If you need a delicious and healthy, meat-free alternative to classic ham, look no further than this tasty vegan ham! All you need are easy-to-find ingredients like chickpeas, nutritional yeast, savory spices and herbs. This seitan ham roast is simple to make, and can be the centerpiece for any holiday meal, or used as part of sandwiches for a plant-based take on a classic dish.
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💭 Why you'll love this recipe
- Tastes just like the real thing! There's no need to sacrifice flavor when you switch to vegan ham. This recipe is made from plant-based ingredients that give it a flavor that's just as delicious as the traditional meat version. I normally serve this as the main course for Easter and Christmas dinners!
- Healthy and packed with protein: This vegan ham recipe uses chickpeas as its base, which provides a good source of plant-based protein.
- Versatile and customizable: You can adjust the herbs and spices according to your taste preferences and use it as the protein in vegan ham sandwiches, wraps, salads, for a delicious meal any day of the week.
📋 Ingredients and notes
To make the mock meat, you'll need chickpeas, meat-free beef flavor vegan broth, extra virgin olive oil, nutritional yeast, tomato paste, liquid smoke, maple syrup, smoked paprika, pork seasoning, ground cloves, onion powder, garlic powder, vital wheat gluten, water, and whole cloves for decoration.
For the traditional glaze, you'll need vegan butter, brown sugar, maple syrup, Dijon mustard, ground cinnamon, apple cider vinegar, and pineapple slices in syrup. This is optional, but really takes the recipe to the next level in my opinion.
Notes and Variations
- Choice of broth. For this recipe, I use "better than beef" broth because it mimics the flavor profile most closely. However, you can substitute it with any vegan or vegetable stock of your choice (noting that the final taste will differ based on the broth you choose!)
- Choice of oil. I use extra virgin olive oil in this recipe, but you can use refined coconut oil, avocado oil, or any other oil of your choice.
- Experiment with spices. This recipe follows traditional flavors, but you can experiment with spices and herbs to create a flavor profile you love! For instance, you can add in soy sauce or hot sauce for a spicy, umami-rich roast.
- Moderate smoky flavor. Using liquid smoke and smoked paprika creates a really classic smoky flavor, but I find that the recipe tastes just as good without these! So if you want to tone this down, you can use regular paprika and leave out the liquid smoke.
- Make it gluten free. This recipe uses vital wheat gluten so it is not friendly for those who need a gluten free roast. Instead, try this version with extra firm tofu as the protein base. The maple glaze is gluten free as written!
Vegan Ham Glaze Variations
Crafting the perfect glaze for your vegan ham is a critical part of the equation. I've used a traditional maple glaze, but there are plenty of options to choose from when it comes to creating a unique and flavorful glaze. Here are some of my favorite variations.
- Spicy glaze: For an extra kick, try adding a blend of your favorite spices (e.g., paprika) to the glaze before baking.
- Sweet and savory glaze: Mix up some molasses and brown sugar for a sweet and savory flavor profile.
- Citrus glaze: Brighten up the dish with a zesty orange or lemon juice-based glaze.
- Herb-infused glaze: Herbs like rosemary and thyme add great flavor to this vegan ham recipe—try incorporating them into the glaze for added depth!
- Mustard-based glaze: Mustard adds a tangy flavor that pairs nicely with the other ingredients in this dish—try whisking it into the glaze before baking!
📖 How to make the best vegan ham!
There are two main steps in this recipe: first, you make and steam the seitan. Then, you make the glaze and bake the ham with the glaze.
Note: You'll need a food processor for making this vegan ham recipe. It is possible to make this by hand by crushing the chickpeas with a masher, but a food processor makes the blended texture much more smooth!
Make wheat meat!
Blend the chickpeas, vegan broth, olive oil, nutritional yeast, tomato paste, liquid smoke, maple syrup, smoked paprika, pork seasoning, ground cloves, onion powder, garlic powder until smooth.
Transfer the mixture to a large mixing bowl and add vital wheat gluten. Mix with a spatula or spoon and knead with your hands about 10 times (you'll want to knead strongly so the steamed loaf will mimic a meaty texture).
Shape into a ham shaped loaf and then wrap the loaf in foil. Place the loaf on a steamer basket in a large pot with water, but don't let it sit in the water!
Cover, bring to a boil, and reduce heat to simmer for 1 hour. Add more water if necessary. Make sure to check on the seitan once it's simmered for an hour, and cook for up to 30 more minutes to make sure it's fully cooked through.
Preheat the oven to 425°F with about 15 minutes left on the steam time.
Once done, remove from heat and let the loaf cool for a few minutes. Remove from the foil.
Make glaze and roast vegan ham!
In a medium bowl, mix together the glaze ingredients and set aside.
Place the steamed loaf in a casserole dish or pan with a rim and score in a crisscross pattern. Optional: place pineapple rings around the seitan ham roast and stick whole cloves in the diamonds.
Pour half of the glaze over the seitan ham and bake for 30 minutes, basting every 10 minutes. Save some glaze for the end.
Let cool for 15 minutes, remove whole cloves, and serve. Slice thinly.
👩🏽🍳 Top tips to make the best vegan ham!
Follow these five tips to ensure that this recipe is perfect each time, whether you're trying to satisfy your craving for a comforting meal or looking for a creative dish to impress your friends and family.
- Knead firmly. Seitan dough needs to be kneaded a good bit, and with a good amount of pressure. When done, it should feel soft but sturdy. The more you knead, the meatier the texture will be.
- Wrap the seitan ham tightly. To help the vegan ham retain its shape during cooking, wrap it tightly in foil or cheesecloth. This will not just help with holding it together, it will also prevent the vital wheat gluten from expanding and becoming spongy.
