Brisket

by Liz Madsen
A large oval platter filled with sliced vegan brisket surrounded by cooked onions and tomatoes.

Juicy, tender, and satisfying, this vegan brisket is a perfect dinner or holiday centerpiece. Slow roasted so it’s fork-tender, this seitan brisket will have vegans and non-vegans raving. An Instant Pot is NOT required for the first half of the cooking process--you can steam it on your stovetop, but an Instant Pot saves time.


Ingredients

Seitan
2 ¼ cups vital wheat gluten
1 – 15 oz can or 1 + ½ cups black beans, drained and rinsed (see Notes)
½ cup vegan chicken or vegetable broth (or water) (see Notes)
⅓ cup reduced sodium soy sauce (or NoSoy if you can’t eat soy)
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon granulated onion
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon dried thyme

 

Roast
1 large onion, sliced
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
28-ounce can diced tomatoes (canned or fresh)
3 cups vegan chicken or vegan beef broth or vegetable broth

 

Sauce for topping, see Notes
6 ounce can tomato paste
3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons reduced sodium soy sauce (or NoSoy if you can’t eat soy)
1 tablespoon maple syrup or agave
2 teaspoons granulated garlic
2 teaspoons granulated onion


Instructions
  1. Add beans, soy sauce, spices, and broth to your food processor and blend until mostly smooth. Some black specks of bean skin may remain and that’s OK. Now add the vital wheat gluten and pulse until mostly combined. It may still be a little powdery. We’ll fix that.
  2. Add the dough to a medium bowl. You should be able to pick it up. Press it into one lump that kind of looks like meat. Make it about 2 to 2 + 1/2 inches thick. If it looks a little powdery still, wet your hands and smooth the areas. Don’t knead the dough.
  3. Instant Pot Instructions: Place the Instant Pot steaming basket in the pot and add 1 cup of water. Add the seitan into the basket, close the lid, set the pressure valve to “sealing” and cook on high pressure or manual for 45 minutes. After the cooking is done, let the pressure naturally release for 10 minutes, then carefully switch the pressure valve to venting and release the remaining pressure, which shouldn’t be very much. Preheat your oven to 400° Fahrenheit (or 205° Celsius) and skip to the “Searing the Seitan” section.
  4. Stovetop Instructions: If you do not have an electric pressure cooker, you can easily make this on the stovetop. Grab a large pot with a large steaming basket and a lid. Add 2 inches of water to the pot, then insert the steaming basket. Place the seitan into the basket, add a lid to the pot, and steam it on high for about 1 hour. When it’s done, preheat your oven to 400° Fahrenheit (or 205° Celsius).
  5. Searing the seitan: If using a dutch oven, you can cook your veggies and sear the seitan right in the pot. If just using a baking dish, do this step in a large skillet and then transfer the onions and garlic to the bottom of the dish and plunk the seitan on top of them. Saute your sliced onions and garlic in a large skillet over medium high heat until they become translucent. Garlic is more likely to burn, so saute the onions first for about 3 minutes and then add the garlic and saute for another minute. Move the onions and garlic to the sides and place your seitan directly in the middle.
  6. Allow it to sear for about 3 minutes. If the onions and garlic are sticking in the meantime, you can deglaze them with a tablespoon or two of water. Mix them around after you pour on that water and they should un-stick themselves.
  7. Before baking, especially if you are using a dutch oven, arrange the pot so that the onions and garlic are beneath the seitan.
  8. Baking the seitan: Add the broth to the dish. It should come about halfway up the seitan. If you are using a much wider dish, you may need a bit more broth. Now dump the tomatoes straight on top of the seitan. No need to mix it. The moisture from the tomatoes will seep into the seitan.
  9. Pop the lid on (or some aluminum foil if you don’t have a lid for your dish) and bake it for 45 minutes to an hour at 400° Fahrenheit (or 205° Celsius). You can remove it at any time if you need to. It’s actually fully edible once steamed, but if you want it tender, juicy, and amazing, bake it for a full hour.
  10. The sauce on top is optional but ridiculously delicious. You can make it while the seitan is cooking. It only takes 2 minutes to mix up, so I highly recommend it. This is a more tomato-based option. For other options, see Notes section below. For the tomato-based brisket sauce, add the sauce ingredients to a small bowl or measuring cup. Stir until smooth.
  11. After removing from heat, let the seitan rest for 10 minutes to finish soaking up all that goodness. You can add the sauce to your seitan by just pouring it on top or you can use a basting brush to paint it.
  12. Using a fork and serrated-edge knife, carefully slice the seitan as thick or thin as you’d like.
  13. Serve it up with some vegetables, pasta, rice, potatoes, anything you’d like! Goes great with kugel or tzimmes.
  14. Refrigerate leftovers in an airtight container separate from leftover sauce for up to 5 days. Add more sauce each time you reheat. Cooked seitan can be frozen in an airtight freezer-safe container for up to 3 months.

