Today I'm bringing you a homemade vegan baloney recipe! Do you say baloney or do you call it bologna? Either way, these vegan deli slices are so easy to make, and so tasty too! Perfect as a snack, to layer in sandwiches, and it even fries up beautifully just like the traditional version!
I think I may be turning into a vegan butcher these days. I've gotten into this streak of posting one meaty vegan recipe after another... and I'm loving it! Vegan steak, chicken, chicken wings, chicken nuggets, Italian sausages, chorizo, pepperoni, fried fish, and now vegan baloney!
It's such a fun challenge for me try and remember what animal products used to taste like (it's been almost 7 years since I've eaten meat) and then to try and recreate those flavours and textures. And some people say vegan cooking is boring... nuh uh!
It's probably been even more than 7 years since I've eaten bologna as I really enjoyed it more as a kid, but let me tell you, making a fried vegan baloney sandwich with vegan mayonnaise, some yellow mustard and a bit of lettuce brought me right back to those childhood sandwiches! The kid in me was overjoyed, and so was the adult in me. Tas-tee! These slices are fantastic for your lunch box no matter what your age.
To make vegan baloney:
In a food processor add the tofu, ketchup, nutritional yeast, soy sauce, onion powder, garlic powder, smoked paprika, mustard powder, and nutmeg.
*Nutmeg may sound like an odd addition and it is totally optional if you want, but nutmeg is traditionally one of the ingredients in baloney that gives it its classic taste.
Mix until smooth as possible, stopping to scrape the sides as needed.
Add the vital wheat gluten and pulse several times to incorporate, scraping the sides as needed. It will form a crumbly dough.
Turn the mixture out onto a clean work surface and knead together to form a dough. Shape into a large log that will fit in your steamer basket.
Roll the log up in foil twisting the ends closed so it looks like a large candy.
Place in the steamer basket and cover. Steam for 1 hour. The vegan baloney will have expanded in the foil making a tight log. Remove from the steamer basket and allow it to cool. Chill in the fridge until completely cold. Now it is ready to slice an enjoy! Store in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 1 week.
This vegan bologna is great as a snack, but it's also fantastic fried or layered in a sandwich.
Vegan Baloney (Bologna)
- 1 block (350g) extra-firm tofu, drained
- ½ cup ketchup
- ¼ cup nutritional yeast
- 3 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 ½ tablespoons onion powder
- 1 ½ tablespoons garlic powder
- 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
- 1 tablespoon mustard powder
- ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
- 1 ¾ cups vital wheat gluten
- Add several inches of water to a large pot with a steamer basket and bring to a boil.
- In a food processor add the tofu, ketchup, nutritional yeast, soy sauce, onion powder, garlic powder, smoked paprika, mustard powder, and nutmeg. Mix until smooth as possible, stopping to scrape the sides as needed. Add the vital wheat gluten and pulse several times to incorporate, scraping the sides as needed. It will form a crumbly dough.
- Turn the mixture out onto a clean work surface and knead together to form a dough. Shape into a large log that will fit in your steamer basket. Roll the log up in foil twisting the ends closed so it looks like a large candy. Place in the steamer basket and cover. Steam for 1 hour, or until the internal temperature reaches at least 160F (71C). The vegan baloney will have expanded in the foil making a tight log.
- Remove from the steamer basket and allow it to cool. Move to the fridge and chill completely before serving. When ready to serve just slice an enjoy! Store in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 1 week
Hal Westhead says
Excellent recipe. Very easy to make (with the right equipment!).
I've started to use red lentils (200g) in the recipe instead of the 350g extra firm tofu. Discovered this by accident when I forgot to buy the tofu and tried out an alternative.
This also works well as a replacement for ham/bacon in a morning fry-up. (Who said you couldn't slice baloney lengthwise).
It's become a standard for me.
Karen Baker says
Me, too! Today, all I had was red lentil tofu and it worked like a dream - I'll not buy supermarket tofu again, methinks. My only 'complaint' (hahaha) is that any restraint has gone through the window I can't stop eating it and I'll probably be making more tomorrow. Thank you so much,Sam, for both recipes!! x
kyle k says
super nice! really hits the sandwich craving spot
Eric L says
Commenting again because I forgot to give it five stars!
