Blackbeet Beef

8 Jan

Sundays usually make me crave a big hearty meal. During football season, we usually have a giant feast of nachos but the cold this week had me craving something more hearty. I’ve had a lot of great feedback on my recent post for chickwheat shreds and some innovative people have been using black beans instead of chickpeas to create a ‘beef’.

Today seemed like a good day to test this recipe, and it was definitely a hit. I used roasted white mushrooms to create a beefy flavor and beets for more earthy undertones. The dark soy sauce helps turn the roast a nice deep brown, but if you can’t find it, you can use regular soy sauce with added browning sauce.*

Kneading in the food processor is what gives it the characteristic shredded texture, so be sure not to skip this step or cut it short. If you don’t have a dough hook, you can use your regular blade to knead. If you don’t have an Instant Pot, this can also be steamed in a conventional steamer for the same amount of time.


  • 2 cups/300g cooked black beans (cold, don’t use warm)
  • 1/2 cup/100g sliced canned beets
  • 3/4 cup/ 178 ml liquid from beets (vegetable broth or water can be substituted)
  • 4 roasted mushrooms (white or crimini) / 35 g after roasting
  • 2 tbsp/30 ml vegetable oil
  • 2 tbsp/30 ml mushroom flavored dark soy sauce*
  • 1 tsp/10g salt**
  • 1 tbsp/12g onion powder
  • 2 tsp/6g garlic powder
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 2/3 cup/235g vital wheat gluten


  1. Measure all ingredients up through the vinegar. Roast mushrooms for 30 minutes at 350°F in a small greased pan. Remove and let cool before blending.
  2. Blend all ingredients in a high speed blender until completely smooth, about 2 minutes. Weigh out vital wheat gluten while black bean and beet mixture is blending.
  3. Combine vital wheat gluten and black bean mixture in a large bowl. Let rest about 15 minutes to allow gluten to absorb the moisture.
  4. Separate dough into 2 to 3 parts. Fit a food processor with a dough hook (see note above), blend each portion until the dough is warm, stretchy, smooth, and ‘shreds’ of gluten are visible. This step is vital to the success of the recipe. This can take up to 8 minutes, depending on your food processor.
  5. Combine kneaded balls of dough onto a large sheet of aluminum foil.
  6. Fold foil into a circular package and crimp each edge in. Cover with another large sheet of aluminum foil and repeat.
  7. Add 2 cups of water to Instant Pot and insert trivet. Place packet on top of trivet. See my above note if you don’t have an instant pot.
  8. Set Instant Pot for manual, high pressure for 120 minutes.
  9. When roast is finished cooking, quick release the pressure, and allow to come to room temperature. Remove foil whenever it is cool enough to touch. Refrigerate for 6 or more hours.
  10. When roast has cooled thoroughly, heat a large Dutch oven or similar pan over medium heat. Add 2 tbsp of oil and 2 tbsp of soy sauce and sauté each side of roast until slightly darkened.
  11. Preheat oven to 350°F. Add vegetables to pan if desired, and a few teaspoons of oil. Bake for 25 minutes until vegetables are soft.
  12. Shred gently with two forks to serve. Suggested to enjoy with gravy and a dark beer.
  13. Roast can be completely shredded instead if desired, and stored in the fridge up to 1 week or shreds can be stored in the freezer for 3 months.

**use less salt if using a vegetable broth or other salted liquid.


37 Responses to “Blackbeet Beef”

  1. Cheryl January 8, 2018 at 12:18 pm #

    This looks incredible, and would be a nice change from our usual bean topped nachos. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Aliyanna January 8, 2018 at 1:37 pm #

    This looks really good! I was wondering if there was a gluten free sub. I would love to try…but the vital gluten is a big nono for a lot of us….

    • avocadosandales January 8, 2018 at 2:05 pm #

      Unfortunately there’s no gluten free option available yet that will work the same way vital wheat gluten does

  3. Angela FITTON January 8, 2018 at 1:52 pm #

    Looking for inspiration and just found it! Can not wait to make this on the weekend!

  4. Angie January 9, 2018 at 2:16 pm #

    Could you use the dough hook from a kitchen aid mixer to mix up and kneed dough instead of a food processor? I also have a vitamix?

    • avocadosandales January 9, 2018 at 2:26 pm #

      Several people have attempted with a dough hook on a kitchen aid but it doesn’t get quite the same level of revolutions as a food processor does. It’s worth a try, but I don’t guarantee that it will work. Vitamix definitely won’t work though!

    • Connie Sawatzky June 11, 2021 at 8:15 am #

      According to Mary’s test kitchen when making the chickwheat, her video says 45 min with the dough hook in the kitchenaide. I’ve done this with 20 min on low mix. Rest for 10 (to give my mixer a cool down) then 2o min mix. It worked beautifully for texture.

  5. Joe Savarese January 24, 2018 at 12:13 pm #

    What kind of food processor do you use? Mine is taking a beating. Maybe 3 batches next time instead of two. Also my meat got a little dark because the tin foil opened during the two hours. Thank you for your amazing recipes and your constant quest to open up the boundaries of vegan cooking

    • avocadosandales January 24, 2018 at 12:41 pm #

      Hi Joe! I use a several year old Ninja food processor, nothing special! I would recommend splitting it into 3 batches if yours is not happy about the size of 2.

  6. meshell January 27, 2018 at 11:41 am #

    do you think this would survive being frozen for a few days after the initial pressure cook?

    • avocadosandales January 27, 2018 at 12:18 pm #

      I think so. I’ve only ever frozen it post shredding but I can’t imagine it would change anything.

