Jul 26, 2011

Vegan Salami, Using Tapioca Pearls

I read somewhere that a chef used tapioca pearls in a dish to mimic fat.  Intrigued, I delved a little deeper into the subject, and found that vegans were already using them in seitan to improve texture.  I also found that you must use instant tapioca, so that it would actually cook through properly.  The tiny beads are barely recognizable in this, but I think it does add more softness and a little "bounce" to the texture.  Also, it does mimic the fat left on the tongue after eating salami.

This recipe tastes A LOT like salami, and slices thin (not paper thin, but pretty thin)!  

1 C. celery, chopped
1 C. yellow onion, chopped
pinch of salt to saute
3/4 C. water
2 cloves garlic
1/4 C. soy sauce or tamari
1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. liquid smoke
3 T. tomato paste (can substitute with ketchup)
2/3 C. nutritional yeast flakes
1 tsp. fennel seeds
1 T. smoked paprika
2 T. extra virgin olive oil
1/2 C. minute tapioca pearls
2 tsp. whole black peppercorns (or cracked if you prefer)
2 C. vital wheat gluten

Without any oil, saute the celery and onion with the pinch of salt in a non-stick skillet until tender.  

Transfer to a food processor with water, garlic, soy sauce, salt, liquid smoke, tomato paste, nutritional yeast, fennel, paprika, and olive oil.  Blend until pretty smooth (no big chunks).  

In a mixing bowl, mix tapioca pearls, peppercorns, and wheat gluten.  Add the wet mixture and mix until it becomes a stiff dough.  Get your hands in there and knead it until everything is well incorporated.  Roll into a couple of tubes and wrap tightly in aluminum foil.  Steam or pressure cook until firm (about 45 minutes) with indirect water.  (Optional for dryer texture) Remove from foil, brush with olive oil, and bake for 30 minutes in the oven, turning mid-way through.  Let cool a bit before cutting.


  1. Salami is just about one of my dad's favorite things... I'm so curious what he might think of this! He's actually home now, so I may just need to make it and find out. Very creative idea to use tapioca, it looks spot-on!

  2. YUM...YUM...YUM...Millie

  3. This looks so amazing! I've made seitan before, and am currently trialing a pack of vegan salami slices for the first time - what you've made is definately something I would love to give a whirl one day!
    Yay, something new to use my tapioca pearls in :D

  4. Wow! Interesting idea to use tapioca pearls, it sounds awesome! :-)

  5. This looks awesome! My hubby will love this :D

  6. looks great! i am almost positive this idea came from bryanna clarke grogan.


  7. I love being able to get and try these recipes I wish people had a printer friendly buttons on their recipes save ink save paper.this is a fun adventure making Faux meat Thanks for sharing!

  8. I definitely plan on making this "salami" and when I do I'll let you know what I think. You have a nice blog here with a ton if great looking recipes. I think I'll be giving a few of them a go.

  9. This is so delicious for summer! Thanks for sharing this!