Vegan Turkey Leg

12 Aug

While on a walk last night, my husband and I were discussing our plans to visit a Renaissance Faire over the weekend. I jokingly lamented the lack of a vegan turkey leg for us to eat there. “I could probably make one,” I said, and my husband replied “Yea, but it would have to be crunchy, like it had a skin.”

Later that night I was laying in bed thinking of how to make this happen. It has been years since either of us has had meat, but the idea of a crunchy, chewy protein on a stick still has its appeal. I’d made the turkey loaf recipe a few times and it had the same texture i wanted for my “turkey” leg. Using the basic technique for the loaf recipe, I played with different measurements and seasonings to better replicate the turkey flavor and create a denser structure. I then made fresh yuba to wrap around the turkey cutlets and give that satisfying crunch. Miyoko Schinner was the inspiration for the yuba as skin in her Unturkey recipe, available here.

Vegan Turkey Leg

• 3/4 of a 19 ounce block of tofu, pressed
• 2 cups vital wheat gluten
• 1 1/4 cup water
• 2 tablespoons canola oil
• 1 tablespoon soy sauce
• 1 tablespoon miso paste
• 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
• 1/2 tsp poultry seasoning
• 1/4 tsp sage
• 1 tsp onion powder
• 1 tsp salt
• 2 drops liquid smoke

For the skin*
• 2 cups plain unsweetened soy milk
• 2 tbsp coconut oil
• salt and pepper

1. Cut your tofu into 4 equal slabs and press well, wrapped in towels under a  heavy weight for 1 hour.
2. Crumble THREE portions of the tofu into a blender with the water, oil, soy sauce, miso, and seasonings.

Vegan Turkey Leg

3. Completely blend the tofu until it looks like a thick cream.

Vegan Turkey Leg

4. Mix into the vital wheat gluten in a large bowl. When dry mixture is completely combined, dump onto a clean work surface.


5. Cut into four slabs from the original large slab. Knead each one individually until it becomes stretchy and smooth looking, about 5 minutes.

Vegan Turkey Leg

6. Wrap each slab in a few layers of yuba (instructions for making it below.)
Oil a large sheet of aluminum foil with coconut oil and place skin side down. Add seasonings on top of the oil, if desired.

Vegan Turkey Leg

7. Fold aluminum foil to form a package in a square shape. Fold the top and bottom in, then make seams along the edges. Leave a little room for expansion along the edges.

Vegan Turkey Leg

8. Place the packet on the middle rack of the oven and bake for 60 minutes. Remove from oven and unwrap foil and bake for an additional 15 minutes for a crisper skin. Remove again after 15 minutes and transfer to a large sealable container.
Vegan Turkey Leg

9. Add a chopstick or popsicle stick for a handle, if desired.
Vegan Turkey Leg

10. Serve with dipping sauce of choice. If desired, coat in barbecue sauce in tin foil and bake for an additional ten minutes for a barbecued turkey leg.
Vegan Turkey Leg

For the Yuba:
1. Heat soymilk in a medium nonstick pan over very low heat. After about 10 minutes you will notice the surface developing a skin.

2. When the skin is thick enough to handle, break the edges around the pan with a knife or chopstick. Gently lift up and place on a plate. It may break or tear if it’s too thin, but using several layers on the turkey, it won’t be noticable.
Vegan Turkey Leg

*Alternatively, you can purchase frozen dried yuba from many Asian markets. Just rehydrate according to the directions until it’s pliable enough to wrap. If you do chose to make you own, it’s easier to start it when you begin making the seitan, as it takes about 10 minutes for each layer. Try to use soy milk that only contains soybeans and water; I like Westsoy organic and Trader Joe’s brand. It may not work as well with commercial brands like Silk that have additives, I have not tested it.


3 Responses to “Vegan Turkey Leg”

  1. Penny Veg August 12, 2015 at 2:14 pm #


  2. elle August 17, 2015 at 7:18 am #

    Very creative idea!! I have used yuba for making “chicken teriyaki”, but I never tried using it as a wrap. I’ll bet that works very well! (Here’s the link, in case you want to check it out!

    I also have not tried making my own yuba at home. I will definitely give this a go. Thanks for the great idea 😀

  3. Kathy May 25, 2023 at 4:09 pm #

    Hi Lacey,
    I made your vegan Seitan turkey legs and oh my gosh they are absolutely delicious. I’m going to be making fried chicken with these I put them into like thigh size and then I wrap it with rice paper and I dip it in a vegan buttermilk and I’m going to do a season panko and flour crumbs and I deep fry them but I also decided since I love the taste and texture I will be making my turkey out of this for Thanksgiving. I’ve been looking for a truly good recipe and this is the first recipe I used that tasted so delicious… The only thing I did different was I didn’t have any tofu but I find that I like chickpeas when I make it and so I just substituted a can of chickpeas I drained the aquafaba and I save that for something later and then I really rinse the chickpeas and and I whirled it right up. I have a KitchenAid so I did the whole thing. I kneaded it for 45 minutes. I did it every 15 minutes with the break in between cuz it gets the machine too hot. Then after I needed I put the chicken in a olive oil grease pan and I baked it for 30 minutes and I should have flipped it so that I could have gotten a nice Brown on the other side but I was distracted. Then in the same dish I took the Satan out and I added in an onion five cloves of garlic and I used this frontiers chicken list seasoning and I put that in and I think I put some sage in also and then I added water then I put the say tan back in covered it and put it back in the oven and let it simmer at for about an hour and I flipped it every half hour well let me tell you the juice will make an excellent chicken gravy. And the rest I’ll be making my fried chicken with it. So thank you for a wonderful wonderful recipe. I’m so happy that I actually now have something that’s going to taste really good for Thanksgiving I use yuba skin when I do my turkeys because I like the stuff my Turk’y Seitan with an herbed bread stuffing. Than wrap it with yuba. That is the most delicious thing in the world I think. So thank you thank you thank you. Have a happy Memorial Day!

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