The Best Ever Gluten Free Vegan Pepperoni| Gluten Free
Incredible vegan & gluten free pepperoni, special as a pizza topping, in sandwiches or to be enjoyed as a snack, or a part of a vegan charcuterie board spread.
Please NOTE: If you make this recipe or any other inspired by the ingredients used DON’T FORGET to link and quote “a Veg Taste from A to Z” on your blog or social media posts.
This is it guys.
The most tedious and time consuming recipe I’ve ever worked on, ready to be tried and (hopefully) enjoyed by all of you. It took me over two years to perfectioning this recipe!
Introducing the BEST gluten free vegan pepperoni that tastes, slices and feels like the real deal and it is also free from gluten.
No seitan or gluten kneading involved to make this beautiful and straightforward version of one the most loved meat products world wide!
This recipe is:
– Gluten Free
– Cruelty Free
–(can be also made*) Soy Free
Another reason to try this version (as you actually need more) is that it can be made ahead of time and stored in the fridge for up for a couple of weeks, or make a big batch to freeze sliced or whole to be used anytime you fancy!
This is my 100% homemade and vegan Diavola* pizza that I made a while back (I apologise for the quality, it was taken on my phone with dreadful light!) made with this Pizza Base, my Ultimate Vegan Mozzarella and this Vegan Pepperoni:
*an Italian pizza topping made of mozzarella, hot salami (pepperoni), fresh chilies, and chili oil.
How this recipe was born
As I briefly mentioned, I’ve tried plenty of ingredients and combinations.
To be completely honest with you, my first goal was not making this gluten-free; in fact, the first product I experimented with, was indeed gluten.
After a few years of attempts and tons of bags of instant gluten, both I and my husband came to the conclusion that we weren’t really fond of the taste of vital gluten in this particular recipe. AT ALL.
I’ve made plenty of tried and tested recipes of other vegan bloggers, loved by many on social networks, but not really satisfying for us.
We personally love other recipes using vital (instant) gluten, most of them I already shared on this blog, like these Buffalo Wings, Vegan Chicken Drumsticks, Italian Style Sausages, Easy Vegan Burgers, Vegan Braciole and this amazing Vegan Wellington, that still is very requested during the holidays (of which soon I’ll take a new set of pictures, as these are quite dated as you can see!). Just not in this or any other deli or cold cuts style “meats”.
So I remembered that, when I first went vegetarian, I used to make seitan from scratch.
I have tried and nailed the WTF method (largely explained in this post), which I abandoned during the years in favour of the instant version because I found it too time-consuming.
I remember that I actually used to enjoy seitan more with that method. So I’ve put the instant gluten aside this time, and started experimenting with homemade seitan.
Although both textures (in terms of chewyness) and flavours were improved compared to the instant gluten attempts, I still wasn’t 100% happy with my product(s). And as per everything I create, if I’m not completely happy with the result, I do not share the recipe on this blog. I’m sure thousands of people would have loved those attempts, but another reason why I didn’t post it, is because it would have taken a LOT of your time, as the best of these attempts required almost 3 days of preparation (yes, 12+12 hours of rest + making, cooking and cooling time), so I figured that wasn’t really worth sharing!
I then discovered (during other experiments really) a really special powder (NO, I’m not talking about the white stuff you are thinking about, haha!), which turned to be the MAIN and UNSUBSTITUTABLE ingredient of this recipe: Pea Protein Isolate.
The main ingredient to the Beyond Meat products, very familiar to those that regularly enjoy protein shakes, Pea protein powder is a supplement made by isolating the protein from ground yellow peas (hence the isolate in the name). It is a high-quality protein and a great source of iron that can aid muscle growth, weight loss, and heart health (according to this source).
You can purchase this essential ingredient for this recipe online or in health shops.
Please note: when purchasing pea protein isolate, make sure to get the unflavoured version, as many can be added with vanilla or cocoa.
Like vital gluten, this powder can be easily flavoured as we like and it would thicken and become chewy when heated.
How to make this Vegan Pepperoni
Along with pea protein, we do need a couple of more additives (all-natural, of course!) in order to achieve the perfect texture of this meat-free protein.
Do not be intimidated by the weird-looking and soundly ingredients required; I assure you that will make a great investment for future meaty produce (a vegan & gluten-free turkey(less) roast, vegan gammon and ham, and vegan mortadella (or bologna) are coming VERY soon on the blog!).
Because now that I’ve nailed the technique, I just can’t help but making all forms of vegan meats and cold cuts!
