In my kitchen, autumn means roasting! This vegan centerpiece takes some time to prepare — just like Mom’s nonvegan roasts, of days past — but the hearty deliciousness makes it time well spent. Reach for this recipe to impress company at special events, holidays, or dinner parties; or use it as a make-ahead staple for sandwiches, wraps, and stews throughout the week. You’ll also get to enjoy a warm, cozy, delicious-smelling kitchen at no extra charge!
Hearty dark broth:
- 6 cups warm water
- 1 tablespoon vegan unbeef soup base (such as Better Than Bullion)
- 1/4 cup dry red wine
- 4 tablespoons Bragg’s liquid aminos (or organic soy sauce)
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon vegan Worcestershire sauce
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
- 3 cups vital wheat gluten
- 1 cup unbleached all purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
- few shakes coarsely ground black pepper
- 2-4 potatoes chunked or thickly sliced, peeled if desired
- 4-6 garlic cloves, peeled and finely sliced
- 1-2 onions, cut in eights
- 2-4 carrots, chunked or thickly sliced
- 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon salt, to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper, to taste
- fresh or dried parsley, to garnish
Preheat oven to 325 degrees Farenheit. Oil a 10″ x 14″ casserole dish well, or line just the bottom (not the sides) of the pan with parchment paper.
Mix up the broth: combine water, bouillon, red wine, Bragg’s (or soy sauce), olive oil, Worcestershire sauce, black pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder in a large bowl or pitcher.
Prepare gluten mixture: in a large mixing bowl, combine gluten flour, all purpose flour, nutritional yeast, and black pepper, stirring well.
Add broth 1/2 cup at a time to the flour mixture, kneading gently until all ingredients are wet and it forms a soft dough. It’s not like bread dough: just knead it enough to get everything combined, and then stop; don’t overdo it. If you end up adding more broth than the dough can absorb, just pour it back into the broth mixture.
Let the dough rest after initial mixing/light kneading, for about 5 minutes. Lightly re-knead dough, forming it into a long French bread loaf shape. Pour about 1/2 of the remaining broth into the pan, place roast dough into pan, then pour the rest of the broth over it.
Bake 30 minutes, loosen the bottom of the roast from the pan with a spatula, and bake for 30 more minutes. Using 2 spatulas, carefully turn roast over; bake 30 minutes, turn it again, and bake 30-45 more minutes.
While the roast is baking, toss potatoes, garlic, onions, and carrots with balsamic vinegar, olive oil, salt, and pepper.
After 2 to 2-1/4 hours cooking time, remove roast pan from oven. Turn roast once more. Pour veggies all over and around roast, return to oven, and cook for another 45 minutes to 1 hour, for a total cooking time of 3 hours. Uncover veggies from roast, and sprinkle with fresh or dried parsley. Serve with vegan steak sauce or gravy, if desired, and good warm bread.
This recipe is very versatile, as long as you keep the gluten mixture and broth proportions consistent — you can use any broth you like, and any combination of root veggies. If you don’t have vegan unbeef bouillon, double the Worcestershire and us a bit more Bragg’s (or soy sauce) than called for in the broth recipe given; or use any home-made or commercially available dark, hearty soup base or broth (such as mushroom broth) that tastes good to you.
Try an unchicken bouillon (or 6 cups veggie broth, 1-1/2 teaspoons poultry seasoning, 2 tablespoons real maple syrup, 2 tablespoons dry white wine or vermouth, 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, and salt to taste) for a more traditional Thanksgiving style roast; if you like, surround the roast with stuffing instead of root veggies during the last 30 minutes of cooking time.
Parchment paper works well for preventing sticking, but it must lie flat on the bottom of the pan or it interferes with broth absorption and ease of turning roast. Trim it to be just a bit smaller than the bottom of the pan, if you’re using parchment paper versus oil to prevent sticking.
Leftovers make great sandwiches, hearty stews, and excellent vegan hot ‘wings’ or barbecue riblets.
Store in refrigerator for up to a week; for longer storage, cover roast slices in broth and freeze in an air-tight container.
Makes: enough to feed 6-8 hungry people, with leftovers. Preparation time: 20 minutes. Cooking time: 3 hours.
Image by the author.