10.23.2012

Homemade vegan ham, just in time for the holidays

A little more than a year ago my husband and I ventured into the world of making our own seitan. We weren't sure if it was hard or not, but we tried a few different methods and found (you guessed it) the crock pot to turn out the absolute best results. I use a 7 or 7 quart crock pot to make both of these roasts, so if you're working with some smaller space I'd halve the recipe. I haven't tested cooking times on just one roast yet, so stay-tuned.

After spending several holidays trying out different versions of premade "roasts," we decided last year to try our own hand at making vegan ham. And sure enough, after a few trials and tribulations, we found the best method and flavor profile to remind you of the brown-sugar and pineapple-crusted ham of your childhood. (Minus the atrocious cruelty and all that).

The majority of this roast will be cooked in your crock pot, however it will spend a little quality time in the oven to allow that sweet glaze the opportunity to create a candied rind.



Candied Vegan Ham
(serves 8-10)
Ingredients: 
3 cups vital wheat gluten
1 cup water
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1/2 cup pineapple juice
2 TB soy sauce
2 TB liquid smoke
2 TB pure maple syrup (don't skimp here, get the good stuff)
2 tsp black pepper
2 tsp onion powder
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp cloves
1 can veggie broth

For the glaze:
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup pineapple juice
1/2 stick vegan  butter
2 TBS Dijon-style mustard
1 TBS molasses

Directions:
Spray/grease your crock pot and turn it on low. In a bowl, mix together wheat gluten, nutritional yeast, black pepper, onion powder, paprika and cloves. Add pineapple juice, soy sauce, liquid smoke, maple syrup and water. Mix and knead for 2 minutes. The mixture should be slightly damp and sticky. Form two round loaves and place in crock pot (if you try just one big ole' roast it probably won't set right). Pour vegetable stock over and cook it on low for two hours and then cook it on high for three hours.

Once your "ham" has cooked, place the loaves in a greased casserole dish. "Score" the ham (just make not-to-deep slices into the roast) and preheat the oven to 400 degrees. In a small bowl, mix together the brown sugar, mustard, pineapple juice, melted vegan butter and molasses. Pour this glaze over your roasts and stick in the oven for an additional 15-20 minutes.

Let it sit for 15 minutes and then enjoy the heck out of it, hot or cold!

57 comments:

  1. I'm usually not a fan of vegan "meats," but this looks awesome and easy to make! I'm gonna try it as soon as I get the chance to buy the ingredients.

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  2. This looks amazing! If I had a crockpot I would definitely try this.

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  3. I have a 4 quart slow cooker. Can this recipe be cut in half?

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  4. Yes, you can definitely cut this one in half and just make one loaf instead of two! You would have to play with the cook time some, as I'm not sure of it, I just know trying to make it into one giant roll/loaf didn't work because the middle wouldn't cook before the outside finished!

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  5. Amazing! No one could tell from the photo that this ham didn't live on a farm.
    Definitely on my "to make" list with leftovers going in the freezer for sandwiches, salad, beans, etc.

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  6. WHAT?!?!? So excited to try this!!!! :)

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  7. Yum! I make seitan pretty regularly, but have never tried making it ham-style.

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  8. This looks awesome! The last few years of Christmas/Thanksgiving have been spent with me making food for myself and the only vegetarian in my family. This definitely looks like it could get others interested enough to give it a try.

    Can't wait to try it!

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  9. Crap, I am in the middle of making this, and I realized, I don't know how much is in a "can of vegetable broth"! (I always make my own). How much veg broth would a can be? :)

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  10. I'm pretty sure it's the 15.5 oz variety. I don't even look myself anymore ;)

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  11. Oh, awesome, finally a great use for my (huge!) 7 quart slow cooker!

    Awesome, awesome, awesome!

    XOXO

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  12. I have a question. Is the cooking time 3 hours on slow and then 2 hours on high? or 3 hours on slow OR 2 hours on high?

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  13. Low for two hours and high for three! :)

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  14. So, this ham cooks for 5 hours, low for 2 and then high for 3 more hours, correct?

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  15. Yes, on low for two hours and then on high for three! (I like to do high last on this recipe because a lot of slow cookers differ so this way you can turn it off 15 minutes early if it looks done or let it go 15 minutes longer if it's not)!

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  16. I made this for dinner last night - practice round for Thanksgiving. I really liked it. I halved the liquid smoke because we were running pretty low on it. I also totally spaced on the margarine in the glaze. It still turned out great.

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  17. I have neither a slow cooker nor do I have a Crock Pot. Couldn't it be cooked on low for 2 hours on my stove, and than set to medium high for 3 hours? I have to ask because I would love to make this but I really can't run out to buy a crock or slow at this time. The holidays have been quite expensive. I always make my own Faux meats but I always steam them than finish them off by baking them the rest of the way done. I even made my Bain Marie to use for my Turkey this year. My Email is allestery2007@yahoo.com for anyone who has an answer for my question.