So if you used to love it too before going vegan, register your email now and hit the button SUBSCRIBE to receive an e-mail every time a new recipe is posted on the blog.
Back to the other essential ingredients, we have:
Konjac Powder (or flour). Also known as glucomannan, konjac is an herb that grows in parts of Asia used in Western continents as a weight loss supplement (is very rich in dietary fiber that keeps you full for longer) or to help lower cholesterol. In cooking, especially plant-based, it is both used as a gelatin substitute and to thicken or add texture to foods. The last is the reason why we are using konjac in this recipe. I also tried agar instead of it, but it doesn’t work as well I’m afraid.
As well as pea protein, you can buy it both online or in health shops.
Kappa Carrageenan. You might already have discovered this ingredient if you followed my Vegan Mozzarella recipe. It is another thickener and additive, a natural ingredient that comes from red seaweed used to thicken, emulsify, and preserve foods and drinks. In this recipe, it is essential to achieve a solid and firm texture.
When purchasing this ingredient make sure to look for Kappa Carrageenan. You can buy it online here, and it will last months or even years.
Amongst the other (most common) ingredients we need:
Soya Chunks (TVP). They will be the “fat” of this vegan pepperoni. Incorporated both for texture (they are really chewy and bouncy, perfect for the job) and look, they will give the perfect appearance to our spicy sausage.
You can use chunks of any side, as we are going to roughly chop them with the knife to give an uneven look. Just do not use TVP mince instead, as they will not look like pieces of actual fat. You can purchase them online or in health shops.
Beetroot. Cooked and preferably not preserved in vinegar. Mainly for color.
Tapioca Flour (or starch) and Potato Starch. They both deliver an extra chewy texture. Highly recommended to use both if you have, otherwise use only one.
Maple Syrup. Or any other syrup or sugar. It gives more character, helps with the caramelization, and gives a nuttier flavour. It won’t make the pepperoni taste sweet though, don’t you worry!
Miso Paste. Anyone you have (I used white only because I had that opened). It gives a slight aged taste and feels if you know what I mean. You can also use fermented tofu if you have bought it to try my ultimate vegan mozzarella or 1 tablespoon of the liquid of any fermented vegetables you have available. Or, just omit it!
Spices and Seasonings. The spice mix used in this recipe delivers the perfect pepperoni flavour, slightly hot and smokey. However, you can play around and personalize it with your favourite spices and aromas.
*Do you need it to be soy-free too?
It can easily be achieved, just substitute the soy chunks with cannellini beans, the soy sauce with a no-soy sauce, and omit the miso paste or substitute it with 1 tbsp of any fermented veggie water you have available.
Do not miss this Turkey(less) Roast recipe, made with the same set of ingredients!
The Best Ever Vegan Pepperoni | Gluten Free
Mix 1 – The “Fat”
30 g Soya Chunks
1/2 tsp Bouillon
1 pinch Dulse Seaweed (3-4 small pieces – Optional)
200 g Water (Hot)
Mix 2 – Spice Mix
1 g Fennel Seeds (1/4 tsp)
3 g Garlic Powder (3/4 tsp)
1 g Onion Powder (1/4 tsp)
1 g Mustard Seeds (1/4 tsp)
1 g Sage (1/4 tsp)
1 g Black Peppercorns (1/2 tsp)
8 g Smoked Paprika (1.5 tsp)
1 g Cayenne Pepper (1/4 tsp optional)
8 g Salt (1/2 tbsp)
Mix 3 – Liquid Mix
30 g Beetroot (cooked, preferably no preserved in vinegar)
1 tsp White Miso Paste
1 tsp Chilli Oil
1 tsp Maple Syrup
180 g Broth (from mix 1. If not enough add water)
Mix 4 – The “Meat”
32 g Pea Protein Isolate
12 g Konjac Powder
8 g Kappa Carrageenan
5 g Tapioca Starch
2 g Potato Starch
15 g Coconut Oil
More Peppercorns (optional)
1/4 tsp Red Food Colouring Powder (to enhance the colour – optional)
1. Add the soya chunks, bouillon powder, soy sauce, dulse (optional) to a bowl. Top with boiling water and set aside for 30 minutes.
2. Weight all the spices in a food blender cup, then blend until well powdered.
3. After 30 minutes, squeeze out all the vegetable broth from the soya chunks. Do not throw the broth away.
4. Roughly chop the soaked soya chunks into irregular pieces. This will resemble the “fat” of the vegan pepperoni, so it doesn’t need to be all the same size. Set aside.
