This vegan pepperoni is smoky, spicy and entirely delicious. It’s perfect on sandwiches and makes the ideal topping for pizza.
Say hello to the perfect pizza topping! This vegan pepperoni is exactly what I want on my pizzas lately (and vegan cheese, of course!).
And I’m thrilled to tell you that it’s not at all difficult to make this. When you get the hang of it, you’ll be making this on the regular. It’s fun and simple and it tastes amazing.
And if you want to make more vegan ‘meats’ then check out our vegan bacon as well. It provided some of the inspo for this recipe.
What is Vegan Pepperoni Made Out Of?
We made this with vital wheat gluten aka seitan. Vital wheat gluten gives vegan ‘meats’ a chewy, meaty texture and the spices added to it are what create the pepperoni flavors.
Vital wheat gluten is also extremely high in protein so it’s a popular choice for vegan meats.
How To Make Vegan Pepperoni
- Add vital wheat gluten to a mixing bowl along with nutritional yeast, smoked paprika, onion powder, garlic powder and red pepper flakes. Mix together.
- Then add vegetable stock, canola oil, tamari, tomato paste, maple syrup, liquid smoke and dijon mustard to a bowl and whisk together before adding it in with the dry ingredients and mixing into a thick dough.
- Get in there with your hands and knead the dough for about 2 minutes until it feels firm to the touch and then form it into two logs. It will be a little difficult to form into logs and will look like it just wants to crack in places, this is fine don’t worry! It smooths out in the cooking process.
- Wrap each log in parchment paper and then foil.
- Steam in a steamer basket above boiling water for 40 minutes. Some oil residue might leak out of the pepperoni and into your steamer basket, but don’t worry about that.
TOP TIP: Wrap the pepperoni loosely (but completely) in the foil as it will expand a little during the steaming process. Also make sure the water is boiling in your pot before you add your steamer basket as it needs to steam properly for the full 40 minutes.
- After 40 minutes of steaming, move the pepperoni to the counter and let it cool (don’t unwrap) and then place into the fridge to cool completely.
- When cool, unwrap from the foil and parchment paper and you’ll see it has smoothed out quite considerably.
- Now you have vegan pepperoni that is ready to go!
Kneading the Seitan
We only kneaded this for 2 minutes, but I got Jaye to do it (strong hands) and we set a timer. So if you have strong hands then 2 minutes is enough, but if not then you may need a little longer.
Just go by the feel of it and not just the time, it needs to feel firm in your hands and not at all sticky. Kneading the dough gives this a chewy texture which is what you want in pepperoni.
How To Serve Vegan Pepperoni
Slice it up and place it on pizza and then bake it in the oven along with your pizza, it’s totally divine like this. Some vegan mozzarella also goes great with this!
Or slice it up and use it on a sandwich.
Have it for breakfast alongside a tofu scramble!
How To Store Vegan Pepperoni
Keep it stored in a container in the fridge and enjoy within around 5-6 days.
Can You Freeze Vegan Pepperoni?
Yes you can. Seitan recipes usually freeze very well and this recipe is no exception. Let it cool completely before freezing and then let it thaw overnight in the fridge and use it as usual.
Can You Make This Vegan Pepperoni Gluten Free?
Since vital wheat gluten is a crucial ingredient in this recipe it doesn’t adapt to gluten-free at all. However, if you are looking for a gluten-free vegan pepperoni recipe then try this recipe from Minimalist Baker that is based on tofu!
More Seitan Recipes
- Add the vital wheat gluten, nutritional yeast, smoked paprika, onion powder, garlic powder and red pepper flakes to a mixing bowl and mix together.
- Add the vegetable stock, canola oil, tamari, tomato paste, maple syrup, liquid smoke and dijon mustard to a bowl and whisk together and then add to the dry ingredients and mix into a thick dough.
- Knead the dough for 2 minutes until it feels firm to the touch. Break it into two pieces and form it into two sausage shaped logs. It won't be perfect at all, but just press it into the shape the best you can.
- Wrap the sausage logs in parchment paper and then in foil, don't wrap the foil too tight as the pepperoni can expand slightly when steaming.
- Steam in a steamer basket over boiling water for 40 minutes. If some oily residue appears in your steamer basket, don't worry about it, this is normal.
- Let the pepperoni cool on the countertop and then place into the fridge until chilled.
- Unwrap it from the foil and parchment paper and your vegan pepperoni is ready to be used!
- Keep leftovers in the fridge in a covered container and use within 5-6 days. It is also freezer friendly if you want to freeze it, let it thaw overnight in the fridge and then use as normal.
- You can increase the red pepper flakes if you like things spicy. As it is this recipe is only mildly spicy.
- You can likely use a different oil other than canola, but I have only tested this with canola oil.
- Tamari can be switched for soy sauce.