Eric L says
Eerily close to the "real" thing. . .Tastes like turkey baloney!
Looks like it, too and has similar mouth feel. Only 1 of my kids has ever had meat baloney but she agrees it tastes like it.
I put 1 cup water in the Instant Pot, put the log on the trivet, and cooked 50 minutes on Manual, with 20 minutes natural pressure release. Came out great!
It did not taste too much like ketchup -- I used 1/4 cup ketchup and 1/4 cup mustard, and left out the mustard powder 'cause I didn't have it.
Jamila Williams says
Will you make the vegan bologna for me?
Eric L says
Yes, Jamila! If you live near ATL, GA 🙂
I take it the recipe did not turn out like you hoped?
Giving it 5 stars because NEXT time I make it I will check that I'm not using low-sodium soy sauce... The texture and flavours are perfect, but obviously not enough salt, because I am an idiot. Quite similar to one I've been making for years (my own invention!) that has, instead of tofu and ketchup (and nutmeg - that's a game changer): a can of baked beans! But I think the texture of yours is better. And the nutmeg - good one.
Hi Sam, I would love to try this recipe, but I can’t tolerate nutritional yeast unfortunately. Do you have any suggestions for a substitute?
Deb Z says
I almost always use the Instant Pot and usually do about half the time that regular steaming would take.
I recently discovered your site and I've already made your vegan chicken and bacon and they've come out amazing, (even if I've had to swap some ingredients based on what I could get my hands on). I am really excited to try this but I'm currently living in Japan and I'm having a really hard time finding vital wheat gluten, (I know I can order it online but I always try to avoid that if possible). Do you think this recipe would work with regular flour? I also have gluten powder so I could add some to the flour but it would still have the strach in. Please let me know what you think!
Thanks in advance
Marsha Bowman says
We don't like baloney, but use a lot of Tofurky roasted turkey deli slices. So I amended this recipe to make smoked turkey and it is GREAT!
OMIT: ketchup, mustard powder, smoked paprika, and nutmeg.
1Tbs powdered chicken flavored broth base
1-1/2 Tbs liquid smoke
Reduce vital wheat gluten to 1-1/2 C
Everything else remains the same. So happy to have found this recipe and to have been able to adjust it successfully. Thanks, Sam!
Sam Turnbull says
So glad you enjoyed!
Thank you for this! That is our favorite and I was hoping to make this to taste the same (not a huge fan of bologna). I am excited to try this!
I break off small pieces of the dough, roll into individual 'hot dog' sized pieces and roll each into aluminum foil, steam and use as hot dogs. Grill, top with veggie chili and cheese on a toasted bun!!! Yummy!
Thank you for posting this comment! I had not thought about doing this, but it makes so much sense. My kiddos love veggie hotdogs and this will be such a good substitute for store-bought.
Mike S says
I'd made this before and have again, with variations: I put in 4 tbsp soy sauce, 1/4 c canola oil, 2 tbsp each of onion and garlic powder, 1 tbsp salt, 1/2 tbsp nutmeg, and 1 tsp each of ground clove and allspice. Also, I added just a bit more vital wheat gluten, and after steaming, placed it in the oven at 350 F for about 45 minutes. Have to say, it's tasty, but will try it next time without the ketchup, which makes the taste a bit too "bright", in my opinion. On the whole, though, I like it.
I'm keen to try this recipe. Is there something I could I substitute for the vital wheat gluten?
Jen E says
Hi. I'd love to have a GF sub as well. Is that even possible?
Me too. Would make this in a heart beat if i could do it GF
Katherine D Emerson says
Same here. Am allergic to wheat (and chickpeas and nuts). What might we use as a substitution? Thanks.
Xantham gum is often used as a substitute in other recipes with a ratio of 1/2 tsp xantham gum for every tablespoon of vital wheat gluten. Could work.
Katherine D Emerson says
Dawn, did you ever hear back about a GF option? I would like one as well since I'm allergic to wheat 🙂
You really cannot make seitan gluten free. You could make something totally different but it wouldn't be seitan at all. I'm sure Sam has something else delicious that could go on a sandwich on her site!