  7. Dee February 9, 2018 at 1:28 pm #

    Can you make this without a pressure cooker?

  8. Tammy February 10, 2018 at 2:23 pm #

    I’m using the same Ninja food processor you have, but mine overheated after about 4 minutes. Do you process yours for 8 minutes at a time, or do you pulse yours for that length of time? Thanks!

    • avocadosandales February 10, 2018 at 2:40 pm #

      Mine can usually process for longer than 8 minutes! It’s only overheated twice while making seitan, but turns back on after 30 minutes. The dough will be fine until it’s able to start again!

      • Tammy February 10, 2018 at 3:27 pm #

        Ok thanks!!

  9. Cat February 18, 2018 at 4:35 pm #

    So, I made this — followed the recipe perfectly. Everything looked like your photos, stringy bits of gluten, kneaded appropriately for 8 min per piece.. until it was time to taste. Mine was soft, so soft that I could actually poke it with my finger and a spongey bit would fall off. It wasn’t at all beefy tasting. The texture was that of a salty sponge. No chew. Very VERY disappointing, i planned to have this as my dinner and in my meals for the next week .. now to revamp my entire week of meals… just curious, how many times have you made this? Has it always turned out “perfect” for you? What is your texture like, in your opinion.

    • avocadosandales February 18, 2018 at 4:38 pm #

      Hi Cat, thanks for reaching out. I personally have made it several times now, and have seen it successfully made upwards of 30 times between Facebook/Instagram. I’m curious what cooking method you used, as it should turn out quite shreddy, and hold up well to being shredded and even sliced. Also, has the roast been chilled when you say it is quite soft? Gluten tends to firm up quite a bit after cooking. I’m happy to help you troubleshoot more through here or if you want to reach out through email in my contact me page.

      • Cat February 18, 2018 at 8:35 pm #

        I used the instant pot, I let cool, I followed everything word for word, and timed it out the same. It felt as if it were still just as “raw” as when I finished kneading it. Have you received any commentary stating it failed? I noted I was the only comment on here with a negative telly but did not see anyone commenting they made it. Very disappointed about this one, hopefully the chickwheat is different.. the colour on this was on point but that’s about it 😦

      • avocadosandales February 18, 2018 at 8:43 pm #

        I’ve not had anyone with complete failure feedback like this, no. The roast does come out a bit soft but it shouldn’t be nearly as soft as when it went in. Sorry to hear you are disappointed but I bet we can find the solution to this. Did you weigh or measure your ingredients by volume? How much water did you add to the pressure cooker? How tightly wrapped was your package (sometimes it can expand and get spongy)? If you join the Seitan Appreciation Society on Facebook you may be able to get more troubleshooting as well, as there are quite a few variables that affect the outcome.

      • avocadosandales February 18, 2018 at 8:44 pm #

        It would be great to troubleshoot this before attempting the chickwheat though, as they are such similar cooking methods!

  10. Elizabeth Woehrling February 27, 2018 at 3:40 am #

    Made the chickwheat shreds and they were great, would love to try this recipe too! However, am really allergic to mushrooms (not helpful when vegan!), I have natural flavourings I can maybe sub for the umami flavours but will leaving the mushrooms out affect the texture? Thanks!

    • Cynthia Teruya March 11, 2018 at 11:27 pm #

      I have the same allergy and would love to know what we can substitute!

      • avocadosandales March 12, 2018 at 5:46 am #

        Hi Cynthia, this is a tough question for me because the mushrooms are so much of the flavor of the recipe. You can definitely substitute something else(more beans or another vegetable), but I’m not sure what else will have the same flavor!

      • Elizabeth Woehrling March 12, 2018 at 7:44 am #

        Hi Cynthia, I was recently advised to replace mushrooms with sun dried tomatoes in the Avant Garde Vegan steak recipe. It tasted great to me so will try this with the black beet beef also.

  11. Vegan Atlanta Social Club March 27, 2018 at 10:51 am #

    ALL of your recipes are the bomb, Lacey! The chickwheat demo at our Instant Pot cooking class was a raving success. We’re hosting an Easter Brunch Garden Party Vegan Potluck Extravaganza this Sunday and this recipe is going to be front and center! Braised in a rootbeer sauce! Thank you for sharing your creative genius with us. xo

  12. Carol January 13, 2019 at 2:22 pm #

    About the beets. All I can find are pickled beets. Is that what you mean? I’m guessing no since they are so sweet. Could I just roast some beets or use beetroot powder and more liquid?

    • avocadosandales January 13, 2019 at 2:25 pm #

      I’m not sure where you’re located, but usually canned beets can be found in the vegetable aisle. Pickled beets can also be used, I’ve seen someone use them successfully.

  13. Laura Ellis February 15, 2019 at 4:44 pm #

    Have you ever thought of throwing this through a meat grinder at the end to make nice vegan crumbles? I’m thinking of doing that this weekend.

  14. Gail Spach November 15, 2019 at 12:51 pm #

    Thanks for this recipe. I love it as well as your chickwheat. Both turn out great for me. Making a pot roast in slow cooker today.

  15. Patti December 3, 2019 at 6:41 am #

    This was such a big hit!! Thank you so much!!

  16. Elizabeth December 24, 2020 at 1:37 pm #

    Happy Holidays! I would love to try this recipe:-) I have a food processor but no dough hook. Will processing it without the dough hook work? If not, would leaving it overnight on the counter (I have heard that works) or kneading by hand work? Many thanks, Liz

    • avocadosandales December 24, 2020 at 1:42 pm #

      Sure thing! Use your regular hook!

      • Elizabeth December 24, 2020 at 7:30 pm #

        Thank you, I will try that!!


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