Grain Meat Grind (Vegan "Ground Meat)
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Because it’s so versatile, feel free to double the recipe and freeze it, ground, in resealable plastic bags for up to three months.
Recipe type: Main
Cuisine: American
Serves: 3½ pounds
  • 3¾ cups cold water
  • ½ cup vegetable or vegan chicken base
  • 4 cups vital wheat gluten
  • 3 tablespoons sea salt
  • 2 (24 x 18-inch) pieces cheesecloth, each folded in half to make a 12 x 18-inch piece
  • Safflower or canola oil spray
  • 8 feet butcher’s twine
  1. In a large container, combine the cold water and base. In a mixing bowl, stir together the vital wheat gluten and salt, then add the base mixture, mixing until combined. You may need to use your hands to bring everything together. This dough should look a little rough and may have a small amount of excess liquid in the bowl.
  2. Divide the dough into two equal parts. Roll each half into a log about 8 inches long.
  3. Lay out the cheesecloth on a clean counter or cutting board. Spray with oil and place each roll onto its own piece of cheesecloth. Wrap the cheesecloth around the roll. Cut four pieces of twine, two about 10 inches long, the other two 18 inches each. Twist one end of the cheesecloth to make it tight against the roll, and tie this off with a double knot, using a 10-inch piece of string. Push in the roll on the untied end, and twist the cheesecloth until the roll is snug. Tie this off, using an 18-inch piece of string with a double knot, tying off a loop at the end to use as a handle. Tie the other roll in the same manner. Cut the remaining piece of string in half (you will have two 20-inch pieces of string). Tie each roll with string equidistant intervals down the roast, using a slipknot.
  4. In a large stockpot, bring 4 quarts of water to a boil. Holding the tied-off ends, gently slip the rolls into the water. Allow to come back to a boil, lower the heat to medium, and allow to simmer for about 1½ hours, or until internally it reads 195°F on an instant-read thermometer.
  5. Remove each roll from the water and allow to cool enough to handle. Using scissors, cut away the twine and cheesecloth and discard.
  6. Cut each loaf into 1-inch cubes. Run the cubes through meat grinder or meat grinder attachment (see Meat Grinder alternative below).
  7. The rolls can be stored in a gallon-size resealable plastic bag in the freezer, or can be ground immediately to use in recipes.
Chef's Note: When you first mix the ingredients together, do so with a spoon, but then feel free to dive in with your hands and get messy—it’s simply easier to incorporate all the ingredients this way. The first time you make the meat grind, you’ll likely feel like there’s way too much water in the bowl, but don’t worry:
the gluten will absorb the liquid as it sits and you’ll soon be left with a nice, uniform dough. If you do end up having excess moisture in the bowl, you’ll just lift out the dough and leave it behind—nothing to worry about.

No Meat Grinder? No Problem: I realize that a meat grinder isn’t exactly a mainstay in most home kitchens, so a good hack here is to use your food processor to grind the grain meat. To do so, slice up your meat into roughly 1-inch cubes and divide them into two groups. Because you want some differently sized bits in your grind for optimal texture, you’re going to process one group into more of a fine grind (resembling, say, orzo pasta) and the other into more of a coarse
grind (resembling a small bean). Once the meat is processed, you’ll go ahead
and mix both grinds together into a big bowl, and you’re ready to roll.

This recipe is reprinted with permissions from Field Roast: 101 Artisan Vegan Meat Recipes to Cook, Share, and Savor by Tommy McDonald.
Recipe by Go Dairy Free at