Vegan pepperoni is easy to make at home and tastes so good you'll find yourself snacking on it straight out of the fridge! Of course it also makes seriously epic vegan pepperoni pizza, snack boards, and sandwiches.
Why You'll Love It
If you love the spicy, over-the-top flavor of pepperoni you're going to LOVE this seitan version. With paprika, fennel, garlic, cayenne, and black pepper, the only things missing from this vegan pepperoni are cruelty and loads of fat!
Those are TWO huge reasons to love it. We also love that it's seriously easy to prepare and can be used in so many different ways.
Enjoy this vegan pepperoni...
- on pizza
- tucked into wraps, sandwiches, and calzones
- alongside your favorite vegan cheeses and crackers on a beautiful, cruelty-free charcuterie board!
- on top of baked potatoes
- sliced and added to salads
- and layered into quesadillas and taquitos!
Whether you eat this pepperoni cold or hot, the flavor and texture are so satisfying.
What is seitan?
The base of this vegan pepperoni is seitan, or wheat gluten. Did you know that vegetarian Buddhists were enjoying wheat gluten as far back as the 6th century? It's true! The process is thought to have either been developed by Buddhist monks or by chefs who prepared food for Chinese emperors during their annual, week-long observation of vegetarianism.
So while the word "gluten" has taken on a negative connotation in today's world, it's really not a strange food at all (though it should certainly be avoided by anyone with Celiac disease or gluten sensitivity).
Seitan is made by washing wheat flour under water until all of the starches have washed away, leaving behind the protein. In fact, there was recently a viral TikTok video showing the "wash the flour" method.
While people all over social media are having their minds blown by the meaty result of washing wheat flour, vegans everywhere are like, "Umm helloooo, this is seitan, y'all. We've been telling you for years how awesome this stuff is!"
Some people still prefer to do the washing process themselves, but thankfully, it's now easy to find dried vital what gluten in stores, which makes homemade seitan much easier.
Starting with vital wheat gluten also makes it possible to build a lot of flavor into the dough, like we're doing with this seitan pepperoni.
How To Make Vegan Pepperoni
Of all of my seitan recipes, this is probably one of the easiest. The dough can be made in a food processor or by hand in a mixing bowl. And it can be steamed in the Instant Pot OR baked in the oven.
Here's a quick step-by-step look at the process. Be sure to scroll down for the full recipe.
1. Using a spice grinder or a mortar and pestle, partially grind the fennel seeds.
2. In a food processor or large mixing bowl, combine the dry ingredients.
3. Add the wet ingredients and mix/blend until a dough forms.
4. Move the dough to a flat work surface and knead until it feels firm. This won't take long if you used a food processor. If you made the dough in a bowl, you'll want to knead it longer, about 2 or 3 minutes. Divide the pepperoni dough in half.
5. Roll each piece of dough into a log that's about 5 to 5 ½ inches long. Place a square of aluminum foil on the work surface, and place a smaller piece of parchment on top. Wrap each log of dough as tightly as possible, twisting the ends like a candy wrapper. Heave duty foil works really well since it's less likely to tear; the parchment also helps to reinforce it.
6. Now you're ready to cook the pepperoni!
For the Instant Pot, add 1 cup of water, and place the trivet inside. Place the foil packages on the trivet. Secure the Instant Pot lid. Using the steam function, cook for 30 minutes, followed by a quick release of the pressure.
To bake the pepperoni, place on a baking sheet, and bake in a preheated 325 degree oven for 1 hour, flipping them at the halfway point.
Healthy is a fairly subjective term, but I will say this: compared to pepperoni made from a pig's flesh that's loaded with sodium and nitrates? Yeah, this is healthy.
Sorry, but since this is a seitan-based recipe it is the exact opposite of gluten-free. But you could always take these spices and seasonings and add them to tofu, tempeh, or soy curls for a gluten-free treat that will have the same flavor.
No, seitan pepperoni is not greasy. The amount of fat you can add to seitan dough is limited because it interrupts the formation of gluten. So adding too much oil will make the seitan fall apart. This means that seitan pepperoni is lower in fat and also more dry. See the next question for an important tip!
Absolutely! To prevent the seitan from drying out in the oven you'll want to marinate the slices in a bit of oil first, or simply spritz the pepperoni with oil once it's on the pizza.
As I mentioned above, the tasty ways to use vegan pepperoni are limited only by your imagination! Slice it or chop it. Enjoy it straight from the fridge or in hot recipes.
It's especially perfect for snack boards, pizza, sandwiches.
If you try the recipe I would love to hear from you. Leave a comment below to let us know!
More seitan recipes:
Vegan Pepperoni (Instant Pot or Oven)
- 1 ¼ cups vital wheat gluten
- ¼ cup nutritional yeast
- 2 tablespoons oat flour or other flour of choice
- 1 tablespoon paprika
- 2 ½ teaspoons fennel seed, lightly crushed See Notes.
- 1 ½ teaspoons red pepper flakes
- 1 ½ teaspoons garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 ½ teaspoons fine sea salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- ⅛ teaspoon cayenne Can omit for less spiciness.
- ⅛ teaspoon allspice, optional
- 1 ½ tablespoons neutral cooking oil, such as grapeseed
- 1 ½ tablespoons mustard, yellow or stoneground
- 1 ½ tablespoons soy sauce or tamari
- 1 ½ tablespoons maple syrup
- 2 teaspoons liquid smoke
- ½ cup water
- Tear off two pieces of aluminum foil, each about 12 inches long. Also tear/cut two smaller pieces of parchment paper just large enough to wrap around each log of pepperoni. If baking the pepperoni, preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
- In a food processor or a large bowl, mix together the dry ingredients. Add the wet ingredients and pulse or stir to combine. If using a food processor, let it run for about 30 seconds or until the dough comes together in a ball. Transfer the dough to a work surface and knead until smooth and firm, about 30 seconds for dough made in a food processor or 2 to 3 minutes for dough made in a bowl.
- Cut the dough in half, and shape each piece into a log about 5 ½-inches long. It's okay if they don't look perfect. They'll snap into place inside the foil. Place a piece of foil on the work surface, and place a piece of parchment on top near the edge closest to you. Wrap the pepperoni up tightly, twisting the ends like a candy wrapper.
- Instant Pot instructions: Add 1 cup water to the insert and place the trivet inside. Place the two foil packages on the trivet, and secure the lid. Press the "steam" button, and make sure the display reads "high" (if applicable for your IP). Set the time for 30 minutes. Some pressure will build but not as much as during pressure cooking. When the IP beeps that the time is done, carefully quick release the pressure, remove the lid, and use tongs or an oven mitt to move the pepperoni to a plate or cutting board to cool. Unwrap and let cool for 5 minutes before slicing, or cool completely then store in an air-tight container in the refrigerator.Oven instructions: Place the two foil logs on a baking sheet, and bake for 60 minutes, flipping at the halfway point. Remove from oven, unwrap, and let cool for 5 minutes before slicing. Or cool completely then store in an air-tight container in the refrigerator.
Tip for pepperoni pizza:Before using the pepperoni on pizza, marinate the slices in a bit of oil to keep them from drying out during baking. You can also spritz them with oil after adding to the pizza, but marinating is best.
StorageStore the pepperoni in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 6 days. It's also freezer friendly. Wrap well to protect from freezer burn. Thaw in the fridge overnight before using.
Estimated Nutrition (per serving)
Nutrition information is an estimate and will vary depending on the exact amounts and specific products and ingredients used. We calculate this information using the online calculator cronometer.com. For the most accurate nutrition information we recommend calculating it yourself to reflect the specific ingredients used in your dish.