- Steam thoroughly: Seitan can be finicky, so make sure that it is steamed all the way through before you move to the next step. I've found that using a steamer basket works best for me. However, you can also use a bamboo steamer, a foil pouch, Instant Pot, or oven.
- Glaze generously. Make sure the brown sugar is fully dissolved in the glaze. Continue to baste every 10 minutes to ensure the flavors soak in, and so you can ensure a moist end product. In fact, extra glaze during cooking can help create a savory crust!
- Let it rest. After cooking, let the vegan ham rest for at least 10-15 minutes before slicing and serving. This will help the ham retain its shape and juiciness, make it easier to slice without falling apart.
Technically, yes. You can make the vital wheat gluten meat all the way up to steaming it, then store it in a large freezer-safe bag up to three months. Then, to serve, thaw the mock meat overnight in the fridge, and then follow the rest of the glazing and baking instructions. That said, I have found that the texture is significantly altered when you freeze, so I don't recommend unless you absolutely have to.
Vital wheat gluten expands when it cooks. Wrapping it in cheesecloth or foil keeps the loaf together, and ensures a more dense, meaty texture. If not wrapped, wheat meat can become spongy.
To steam seitan in an Instant Pot, add two cups of water to the pot. Place a trivet inside and place the seitan on top. Close the lid of the Instant pot, seal the pressure release valve and set to steam for 15 minutes. Let it quick release and follow the rest of the instructions.
Yes! Place the vital wheat gluten loaf in an oven-safe dish. Then, place that dish in a larger oven-proof dish with an oven-proof lid, and fill the larger dish with a few inches of water. Cover the dish (if it doesn't have a lid, use a baking sheet) and bake in a preheated oven at 350°F (177°C) for about an hour or until cooked through. This results in a slightly spongier texture!
🍴 Serving and storage suggestions
Make vegan ham roast as a main for Easter, and serve it with pineapple slices with syrup. But there are so many great sides for this dish! These side are mostly vegan, and the vegetarian ones list ingredient swaps that!
- Vegetables: You can serve this with seasonal vegetables (garlic green beans, roasted sweet potato fries, grilled asparagus or microwaved asparagus, air fryer Brussels sprouts, or wait for it, Brussels sprouts and asparagus)
- Salads: Try a refreshing kale salad, a more hearty roasted beet salad, light spinach and avocado salad, or this Italian potato and green bean salad)
- Something more comforting: Think stovetop or Instant Pot mashed potatoes, polenta cornbread, or a classic potato salad for a hearty meal.
- Casseroles: I love serving vegan ham roast with this asparagus casserole for Easter (especially since it's in season!)
Make-ahead and storing instructions
You can make this recipe up to the steamed seitan, then let it cool and store it in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. When ready to serve, place it in a casserole dish or pan, glaze it, and roast until it's warm throughout.
To serve, bring the ham out to room temperature, apply the glaze, and follow the rest of the baking instructions. This can be a convenient way to save time when preparing a meal for a special occasion!
While you can technically freeze the dish, I don't recommend it unless you absolutely have to - freezing and reheating can impact the texture. However, if you really want to freeze it, steam the seitan loaf, then allow it to cool and store it in a large freezer-safe bag up to three months. Then, thaw overnight in the fridge, and then follow the rest of the glazing and baking instructions.
🌱🌱 More awesome seitan recipes, hearty vegan vegan mains:
Did you make this recipe?! ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
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For vegan ham:
- 15 ounces chickpeas, drained, rinsed
- ¾ cup vegan broth, no-beef flavored, see notes
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
- ¼ cup tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon liquid smoke, optional
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon pork seasoning
- ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- 1½ cups vital wheat gluten
- ¾ cups boiling water, for steaming
- 4 teaspoons vegan butter, melted
- ½ cup brown sugar, packed
- ½ cup maple syrup
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
For decoration / serving:
- whole cloves, optional
- pineapple slices in syrup, for garnish, optional
- In a food processor, blend the chickpeas, no-beef broth, olive oil, nutritional yeast, tomato paste, liquid smoke, maple syrup, smoked paprika, pork seasoning, ground cloves, onion powder, and garlic powder until smooth.
- Transfer the mixture to a large mixing bowl and add vital wheat gluten. Mix with a spatula or spoon and knead with your hands about 10 times. Shape into a loaf.
- Wrap the loaf in foil.
- Place the loaf on a steamer basket in a large pot with 3 cups of water, but don't let it sit in the water. Cover, bring to a boil and reduce heat to simmer for 1 hour. Add more water if necessary.
- Remove from heat and let the loaf cool for a few minutes. Remove from the foil.
- Preheat the oven to 425°F.
- In a medium bowl, mix together the glaze ingredients and set aside. Place the steamed loaf in a casserole dish or pan with a rim and score in a crisscross pattern. Optional: place pineapple rings around the roast and stick whole cloves in the diamonds.
- Pour half of the glaze over the loaf and bake for 30 minutes, basting every 10 minutes. Save some glaze for the end!
- Let cool for 15 minutes, remove whole cloves and serve. Slice thinly and serve while hot.
- Steaming: Seitan is finicky! Check in after an hour to make sure it's cooked, but it can take up to 30 minutes more depending on the size of the loaf. When ready, remove from the foil.
- No steaming basket: You can make one by placing foil balls in the bottom of a large pot and placing a heat-safe plate on top.
- Preparing in advance: You can make the recipe up to the steamed seitan, then let it cool and store it in the refrigerator. When ready to serve, place it in a casserole dish or pan, glaze it, and roast until it's warm throughout.
- Glaze variations: I've used a pretty traditional glaze, but you can play with this (some great options listed in the post!)
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