COLORADO, USA — Whether you're vegetarian or vegan, or are cooking Thanksgiving dinner for someone who is, there's no reason to sacrifice that picture-perfect centerpiece on the big day. 

This vegan roast checks all the boxes - it's stuffed with meaty shiitake mushrooms and leeks and is bursting with the classic Thanksgiving flavors of fresh herbs and garlic. The addition of pinto beans helps give the seitan a thick, juicy texture and the bread crumbs help to keep the stuffing from ending up all over your plate.

The gravy is the perfect topper, adding notes of earthy mushrooms, onions and white wine. 

One roast will easily feed 6-8 people.

Vegan Thanksgiving roast with mushroom gravy
KUSA

Before you get started, here are a few helpful tips to make sure your roast comes out perfect:

  • The type of veggie broth you use is critical. Low-quality broth will give you a sub-par roast. If you can't make it homemade, my favorite option by far is the "Better Than Bouillon" line of bases. I used the Seasoned Vegetable Base in this recipe, but they also make a vegan 'No Chicken' base that's supposed to be unreal if you can find it.
  • Be sure to spoon broth over the roast before serving to keep it from drying out.
  • As a general rule, if you're using fresh herbs instead of dried, use three times the amount.
  • To reheat leftovers, preheat an oven to 350 F and cook for 20 minutes, using plenty of broth to keep the roast from getting too dry.

Ingredients for the filling:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 6 oz shiitake mushrooms, rough ends removed and thinly sliced
  • 2 leeks (white and light green parts only), cut into thin half moons
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Black pepper
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons fresh chopped thyme
  • 1/4 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 cup vegetable broth
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

Ingredients for the roast:

  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 3/4 cup cooked pinto beans
  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable broth
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cups vital wheat gluten
  • 1/3 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds, crushed or finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme, crushed between your fingers
  • 1 teaspoon dried sage, crushed between your fingers
  • Several dashes fresh black pepper

First, prepare the filling:

  1. In a large (preferably cast iron) pan over medium heat, sauté the mushrooms and leeks in olive oil until soft, about 10 minutes.
  2. Add salt, pepper, garlic and thyme. Cook for about 2 more minutes, stirring often.
  3. Add breadcrumbs and stir until the mixture is coated. Continue to cook, stirring very often, until the breadcrumbs are toasted and the mixture is relatively dry, approximately 5 minutes.
  4. Add broth and lemon juice and stir to coat. Feel free to add a little extra olive oil if the mixture appears too dry. Set aside.

Now, start on the roast:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 F. In a food processor or blender, add chopped garlic, pinto beans, broth, olive oil and soy sauce. Puree until smooth.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, mix together wheat gluten, nutritional yeast, fennel, paprika, thyme, sage and pepper.
  3. Make a well in the center and stir in the blended mixture until a ball of dough forms. Knead until everything is well incorporated.
  4. Dust a flat surface with some flour or wheat gluten and roll the seitan into a roughly 12x10 rectangle. Use a pinch of dough from the ends to repair any holes.
  5. Spoon the filling onto the lower 1/3 of the seitan rectangle, leaving about 2 inches of space at both ends. Make sure the filling is in a nice, tight bundle.
  6. Roll the bottom part of the seitan up and over the filling. Finish rolling into a log shape, pinching together the seam and sides to seal it off.
  7. Place two pieces of tin foil (about 18 inches long) horizontally in front of you, with the sheet further from you overlapping the closer sheet by about 6 inches.
  8. Make a tootsie roll! Place the seitan roll in the center of the tin foil and roll it up, twisting off the ends of the foil to make sure everything is nice and tight. Place the roll on a baking sheet and bake for 60-90 minutes, rotating every 20 minutes for even cooking. The roast should feel very firm once it has finished cooking.
  9. Remove from oven and let cool. Unwrap, slice and serve with gravy and all your favorite Thanksgiving sides!
Vegan Thanksgiving roast with mushroom gravy
KUSA

For the perfect vegan-friendly gravy to serve with this roast, check out this recipe.

Recipes inspired by Isa Chandra Moskowitz at Post Punk Kitchen.

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