5. Prepare the liquid mixture by blending together: cooked beetroot, miso paste, chilli oil, maple syrup, and the broth from the soya chunks. Please note, this recipe should yield enough broth, however, if it wasn’t enough, just add some extra water or vegetable broth if you have it at hand.
6. In a large bowl combine pea protein isolate, konjac powder, carrageenan, and the starches (tapioca and/or potato, see notes), followed by the spice mix and the liquids. Finally add melted coconut oil, food coloring, and whole peppercorns. Lastly, add the chopped soya chunks.
7. Mix until it comes together into a firm, easy to shape the dough.
8. Line a sheet of film on the working surface.
9. Scoop in half of the pepperoni mixture, shape into a sausage and wrap tightly into the clinging film, making sure to twist both sides as you were wrapping a candy.
10. Repeat for the remaining dough.
11. Bring to a boil around 1 liter of water, then boil the wrapped pepperoni for 45 minutes.
12. Allow cooling completely in the water. At this point the pepperoni will still be a bit soft to the touch; do not worry, it will harden up as it cools.
13. Once the pepperoni has cool down, you can unwrap it, slice, and use it as you please as a pizza topping, in sandwiches, or in your favourite recipes.
To give the “aged” look, just roll the sausage into some rice flour (just a very thin layer will do the trick!).
If you don’t have chilli oil you can use chilli flakes or powder and add to the spice mix. This vegan pepperoni is medium spicy. Feel free to adjust the chilli amount to your liking.
The Best Ever Gluten Free Vegan Pepperoni
Mix 1 - The "Fat"
Mix 2 - Spices
- 1 g (1/4 tsp) Fennel Seeds 1/4 tsp
- 3 g (3/4 tsp) Garlic Powder 3/4 tsp
- 1 g (1/4 tsp) Onion Powder 1/4 tsp
- 1 g (1/4 tsp) Mustard Seeds 1/4 tsp
- 1 g (1/4 tsp) Sage 1/4 tsp
- 1 g (1/2 tsp) Black Peppercorns 1/2 tsp
- 8 g (1.5 tsp) Smoked Paprika 1.5 tsp
- 1 g (1/4 tsp) Cayenne Pepper 1/4 tsp optional
- 8 g (1/2 tbsp) Salt 1/2 tbsp
Mix 3 - Liquids
Mix 4 - The "Meat"
- Add the soya chunks, bouillon powder, soy sauce, dulse (optional) to a bowl. Top with boiling water and set aside for 30 minutes.
- Weight all the spices in a food blender cup, then blend until well powdered.
- After 30 minutes, squeeze out all the vegetable broth from the soya chunks. Do not throw the broth away.
- Roughly chop the soaked soya chunks into irregular pieces. This will resemble the "fat" of the vegan pepperoni, so it doesn't need to be all the same size. Set aside.
- Prepare the liquid mixture by blending together: cooked beetroot, miso paste, chilli oil, maple syrup and the broth from the soya chunks. Please note, this recipe should yield enough broth, however, if it wasn't enough, just add some extra water or vegetable broth if you have it at hand.
- In a large bowl combine: pea protein isolate, konjac powder, carrageenan and the starches (tapioca and/or potato, see notes), followed by the spice mix and the liquids. Finally add melted coconut oil, food coloring and whole peppercorns. Lastly add the chopped soya chunks.
- Mix until it comes together into a firm, easy to shape dough.
- Line a sheet of film on the working surface.
- Scoop in half of the pepperoni mixture, shape into a sausage and wrap tight into the clinging film, making sure to twist both sides as you were wrapping a candy.
- Repeat for the remaining dough.
- Bring to a boil around 1 liter of water, then boil the wrapped pepperoni for 45 minutes.
- Allow to cool completely in the water. At this point the pepperoni will still be a bit soft to the touch; do not worry, it will harden up as it cools.
- Once the pepperoni has cool down, you can unwrap it, slice and use as you please as pizza topping, in sandwiches or in your favourite recipes.
- To give the "aged" look, just roll the sausage into some rice flour (just a very thin layer will do the trick!).
- If you don't have chilli oil you can use chilli flakes or powder and add to the spice mix.
This vegan pepperoni is medium spicy - Feel free to adjust the chilli amount to your liking.
- It can be made ahead of time and stored in the fridge for up for a couple of weeks, or make a big batch to freeze sliced or whole to be used anytime you fancy!
Do not miss this Turkey(less) Roast recipe, made with the same set of ingredients!