A super simple recipe for vegan pepperoni made with vital wheat gluten and baked in an air fryer or oven. Gorgeous on pizza or sandwiches.
I'm super excited to share this recipe with you.
It took a few tries to get it just right, but boy it was worth it.
Spicy vegan pepperoni with a gorgeous smoky flavour and it slices like a dream.
- 👩🏻🍳 Is vegan pepperoni easy to make?
- 💭 Is vegan pepperoni made from seitan?
- 💭 What is vital wheat gluten?
- 🧾 Where can you buy vital wheat gluten?
- 💭 How do you get that pepperoni flavour?
- 🔪 Does it slice well?
- ⏲️ How long will it keep?
- 🌡️ Can you freeze vegan pepperoni?
- 📋 What do you need to make easy vegan pepperoni?
- 🌡️ Cook it in the oven or air fryer
- 🍕 How to serve pepperoni
- 🍕 Making vegan pepperoni for pizza
- 🍜 More easy vegan recipes
- ⭐ Hit the heart (NEW)
- 👩🏻🍳 How to make easy vegan pepperoni
- 📖 Recipe
👩🏻🍳 Is vegan pepperoni easy to make?
It's super easy to make.
Dry ingredients go in one bowl, wet ingredients in another, then combine them and give them a quick mix.
You don't even have to knead it for long, a few folds and you can feel that gluten building as it's super springy.
💭 Is vegan pepperoni made from seitan?
It's not made from seitan, but it is made from vital wheat gluten, which seitan is also made from.
When making seitan, you rinse the seitan to remove any remaining starch, but when making pepperoni, there is no need to rinse this wheat-based meat substitute.
So quite similar, but this is much more heavily spiced and flavoured.
💭 What is vital wheat gluten?
VItal wheat gluten looks like flour but if flour was a person, then vital wheat gluten would be a superhero (you can choose which, I know you have your favourite!).
It's like flour but most of the starch has been removed, so it is super high in gluten.
Which makes for a very stretchy dough, which when cooked has the perfect texture for vegan meat replacements.
No good for those on a gluten-free diet of course, so if you are gluten-free, step away from the screen!
Read more about it in this article What is Vital Wheat Gluten by the Happy Herbivore.
🧾 Where can you buy vital wheat gluten?
Health food shops are the best place to buy vital wheat gluten.
Vegan supermarkets online also sell it.
If all else fails you can always visit the evil one (Amazon).
💭 How do you get that pepperoni flavour?
The seitan base gives the right texture and the same spices used to make pepperoni are added to this meat-free pepperoni.
- Cayenne pepper
As well as a few other flavourings.
All natural of course.
🔪 Does it slice well?
Yes, it slices beautifully.
It really firms up during cooking and the vital wheat gluten gives that chewy texture.
⏲️ How long will it keep?
Swaddle it like a baby (in baking/greaseproof paper) and pop it in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.
Just slice some as you need it, then wrap it up again and pop back in the fridge.
🌡️ Can you freeze vegan pepperoni?
Yep, you sure can.
Wrap it well, then pop in a freezer bag or tub and freeze for up to 3 months.
Let it defrost in the fridge for a wee while before slicing it.
📋 What do you need to make easy vegan pepperoni?
Here are the simple ingredients you need to make this pepperoni vegetarian or vegan.
- Vital wheat gluten
- Cayenne pepper
- Chilli flakes - or powder
- Garlic powder - or granules (I prefer the granules as they seem to keep better and don't clump together)
- Dried thyme
- Vegetable stock
- Tomato puree
- Olive oil
- Soy sauce
See the printable recipe card below for quantities, method and nutrition.
🌡️ Cook it in the oven or air fryer
I cook my homemade pepperoni in my air fryer, but you can cook it in the oven instead.
It will take from about 5-10 minutes longer. You want it to be well browned, firm and springy.
🍕 How to serve pepperoni
You're first thought was pizza wasn't it? Go on admit it!
Yes, it's delicious on a vegan pizza, but there is so much more you can do with it.
