Vegan corned beef ... get your St. Patrick's Day ON!

I went to college in Cleveland. It was one of the most magical times of my life (short of becoming a mother and getting married and all that jazz). Mainly because of the softball I got to play up there and the amazing friends I made, but partly, because it's got SO much amazing food places to visit!

From Little Italy to West Side Market, this city has got it's fair share of anything you could ever want! Including the most awesome corned beef sandwich in the history of the world. Every St. Patrick's Day we would pregame - er - stop and get our grub on at this little sandwich place that had the MOST perfect corned beef sandwich you've ever had.

What was in it? I don't know. Magic. And unicorn kisses. And hugs, definitely some hugs. And maybe a splash of awesomeness.

I haven't had a corned beef sandwich of any kind since going vegan some seven or so years ago. In fact, I never even considered the idea of making our own vegan version since I had absolutely no clue what went into the thing, just that it was peppery and salty all at once.

But my husband and I started talking about it and I had already planned on making a seitan roast this week, so I started toying around with the idea of attempting a vegan version of this classically-consumed-on-St-Paddy's-Day fare.

And I am utterly pleased to report back how freaking amazing this thing turned out, which not as much effort as I thought would be required!

So, ready to make one of your own? Heck yes you are!

Don't let the idea of making your own seitan roast scare you off! If you've got a crock pot and access to vital wheat gluten you're pretty much on your way to the most delicious and easiest thing you've made yet!

Vegan corned beef
(serves around 6)
2 cups vital wheat gluten
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
4-5 bay leaves
2 TBS garlic powder
2 TBS onion powder
2 TBS paprika
1 TBS peppercorns (I bought one of the handy ones that comes in grinder form)
2 tsp salt (I used pink himalayan, it was magical)
2 tsp all spice
1 tsp cloves
1 tsp ginger
2 TBS ketchup
1 tsp liquid smoke
1/4 cup vegan steak sauce
1 2/3 cup water
1 1/2 cups veggie broth

Pour veggie broth into crock pot and turn it on low. In a medium mixing bowl, combine vital wheat gluten, nutritional yeast, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, ground peppercorns, all spice, cloves and ginger. Add liquid smoke, ketchup, steak sauce and water. Mix together and then knead with your hands once it becomes doughy. It'll be a strange, sinewy, damp dough. It'll look something like this:

Next, you're gonna smush this down to a rectangle shape, about 1.5 inches thick. Toss it in the crock pot and grind a little more peppercorns on top (to your taste) and sprinkle some of the pink salt. (Throw in a veggie if you want, I did baby carrots, but it's not required). Add the bay leaves to the broth. Let it cook for two hours on low.

After two hours, you might notice your loaf looks a little gigantor. It's cool, that's what it should do. Go ahead and flip this roast onto the other side and sprinkle some more salt and peppercorns on it. It'll feel a little spongey to your touch and that's fine.

Now you're going to let it cook on high for two hours.

Once you've got about 10 minutes left of cooking time, preheat your oven to 400 degrees and spray a baking sheet down with spray. When your roast is done in the crock pot, we're going to proceed to the second method of cooking, this is going to help us achieve that totally odd, but somehow perfect texture corned beef has. You know, how it's kind of dry and moist at the same time?

You'll take out your roast and place it on a cutting board. (I put a towel under mine because this bad boy was juicy and I didn't want it getting everywhere). Don't worry about "spilling the juices," we're going to bake this and want to take out some of moisture. Cut into thin slices (the thinner you get the better). Mine were about 1/8 of an inch or so big.

Once this are sliced up, you'll lay them out on a baking sheet and sprinkle them with a little more peppercorns and salt. Throw these in the oven for about 10 minutes (if you get them thinner than I did check them a little sooner), then pull em out and serve them with your super favorite sides. We opted for red-skin potatoes, cabbage and carrots.

We have every intention of eating these leftovers as reubens today, I have no doubt that they'll be utterly perfect!

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  1. I have never had corn beef but this sounds so good

  2. I don't even eat red meat but this looks yummy! How was the texture?

    1. It was really on par! The right amount of chew (just a tiny bit) to that awesome dry-moist perfection. I was shocked how much it mimicked corned beef!

  3. I've seen a few recipes for vegan corned beef roasts but they all looked too soggy. This looks great, thanks!

  4. What is the vegan steak sauce? Is it a Worcestershire-like sauce, or is it a thick A-1-like sauce? I must try this.....right after I make the "ham!" �� Thanks for the recipes!

  5. According to everything I've found A1 original steak sauce is vegan! :)

    1. So, is that what this recipe calls for, A-1? It only listed vegan steak sauce. Thanks!