Vegan pepperoni is a meat-free, dairy-free, and gluten-free alternative to the real thing. You can add it to your pizza, eat it for breakfast in a sandwich, or just enjoy it as part of your vegan charcuterie board.
If you want to make amazing vegan pepperoni that is actually tasty and spicy, you've come to the right place. Besides, our vegan pepperoni is gluten-free and super easy to make. No seitan is used in this recipe, just tofu and a handful of key spices to make your vegan pepperoni really flavorsome and bright in color.
Want to make an amazing Detroit-style pizza? Great, because you can now add actual pepperoni to your pizza and enjoy it a lot more. It's super flavorsome, spicy, slightly salty, and just generally very tasty. Addicted to pizza? Then you will love this pepperoni recipe because it's a game-changer.
What is Pepperoni
While you can see it as a pizza topping almost everywhere in the world, did you know that pepperoni is actually an American invention? Pepperoni is an American variety of salami, originally made from meat. Of course, tracing back the origin of cured meat, we need to go all the way back to the Roman Empire.
Ok, but what about vegan pepperoni? Since I'm not using seitan, I'm sure you are wondering how you can get the perfect vegan pepperoni that keeps its shape. The secret? Tofu! And not just any tofu, but firm, smoked tofu. That's your best bet.
Since original pepperoni is seasoned with paprika and chili flakes, we needed to try and imitate some of the spices and add them to our tofu, to create an amazing vegan pepperoni that's simply too tasty for its own good.
Vegan pepperoni ingredients
Ready for all the secrets? Let's talk about ingredients and how to replace any of them if needed.
Smoked tofu: Tofu is going to be the base for your pepperoni. I strongly recommend that you use smoked tofu because that's really going to make your pepperoni taste more like the real thing. Also, make sure you get firm tofu! Very important or your pepperoni won't hold its shape properly.
Paprika: The star ingredient for taste and color: paprika is super important. Use either smoked paprika or spicy paprika. Sweet paprika won't work really well.
Chilli flakes: Authentic pepperoni is spicy! So you will want to use as much chili flakes as you can handle. Start with 2 tsp of chili flakes and go from there.
Garlic powder: Use garlic powder and not fresh garlic. I would not skip this ingredient as it really brings out the taste in your pepperoni.
Caster sugar: You can use any sugar you have in your pantry. If you want a healthier option go for coconut sugar. Do not use powdered sugar, though.
Mustard seeds: You can use mustard seeds or, as a tip, if you happen to have pickle spice, you can use that instead. I personally prefer using pickle spice as they are predominantly mustard seeds which some added spices like juniper seeds which really make the recipe so much better.
Balsamic vinegar: This will hydrate your mixture a little but also give it a bit of a kick. You can use any balsamic vinegar. If you don't have balsamic vinegar, you can use cider vinegar.
Mirin: Mirin is irreplaceable but if you don't have it in your pantry you can add 1tsp of soy sauce instead. I do recommend adding mirin if possible though.
How to make vegan pepperoni
A super easy recipe, you won't even believe it! Preheat the oven at 180C/ 350F.
Add all the vegan pepperoni ingredients to a food processor and process until they are all fine crumbs. They should be slightly sticky: to test it, take a bit of mixture between your fingers and press on it. If it sticks fairly well, then it's ready. If not, whizz more or add a little more balsamic vinegar to it.
Now, prepare a sheet of parchment paper on your counter. Place the mixture on the paper. Add a layer of cling film on top. Now using a rolling pin, roll the mixture to flatten it well.
The thickness of the mixture will dictate how thick your pepperoni slices are.
Remove the cling film and bake in the center of the oven for 15 minutes. You know it's ready when the mixture starts to brown at the edges and it's dry but flexible.
Allow it to cool for 5 minutes or so. Using a round cookie cutter, cut slices of pepperoni from your mixture. That's it! That's your vegan pepperoni ready to be used in a sandwich, as a snack, or on your pizza!
Now you are a vegan pepperoni expert and you are ready to make the best ever dishes that call for this ingredient.
Recipe adapted from Minimalist Baker.