Moist, rich, tender, and meaty, this Vegan Pastrami is the ultimate sandwich filling. Packed with protein and more importantly FLAVOR, this seitan pastrami melts in your mouth and will satisfy your cravings.
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Hey Internet, so, going off of the vegan corned beef recipe I posted before this, of COURSE I had to give you the recipe to make vegan pastrami. It’s epic.
Though different in flavor, my recipe for making the two of these is similar.
It’s actually the same base seitan recipe, but a small difference in the spice rub and cooking method. For corned beef, stop after the baking part, but for the full pastrami, the simmering is key and it is seriously one of the best things I’ve ever tasted.
I published them separately because some people may just want that corned beef flavor, but if you need super moist and delicious pastrami, this is your ticket. And the simmering part only adds 10 minutes, so why not?
THIS is how you make a great vegan reuben (instructions below), or other deliciousness… try it with latkes!
This recipe is one of my favorites from my new book, Plant-Based Jewish Recipes. Pastrami is one of the cornerstones of a Jewish diet, at least a New York Jewish diet. ;)
But it’s animal meat, and we’re not about that life here on Zardyplants.
So our vegan pastrami is made from seitan, which is a delicious vegan meat replacement made from the protein of wheat. Unfortunately NOT gluten-free.
I’ll provide you with a few ideas on how to make this gluten-free below--spoiler alert, do NOT use my vegan corned beef recipe. (But you COULD go to that page and use the same flavorings…)
I also mentioned above I’ll be giving you ideas on how to make this into a vegan reuben with a condiment that I developed specifically for this recipe, but also sauerkraut and rye bread because … well, just because.
So without further ado, let’s get into the recipe.
What You’ll Need
Seeing as this recipe is just the extra step you’ll need to turn my corned beef into pastrami, you’ll need your hunk of vegan corned beef that’s been cooked and sliced thinly. Make sure to add black pepper into your spice rub, though, as that’s a great part of pastrami flavor. If you forget, add the black pepper to your simmering liquid (listed on this page, below).
So, that recipe is NOT gluten-free.
However, you could use this marinade on tempeh (make sure your brand is GF), sliced eggplant, or tofu if you want that pastrami flavor but can’t have gluten. You could even go and use the spices from the corned beef.
For the simmering broth, you’ll first need a big pot of vegan beef broth.
I prefer to use Better Than Bouillon Vegan BEEF Base, and I use a little more of this concentrated stock paste than the recommended instructions on the bottle call for. That’s because we want this pastrami to be super flavorful--and we’re not drinking the broth.
(You could use the leftover simmering liquid as the start of a soup though! Just add a touch of water and your favorite veg.)
However, you can also use vegan beef bouillon cubes.
The Better Than Bouillon brand is much more economical than prepared broth, has better flavor in my personal opinion, and lasts forever in the fridge.
If you cannot find any of these, just use vegetable broth but you’ll need to go heavier on the other spices--you’ll need to add salt too. I recommend adding a bit of soy sauce for flavor if you use the vegetable broth.
To give your seitan pastrami some spice and tang, add apple cider vinegar (any vinegar will work, but ACV is best), and spicy mustard (again any mustard should work but this is perfect for pastrami) to the simmering liquid.
For the spices, you’ll probably have leftover spice rub from making the vegan corned beef, but if you don’t, just make up half the rub again and use that: a combination of organic brown sugar, smoked paprika, garlic powder, coriander, ground mustard, sea salt, espresso powder or ground coffee (such a good addition!), and freshly cracked black pepper
Finally to finish out the flavor profile, some maple syrup (or use any sugar you like, and whisk it in), sea salt, and black pepper to taste.
Tips for Making Vegan Pastrami
- Obviously the first step is to make, steam, and bake your pastrami in the vegan corned beef recipe (or marinate a replacement, if doing that (see above)). Make sure your pastrami has rested and been sliced thinly. While it’s resting you can bring the simmering liquid to… well, a simmer.
- Add all ingredients for the simmering liquid into a large pot (enough room to fit all your sliced pastrami, and a bit of breathing room for them so they can soak in that delicious liquid) and whisk together until the spices, mustard, and bouillon paste or cubes have dissolved.
- Once the liquid is hot and simmering, carefully add the seitan pastrami slices one at a time, so they each have a chance to soak up the liquid. Let it simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 10-15 minutes, or until the pastrami is completely reheated. Test a piece, it should be delicious and melt-in-your-mouth tender. Feel free to simmer a bit longer if desired, but don’t exceed 25-30 minutes.
