seitan pastrami with half the cracked black pepper, turn the seitan and dust the other side.
- Tightly wrap the seitan trying to retain the shape and fold the ends of the foil to seal it. Place on another sheet of foil and double wrap the pastrami.
- Place the pastrami directly on the oven rack and bake for 90 minutes. Turn halfway through to ensure even cooking.
- Combine the ingredients for the marinade in a bowl and mix thoroughly, set to one side.
- Once the pastrami has cooled enough to handle unwrap it and slice as thinly as possible. I use a serrated knife for this and it works quite well.
- Place the seitan pastrami in a food bag and then add the marinade. Set in the fridge for at least an hour or overnight for best results.
- Remove the pastrami from the bag and pat dry with towels. It is now ready to use either cold or heated in a pan with oil for a minute or so.
Store in the fridge for up to a week.
Serving Size:1 slice
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 30Total Fat: 1gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 239mgCarbohydrates: 5gFiber: 0gSugar: 1gProtein: 1g