NotA Good Cook says
I rated 5 stars bc it SMELLS good, lol. Still cooking.
A note of warning to others: DO NOT try to pulse in the gluten in a bullet-type processor. There's not room! If this ends up being as good as it smells, I'll buy a real food-processor... I ended up having to immersion-blender in the strings of solid gluten, and add more to make a thicker pasty-dough-type thing. It was a mess. Hoping it turns out OK anyway!!!!
Donna S says
When I was a kid, my mom would make a meat spread from ground bologna, cheddar cheese, pickles and mayo. Although I was never a huge fan of bologna, I always loved the meat spread. It is one of the very few things I’ve missed since changing my diet a few years ago, so I was very happy to see your recipe and give it a try! I made the recipe exactly as you wrote it and I’m not at all mad about the results! The texture is perfect for grinding and the flavor, while not exactly like bologna, is very good! Thank you for solving my meat spread sammich problem!
Sam Turnbull says
So happy you enjoyed it, Donna! 🙂
I've been looking for recipes that could sub for meat for my husband and came across this one.
I loved balonga as a child, too. As a rule, I don't cook with soy or vital wheat gluten but was willing to see how the recipe came out. I read through all the comments and made the recipe as follows:
- used beans instead of tofu (used pinto but I think any would do)
- doubled the dry spices (except for the mustard and smoked paprika)
- added 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
- used 1/4c mustard & 1/4 c ketchup
The roll came together rather quickly in the food processor which lead me to believe it might be denser than need be.
I cut the roll in 1/2 (so it would fit in the Instant Pot). Both rolls were wrapped first with parchment paper then aluminum foil. They didn't expand when steamed, which also makes me think they were denser than the original recipe.
But when they were 95% cool, and we couldn't wait any longer, we tasted a slice, and it is delicious!!
Thank you so much for such a wonderful recipe. If you have any ideas how to make it a bit lighter with my tweaks, I would appreciate that.
How long did you cook it in the instant pot?
1 hour as written in the recipe.
If I halve this recipe, does it still need to steam for the same amount of time?
Sam Turnbull says
You can steam it a little less, but you can't really over steam seitan so better to leave it in to make sure it is cooked through. 🙂
Could firm tofu work as well?
So I was looking for a fun idea for our 4th of July picnic and was intrigued by your baked corn dogs. Since I didn't want to run to the store for vegan dogs, I made individual bologna dogs - dividing this recipe up into about 20 dog-sized pieces rolled in parchment and steamed (and since they were smaller, I only steamed them for 35 minutes rather than the full hour). They turned out wonderfully! Kids and adults loved them!
Sam Turnbull says
That's so fun! Thrilled you enjoyed it, Stephanie 🙂
Do you remove it from the tin foil once you take it out of steamer or do you let it cool in the tinfoil?
I so wanted this to be a five star and it could have been except all I taste is hotdogs and ketchup ? 🙁 the ketchup was off putting since I don’t eat it a lot anyway I was skeptic but tried it anyway should have gone with my instinct ! Is there any reason for the ketchup ? Could I sub for something more neutral use oil maybe instead ?
I was wondering what I can swap the ketchup for as well. It was a tad bit sweet for me.
I replaced most of the ketchup with tomato paste
Sam Turnbull says
You could try BBQ sauce 🙂
I liked the spices in the savoury Vegan Dad lunch meat recipe, but love the ease of the tofu and no follow-up baking for this one. So I tried to combine them. Worked well, but next time, I’d double the spices! And I might try the BBQ sauce as suggested by others.
* 1 block extra-firm tofu
* 1/4 cup sun dried tomatoes in oil
* 1/4 cup tomato paste
* 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
* 3 tablespoons soy sauce
* 2 teaspoons paprika
* 2 teaspoons onion powder
* 2 teaspoons garlic
* 1⁄4 teaspoon turmeric
* 1 teaspoon ground fennel
* 1 teaspoon sage
* 1 teaspoon pepper
* 1 3/4 cups vital wheat gluten