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  18. Thanks for your speedy reply. I definitely have the steamer, and I can also make a perfect Bain Marie to use for it. My turkey roast was rolled up in foil, and than baked in the Bain Marie for 2 hours at 350 and came out great. I will check to see if I can find someone who might have a crock pot that they will let me use. I definitely have to do this recipe.

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  19. I made this today in preparation for Christmas Dinner tomorrow, and while it tastes good, the texture is not right. While it was cooking in the slow cooker, it expanded quite a lot, and was very spongy. After that, it was actually too firm on the outside to be able to score for the glaze/baking part, and is quite chewy to eat. Any ideas on what I may have done wrong? I suspect that overcooking might play some part, but the fact that the texture was so spongy and it expanded so much in the slow cooker (although deflated when removed) makes me wonder if there's something else I did wrong. Thank you, and Merry Christmas from New Zealand :)

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    1. I would suggest making the loaves, tying them tightly in Cheesecloth and simmiring in a broth of your choosing for 2 hours. Let cool a bit, unwrap and finish in the oven.

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  20. Hi!

    My name is Fernanda, I'm from Brazil!

    I've just made your recipe and it is delicious!!! THANK YOU!!! S2

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  21. I'm wondering what size slow cooker you were using as it can seem to alter these homemade roasts from time to time. (I usually have more luck in a larger crock pot for whatever reason). If you were using a smaller one it's possible that too much of it soaked in liquid. If it came out too spongy you could try reducing the liquid down a tiny bit, use less veggie broth if needed, you want the ham to kind of "baste" and marinate in the liquid, not really soak in it.
    It will feel slightly spongy when it comes out of the crock pot and the oven will firm it up some then. It definitely shouldn't deflate though! ;) Hopefully this helps you out some, seitan can certainly be tricky!

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  22. How do you stack both halves in the slow cooker?Do you lay them on top
    of each other or use a rack of some sort?Thanks

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    1. I was able to fit mine side by side.

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  23. Will both fit side by side in a regular sized crock pot? Or should I half it?

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  24. Just made this for Easter dinner! My first go at homemade seitan and it is delicious! My husband is (a very open-minded) meat eater, and he loved it too! Thanks for the fabulous recipe!

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    1. I love to hear about meat eaters digging some seitan!! Glad it worked out :)

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  25. What crockpot size are you using? We also just tried the recipe but our two pieces of ham also inflated to the size of a football each ;) ... It maybe too much broth as you said ... We would like to try it again but next time we hope it would end up looking like yours ;) ...Thoughts? Thanks Tony

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    1. I usually do these in an 8 quart, but have had luck with my 7 quart as well. I haven't made these in a while, but if you're having spongy, over-inflation issues you could try this (I've had luck doing this with another seitan-roast variety): Drizzle just enough of your liquid over the roasts to keep them moist throughout the cooking process. So maybe once in the first two hours and then check on them every 45 minutes or so in the last hour. We have the crock pot brand crock pots if that helps anyone. Also, you could try taking the lid off for the last 30 minutes to an hour!

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  26. you are amazing!! I am so glad I found your blog!! I am going to have to try to make this. I bet it would make fantastic sandwiches with the leftovers.

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  27. I just made this totally according to directions in a 7 quart crock pot(Crock Pot brand). The loaf looked like the picture in the review from The Unintentional Vegan rather than the plumb loaf in your picture. The taste is great but the crust is very difficult to cut through. The other review said her crust was very crunchy as well. Maybe cut down on the cooking time or is this just the way it should be?

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    1. To be honest it could be a few things. My mother and I have the same crock pot and we get different results from time to time. I would try reducing the cooking time in the crock pot by maybe 30 minutes to 1 hours, you just want to make sure it has a "springy" texture, it should bounce back some after you push it. It really shouldn't be coming out too crispy until it spends time in the oven. I'm planning on doing this one again this month, so I will update accordingly if I need to! Thanks again for the feedback! :)

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  28. OK thank you--mine turned out like the post from New Zealand--almost impossible to cut through and very, very chewy. I told my husband it was jerky and he ate it right up.

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  29. So if I were to freeze this, would I do it after it roasts in the crockpot? Or after the oven? Just wrap it in saran right?

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    1. Honestly, I wouldn't freeze it unless it's been baked fully. Also, I wouldn't leave it in it's hunk form, I'd slice it up and use it on sandwiches or cube it to use for green beans and potatoes. I've had luck using it in the green bean potato stew after it was frozen, but I'm afraid of what it would do to the consistency if you froze it whole.

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  30. Hi do you have a suggestion on cooking time / method of (like me) you don't have a crock / slow cooker? Could it perhaps be simmered in a regular pot instead for an alternative time?