Notes
  1. Makes: ~4 cups. Not gluten-free. Prep time: 5 minutes. Cook time: 2 hours (worth it!).
  2. Use any other bean or silken tofu, but black beans do help with color. It also makes the seitan more tender and adds more protein and nutrients.
  3. I like to use Better Than Bouillon No Chicken Base or No Beef Base with water, but use what you like/have available.
  4. For the sauce, this is a tomato based option. Feel free to use BBQ sauce, a vegan sweet and sour sauce, or whatever you like.
  5. Find more of Liz’s recipes at Zardyplants. Follow them on Facebook and Instagram.

Apple Nachos for Tu BiShvat This super easy plate of Apple Nachos is perfect for Tu BiShvat! You can add many of The Seven... Appetizer
A black bowl featuring barley, kalamata olives, and lots of green herbs.
Biblical Barley and Herb Salad These days, most people consider barley—if they consider it at all—as something wintery, perhaps sharing space with mushrooms in... Side
Seven Species Muffins These muffins are a great not-too-sweet treat for your Tu BiShvat celebration as they contain all seven species mentioned... Breakfast
Tu BiShvat Vegan Challah with Dried Fruit This vegan braided challah is filled with dried fruit like dates, figs, apricots, toasted walnut and orange zest. It... Appetizer
Vegan Carrot & Sweet Potato Latkes This latke combines Jewish tradition with Indian, as it is inspired by the Indian pakora snack. Appetizer
Golden Tumeric Cake This vegan Golden Turmeric Cake is moist, just dense enough, and has the perfect sweetness level. It has a... Dessert
A large white bowl with bulgur, tomatoes, cucumber, and parsley mixed together next to a black napkin with a white leaf design.
Tabouli / Tabbouleh This super fresh herb and bulgur Mediterranean salad is the perfect snack, side, or even meal when paired with... Side
Vegan Gondi (Chickpea Dumpling Stew) Vegan Gondi, Chickpea Dumpling Stew, is a Persian-Jewish Shabbat hors d’oeuvres. It is typically made with chicken, however, it... Appetizer
A white ceramic baking dish filled with cooked carrots, sweet potatoes, and dried fruit on a gold floral tablecloth surrounded by white plates and silver forks.
Carrot and Sweet Potato Tzimmes You need not wait for a holiday—or be Jewish—to enjoy carrot and sweet potato tzimmes. It’s a festive dish... Side
A small gray bowl of orange vegetables and grains on top of a large gray plate with a red napkin and bronze fork.
Vegan Cholent Vegan cholent might seem like a stretch, but why not? With seitan or other plant-based beefy protein standing in... Main
A black bowl featuring brown seitan stew. A yellow napkin and silver spoon are situated in the background on a dark wood table.
Seitan Porcini Stew This is a recipe that not only comforts you on a cold winter’s night, it makes you look forward... Main
A square brown platter topped with sufganiyot--raspberry jelly filled donuts topped with powdered sugar, all on a red tablecloth.
Mayim Bialik’s Sufganiyot A lovely, easy and fun to make treat for Chanukah! These doughnuts are best when served immediately, but they... Dessert