The Great Gluten Turkey

Posted December 20th, 2006 by s5

Serves 8-12.

Amazing, fun, incredible, and tasty, this creation will delight and satisfy any vegetarian wondering what to make for the centerpiece of a Thanksgiving or Christmas table. Like any good turkey, this one looks quite imposing with its golden and juicy-looking “skin” which, when cut, reveals white “meat” enclosing whatever kind of dressing you like. Accompanied by a tasty gravy and homemade cranberry sauce, no vegetarian will ever feel left out when the holidays roll around.

The skin for the turkey is made from “yuba,” a product made from the skin that forms when soy milk is heated. It can be purchased as fragile, dry sheets at Japanese food stores, or at certain Chinese markets in the freezer section. “Yuba” is a Japanese term and will not be understood at a Chinese grocery. The Chinese form, often labelled “bean curd sheet” or “bean curd skin,” is usually less fragile than the Japanese variety, easier to use and less expensive. To be sure you purchase the right product, avoid flat square sheets which, when closely examined, look like thick canvas (you can actually see the “weave”). Instead buy sheets that look heavily wrinkled. Sometimes they are sold as large (over 20″) circles that are folded and sold in small packets. They will be yellow in color. Some tofu cookbooks contain a recipe for making homemade yuba. The process is not hard and can be adopted when commercial yuba is not available.


Using wheat flour:
10 lbs. high-protein whole wheat flour, preferable finely ground
Approximately 14 cups water
1/3 cup Light Nutritional Yeast Flavoring (or more)

Using vital wheat gluten flour:
8 cups vital wheat gluten flour
mixed with 6 cups water
and 1/3 cup Light Nutritional Yeast Flavoring

One yard of cheesecloth
2/3 cup Light Nutritional Yeast Flavoring (or more)

1 gallon of water
1/3 cup margarine [we recommend Earth Balance --s5]
1/3 cup white wine

2 round circles Chinese bean curd sheet (yuba), or enough smaller squares to cover “turkey” in two or three layers (3 or 4 packets)

6 – 8 cups Great Gluten Dressing or stuffing of choice (bread, wild rice, chestnut, etc.)


The “yuba” must be soaked and reconstituted to a soft, pliable texture before using. It is best to put individual sheets between wet towels until they turn soft and white in color. They are then ready to use.

Using either wheat flour or vital wheat gluten flour, make gluten according to the Homemade Gluten recipe. Roll it out into a rectangle approximately 15 inches long and 8 to 10 inches wide. Sprinkle with 1/3 cup yeast flavoring (unless you’ve added it in with your vital wheat gluten). Roll it up lengthwise. Spread out the cheesecloth and place the gluten roll in the middle. Wrap the sides of the cloth around the gluten roll first, then tie the ends together. It should be wrapped fairly loosely so that the gluten can expand a little while cooking but not so loose that it expands too much and becomes too soft and spongy in texture.

Place the roll in a large pot. Pour over it the gallon of water and the remaining 2/3 cup yeast flavoring. Cover, bring to a boil, turn down the heat, and simmer for 1 1/2 hours. This process can be done up to two days before serving.

Prepare the Great Gluten Dressing or stuffing of your choice. Remove the gluten roll from the stock, saving the stock for gravy. Untie and remove the cheesecloth. Unroll the “turkey” and fill it with the stuffing, or mound the stuffing on a large, greased baking sheet and place the gluten around it. Place the stuffed gluten on a large, greased baking sheet.

Reconstitute the yuba by soaking for five minutes in water in a flat, shallow dish, or between layers of wet towels. It will turn white and be pliable but will still be fragile. Cover the “turkey” with two to three layers of yuba. Melt the margarine and brush the entire “turkey” with some of it. Pour the wine into the remaining margarine: this will be used to baste the “turkey” while baking. If desired, two tablespoons of the yeast flavoring can be added to the margarine-wine mixture to give it an even more authentic flavor.

Place the “turkey” in a preheated 350 degree oven and bake for 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 hours, basting every 15 minutes with the wine-margarine mixture and the juices in the pan. If it browns too much, cover loosely with aluminum foil.

Carve as you would a regular roast and accompany with stuffing.

Per serving: Calories: 514, Protein: 46 gm., Fat: 8 gm., Carbohydrates: 58 gm.

27 Responses to “The Great Gluten Turkey”

How big of a pan am I going to be needing for baking the unturkey?

Posted by xvx on November 24th, 2008 at 8:39 pm | Permalink |

A standard cookie sheet will do it. I think they’re 13×17″?

Posted by s5 on November 24th, 2008 at 10:01 pm | Permalink |

having a hard time with the yuba

can’t find it at the asian stores around me sent dh out for it tonight & they sent him home with $15.00 worth of tofu puffs (deep fried) tried to make it myself but it didn’t come out well.

Any tips oh how to cook it, remove it from pan and how to store/dry it? please..tia

Posted by mollie on November 25th, 2008 at 9:25 pm | Permalink |

Yeah, tofu puffs aren’t quite right. Yuba is uncooked or frozen.

Another name for it is “bean curd sheet”, which I usually hear from chinese grocers. I think yuba might be the japanese name.

Posted by s5 on November 25th, 2008 at 9:35 pm | Permalink |

this is the only recipe i found online for making yuba at home::
Heat the soymilk in like a frying pan (so you get a large surface for the yuba to form on). Let is sit on low until the crust forms (takes a few minutes). Take a knife or fork and run it along the edges of the pan (to release the skin so it doesn’t stick when you’re trying to lift it). Get a long chopstick (the kind cooks use) and run it under the skin all the way over – then lift up carefully (the skin will hang over the chopstick) – let it stay up for a few secs to let excess soymilk drip off. Then lay it flat on a paper towel (well, not flat – it will be doubled over – but that’s okay). Repeat.on my stove it took about 10 minutes for a film to form on a standard size frying pan at slightly above 3/8ths heat. I ended up buying yuba from a market in town (Anzen Hiroshi if you live in Portland, Or, they’re AMAZING!) because the only sot milk i had at home was sweetened and that makes it taste a little weird. hope this helps!

Posted by brendangrubb on November 26th, 2008 at 10:58 pm | Permalink |

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