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    1. First off, ask for a crock pot for your next holiday celebration, they're magical little beasts! :) Secondly, we have had some luck cooking a regular seitan roast in the oven before (it comes out slightly gummier sometimes), but it's worth a shot. Now, again, warning, we haven't done this particular roast in the oven, so I can't guarantee results, but we did the following for a regular roast. Preheat the oven to 350. Take each ball of "roast" dough and wrap it in aluminum foil. Place on a baking sheet and pop it in the oven for 90 minutes, turning it three-four times. Take out and then bake per the recipe above to get the "crust" on it. Good luck!

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  31. For those of you who find that their dough becomes spongy, try wrapping it in cheesecloth (making sure to tie off the ends) before cooking in the crockpot. This will prevent the dough from expanding too much.

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    1. Thanks for the tip Rebecca! I have a feeling a lot of people will be employing this for the holiday season!!

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    2. I'm going to try it myself with this recipe - thanks!

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  32. I followed this recipe to a t and it came out flawless! We eat meat, but my sister does not and we wanted to make something special for her to feel at home. Thank you for helping all of us out!!

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  33. Can you make this ahead at any point and refrigerate or freeze? Make the loaf ahead refrigerate or freeze, then cook later. Or make, slow cook, then refrigerate or freeze, then oven roast later. Thank you, I am slow cooking this as we speak.

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    1. I haven't frozen this until after its been fully cooked (in the crock pot and the oven). I've always feared the texture because homemade seitan can be temperamental. If you do want to try it, I'd do it before the oven part, as it retains most of its texture through cooking in the crock pot! Let us know if you do this and if it succeeds! :)

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  34. Ok...I followed this recipe to the "t" and it came out perfectly! While none of the omnivores at Xmas dinner would touch it (they seemingly felt it looked unappetizing), it did actually taste just like a glazed holiday ham! My boyfriend and I enjoyed it for Xmas dinner as well as the day after. Truly great recipe!

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  35. I went searching for "vegan ham recipe" and this was the first one that popped up. I wanted an alternative to Tofurky slices. (I don't buy them often, but man, are they expensive.) This looks yummy. Thanks for sharing the recipe.

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    1. I'm so glad you found this to be helpful! We love to make our own and slice it! Good luck! :)

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  36. Could you make this the day before and put it in the fridge overnight? Would heating it up in the oven the next day dry it out? I'd like to try to make this for my nephew this weekend but not sure I'll have enough time on Sunday.

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    1. You can totally refrigerate it! I find that seitan firms up and tastes better after a night in the fridge, so I always prepare it the day before.

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    2. I concur with the comment above. Our seitan roasts are always so much better the next day!

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  37. i have no idea what i did wrong but i got one large clot in my crockpot....so much for my easter ham dinner....after this failure i feel like going back to eating meat....
    i was so looking forward to having a nice ham dinner....

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    1. Holidays can always be a tempting time to go back to our familiar favorites! I think it really depends on why you decided to stop eating meat. If it was for animal welfare, just try to realign your beliefs from where they were in the beginning and it helps. If we couldn't "mock" a food we usually started a new tradition! We have vegans friends who do "fajita Fridays" for Good Friday!

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  38. Well I didn’t throw away my clot...it was late I was tired; I cooked it in the oven for another hour to dry it out a little before putting it in the refrigerator. On Easter I stuck it back into the oven at 400 for 30 min before adding the glaze....this turn out to be a pretty good meat loaf....
    I won’t be making this again, I throw out my crock-pot.

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    1. I'm sorry this didn't turn out the way you wanted it to! I would encourage you not to throw out your crock pot, there are so many more wonderful things you can make with it, really! And I've found the "ham" roast to be the trickiest of the ones we prepare in the crock pot. We've done lots of delicious things in it though!

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    2. I like my Dutch oven better. I might buy a new crockpot someday, but for now it’s a herb garden, well in a day or two it will be.
      This was my second time making my on seitan, made braised seitan ribs before which turned out awesomely.
      I’ve only been a vegan for a few months were my wife has been one for a couple of years. Seeing how I’m the cook in the family it makes things easier but I also do it for health reasons. But I’m getting weary of buying processed food, I like making my own. I thought I could control the salt better but every recipe for seitan is loaded with salt in one form or another. Sorry for my venting.
      I got a question about these loafs, after I got two nice loafs I set them down on a plate while I greased up the crockpot and by the time I went to put them in the crock they became a sticky ball of glue, is that normal of seitan?

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    3. No need for apologies here, I commend you for wanting to make your own food. We were the same way, we realized eating all the processed fake meats weren't much better nutritionally than anything else mass-produced. Most of my seitans are on the softer side, but not sticky persay, more, sinewy. This one, however, is rather sticky because of the juice and sauces used in it. If you check out this post I show a more up-close version of a seitan roast before going into the crock pot. This was for corned beef but this is what most of them end up looking like. http://www.chubbyveganmom.com/2014/03/vegan-corned-beef-get-your-st-patricks.html

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    4. OH...I am going to try that one next, i love a good Ruben...not sure what we had for St Paddy's Day this year, probably a butternut / chickpea stew...

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