- Serve that vegan pastrami up on an amazing vegan reuben (details below) or with anything you like. It would be especially amazing as a double down sandwich with two latkes instead of buns!
- Store leftover pastrami WITH some of that simmering liquid (enough to cover), to keep it moist and delicious.
- As noted above, you could use some of the leftover broth as the base of a vegan beef soup, and add your favorite veggies.
How to Make a Vegan Reuben
Oh man, these reubens are INSANELY good. I had a darn near religious experience when eating these, and I’m not just saying that as a pun on the fact that it’s part of my Jewish Recipes e-book, lol.
So, the start of these sandwiches is good toasted rye bread. Go for a nice bakery “Jewish rye” with caraway seeds, you deserve it.
Toast your rye enough so that it can hold up to a truly massive sandwich. The top piece of your bread should have vegan cheese melted onto it. I just put two slices of bread in my toaster oven, place one or two slices of cheese on one of the pieces, and toast to lightly browned perfection.
Use a vegan swiss or provolone--I’m currently developing both! If you can’t find them, use whatever vegan cheesy you like. I’ve got a mozzarella recipe that tastes like provolone if you add in a tablespoon of garlic powder (yes you read that right).
Then, add a thick layer of sauerkraut. Use any sauerkraut you like--I personally prefer a Polish brand that I cannot read or pronounce from my local grocery store… perks of living in the Chicago area. You may want to blot off a bit of the brine with a clean kitchen towel or paper towel so it doesn’t soak your bread.
Now, add a ridiculous amount of vegan pastrami. Truly, the sky's the limit, so stack it as high as your soul desires.
Place that vegan cheese covered toast cheese-side down on your sandwich, and enjoy! You may need a fancy sandwich toothpick to hold your sandwich together while you eat.
Enjoy immediately, preferably with a big pickle spear and some salt and vinegar chips.
Keep the sandwich ingredients on hand and you can enjoy vegan reubens pretty quickly all week long, just heat up the vegan pastrami when ready.
Want More Jewish Recipes?
While pastrami isn’t exclusively Jewish, it’s certainly enjoyed by a lot of Jews, especially those with New York blood (like me!).
I grew up eating a ton of awesome Jewish foods. However, I haven't had many of them since going vegan 3 years ago. So I've set out to veganize my favorites!
My Plant-Based Jewish Recipes e-book is now available for purchase and has 36 vegan Jewish recipes perfect for Chanukah, Passover, Rosh Hashanah and more.
Purchase and immediately receive your e-book that you can read digitally or print out and make tons of delicious Jewish comfort food recipes such as latkes, kugel, knishes, lox (!), black and white cookies, babka, and more! This book contains over 20 exclusive recipes that will never be released on the blog.
If that wasn’t enough to convince you I’ve got one more thing to tell you about this book. Over the next year or so, I’ll be releasing new versions of the book with new recipes for each major Jewish holiday (think Hamantaschen for Purim and flourless cake for Passover) and if you’ve already purchased my Plant-Based Jewish Recipes e-book, you’ll automatically get an updated version free of charge. Yup.
Click here to purchase or read more about the book.
More Seitan Recipes
I’m really enjoying making seitan. It’s fun to see what I can come up with, and that high protein, delicious meals don’t need to contain animal products.
Here’s a few awesome seitan recipes I’m loving right now:
- Vegan Philly Cheesesteaks (these happen to be the most popular recipe on my blog!)
- Vegan Drumsticks
- Seitan Chicken Nuggets
- Vegan Schnitzel
- Seitan Turkey
- Vegan Corned Beef
- Vegan Gyros
- Instant Pot Seitan (the basic beefy recipe for any application)
As always, I hope you love this recipe–I know I do, and Mr. Zardyplants does too. I definitely got the coveted reaction from him when he first tried it: eyes closed and “Mmmmpppphhhh” while chewing. I just love that.
Though if I’m being honest, we BOTH made that noise when trying the vegan reubens, after agonizing over photographing them. That moment of satisfaction after finishing the photography and chowing down was pure romance.
This vegan pastrami is:
- Moist (sorry)
- Meaty (but without the cruelty!)
- And perfect for a satisfying lunch, family dinner, or even just high protein vegan meal prep!
Let me know in the comments below if you make this recipe or tag me @Zardyplants on Instagram so I can see your beautiful recreations! If you tag me on IG, I will share your post in my stories :)
Also, one quick request: if you love how this recipe looks or tastes, please leave me a 5-star rating and a nice comment–ratings help more people find my recipes which helps me keep providing them! Thank you!