Corned Beef Seitan

Slice up this corned beef style seitan and pile it high on a vegan Reuben or your favorite sandwich. This is an updated recipe prepared with tofu! For the original version (made with kidney beans), check out my Corned Beef Seitan YouTube video, linked in the notes.

This Corned Beef Seitan is the perfect meat substitute for all of your Reuben-making needs. Whether it’s St. Patrick’s Day or you’re just craving a big old sandwich, stack slices of this vegan corned beef as high as you’d like and enjoy.

This recipe is actually made with a blend of vital wheat gluten (this is what makes up pure seitan) and tofu. I use this combo as a base for all different kinds of vegan cold cuts because the blend of proteins gives the final product the perfect texture!

Ingredients for Corned Beef Seitan

  • Extra-firm tofu: This seitan is a blend of proteins from tofu and vital wheat gluten. Adding tofu lends a superior texture to the deli meat (in my opinion), since pure seitan can be quite dry and rubbery on its own. Tofu makes it a little more tender. For this recipe, there’s no need to press your tofu ahead of time, as the water is figured into the recipe!
  • Onion powder, garlic powder, paprika: Makes the seitan flavorful and savory.
  • Pickling spices: Mustard, coriander, allspice, ginger, and cloves.
  • Nutritional yeast: For extra savory.
  • Tomato paste: Adds extra flavor and a little sweetness.
  • Beef style bouillon: To put the “beef” flavor in the corned beef! It boosts the umami in this seitan. You can use regular vegetable broth if you like, but it won’t be quite as savory.
  • Olive oil or other neutral oil: Keeps the seitan moist. Can be omitted but I prefer the texture with a little bit!
  • Vital wheat gluten: This is the pure protein from wheat. You can buy it online or at a health food store.
  • Optional: Add in some raw beet for the red color!

How to Make Corned Beef Seitan

Make the Dough

  • Drain tofu and add to a food processor. (It’s not necessary to press it first. The liquid is figured into the recipe.)
  • Add all remaining ingredients EXCEPT for the vital wheat gluten and purée until smooth. Scrape down the food processor as needed to ensure everything is evenly blended.
  • Add in vital wheat gluten and process until mixture comes together in mostly one mass.

Shape the Dough

  • Shape the seitan into a log. Wrap it first with parchment and then tightly with aluminum foil, twisting the ends like a tootsie roll.

Bake the Seitan

  • Bake in preheated oven for 1 hour, flipping the log over at the halfway point.

Slice It Up

  • Allow seitan to cool for at least an hour before unwrapping. If you let it chill in the fridge fully, it will firm up and be easier to slice thinly for sandwiches.
  • Once it’s cool, you can thinly slice it and store it in the fridge in an airtight container and use it for sandwiches for the next few days.

Can this be made gluten-free?

This is a question we receive often about this recipe and the answer is unfortunately, no. Vital wheat gluten is the protein found in wheat. Since it comprises roughly half of the protein structure of this recipe, it cannot be left out. This recipe is inherently gluten-reliant.

Serving Suggestions

Our favorite way to enjoy this Corned Beef Seitan is to thinly slice it and pile it high on a Reuben sandwich. Melt some vegan Swiss cheese over your sliced seitan, load it onto a slice of rye bread, layer on some Russian dressing, pile on some sauerkraut, top it with another slice of rye, and toast it up on a griddle until it’s all warm and melty.

If you’re feeling fancy, you can enjoy with a cold pint of Guinness (which is now vegan!) and have yourself a proper pub meal right at home.

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Corned Beef Seitan

Slice up this corned beef style seitan and pile it high on a vegan Reuben or your favorite sandwich. This is an updated recipe prepared with tofu! For the original version (made with kidney beans), check out my Corned Beef Seitan YouTube video, linked in the notes.
Course Seitan
Cuisine Vegan
Keyword high-protein, seitan, tofu
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Author Sarah Sullivan

Equipment

  • food processor
  • aluminum foil
  • parchment

Ingredients

  • 1 (14 oz) package extra-firm tofu
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon paprika or smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground mustard, or 1 tablespoon prepared mustard
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 cups nutritional yeast
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 1/2 cubes Beef style bouillon (or 1 tablespoon bouillon paste; see notes)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (or more, if using low-sodium broth)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil or other neutral oil
  • 1 1/2 cups vital wheat gluten

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350°F.
  • Drain tofu and add to a food processor. (It's not necessary to press it first. The liquid is figured into the recipe.)
  • Add all remaining ingredients EXCEPT for the vital wheat gluten and purée until smooth. Scrape down the food processor as needed to ensure everything is evenly blended.
  • Add in vital wheat gluten and process until mixture comes together in mostly one mass, effectively cleaning the sides of the food processor. This can take a few minutes. If the mixture seems overly wet and is sticking to the sides of the processor, add in extra vital wheat gluten 2 tablespoons at a time until the right texture is achieved. It should be firm enough that it springs back quickly and does not hold an indentation when poked.
  • Shape the seitan into a log. Wrap it first with parchment and then tightly with aluminum foil, twisting the ends like a tootsie roll.
  • Bake in preheated oven for 1 hour, flipping the log over at the halfway point.
  • Allow seitan to cool for at least an hour before unwrapping. If you let it chill in the fridge fully, it will firm up and be easier to slice thinly for sandwiches.

Video

Notes

Beef-style bouillon: I like the bouillon cubes by Edward and Sons or the paste from Better Than Bouillon. Whatever you use, you will want to add the same quantity you would need to make 3 cups broth. (So, 1 1/2 cubes or 1 tablespoon of Better Than Bouillon. It may vary for another brand.)
Original recipe (with kidney beans): This recipe was updated March 2023 to use tofu instead of kidney beans. I believe the tofu gives the seitan a better texture. The old recipe is still available in the description of my Corned Beef Seitan YouTube video, linked here.
Did you make this recipe?We’d love for you to leave a review on the website! You can also share a photo on IG and tag @SarahsVeganKitchen_ or #sarahsvegankitchen.