Here are a few ideas of how to serve vegan pepperoni.
- Carbonara - use it in a creamy carbonara (check out my mushroom carbonara recipe)
- Cheese sandwich - try this pepperoni cheese sandwich
- Cheese toastie - add it to a vegan cheese toastie for extra oomph
- Puff pastry tart - on a puff pastry spread with tomato puree and herbs then topped with a sprinkle of vegan cheese, mushrooms, sundried tomatoes and vegan pepperoni
- Sandwiches - on a sandwich with vegan cheese and salad, just treat it like vegan deli slices
- Vegan cheese board - add it to a vegan cheese board, with olives and chutney
I'm sure you'll come up with some fabulous ideas too!
If you like this pepperoni, try my Tomato & Olive Deli Slices.
🍕 Making vegan pepperoni for pizza
If you are making this vegan deli meat for pizza, remember it will be cooked for a second time.
So cook it for less time than the recipe states. 10-12 minutes less.
It will have a softer texture.
And remember to slice it thinly.
🍜 More easy vegan recipes
Here are a few more easy vegan recipes (from both my blogs) for you to try.
- 5 Minute Spicy Noodles - yes they really are that quick and they taste amazing
- Chickpea Dirty Rice - I like to serve it with spicy bean burgers and quick vegan mac and cheese.
- Mushroom Pesto Spaghetti - with added spinach
- Spicy Bean Burritos - with vegan cheese
- Vegan Pizza Swirls - why not top with vegan pepperoni
For more easy vegan recipes, check out my recipe index.
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👩🏻🍳 How to make easy vegan pepperoni
Step-by-step photos. Keep scrolling for the full printable recipe (with full ingredient list and nutritional info).
Step 1 - Dry ingredients
- Add the vital wheat gluten, spices and herbs to a mixing bowl and mix well.
- Set aside.
Step 2 - Wet ingredients
- Now add the vegetable stock, soy sauce, tomato puree and olive oil to another bowl.
- Mix well to combine.
Step 3 - Knead and shape
- Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix well with a spatula or wooden spoon. You will start to feel the resistance from the gluten.
- Knead for a couple of minutes (just fold it in on itself and press down a few times).
- Shape into a sausage shape, don't worry if it's uneven, this will tighten up as you wrap it.
Step 4 - Wrap and bake
- You could just use tinfoil to wrap the sausage, but I like to wrap it in non-stick baking paper, as it gives me a change to roll it tighter.
- Roll tightly in the baking paper to the size you want your pepperoni, then wrap in foil, twisting it lightly at the ends.
- Bake in an air fryer (middle shelf, if you have shelves) or in the oven. Full recipe and instructions below.
Easy Vegan Pepperoni
- 125 g vital wheat gluten
- 4 teaspoons paprika
- 2 teaspoons garlic powder (or granules)
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 teaspoon chilli flakes (or ½ teaspoon chilli powder)
- 1 pinch salt
- 100 ml vegetable stock (made with 1 vegetable stock cube)
- 4 tablespoons tomato puree
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- In a mixing bowl add the vital wheat gluten, paprika, garlic powder, thyme, cayenne pepper, chilli flakes and salt. Mix well to combine.
- In another mixing bowl add the vegetable stock, tomato puree, olive oil and soy sauce. Mix well.
- Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix with a spatula or wooden spoon to combine, then knead in the bowl for a couple of minutes (with clean hands). You will feel how elastic it is right away.
- Shape and roll into a sausage shape, then roll firmly in non-stick baking paper.
- Now roll in tin foil and twist the ends like a cracker.
- Pop in the air fryer at 200c/400c for 50 minutes (middle shelf, if you have shelves) or in a preheated oven at 200c/180c fan/400f/gas mark 6 for 50 -55 minutes. (If you are making it for pizza, remember it will be cooked a second time on the pizza, so reduce the cooking time by 10-12 minutes for the original bake)
- When it's ready it should have started to brown on the outside and be firm, yet springy to the touch.
- Leave to cool.
- Slice and use in a pizza, sandwich, pasta etc.