Not Your Mom’s Passover Brisket

If you celebrate any Jewish holidays, or even Shabbat dinner, it’s pretty much a given that you are familiar with the ubiquitous beef brisket that your mom learned to make from her mom (who learned to make it from her mom…) After all, it’s pretty much required eating at the Seder table…and for days afterwards. But what do vegans eat while Aunt Harriet and Uncle Max are passing around the brisket plate?

Whether you’ve adopted a plant-based lifestyle for ethical reasons, or for your health, it can be hard to be around your old pre-vegan faves. My husband was a huge brisket guy back in the day. Since going vegan, it wasn’t something he thought about much on a day-to-day basis, but at the holidays he’d get that wistful look and feel a bit nostalgic for the comfort food of his youth. This recipe changed all that. When you think of brisket (or any meat really), it’s the seasoning and sauce that give the dish its flavor. And adding BIG seasoning to a seitan roast created the same robust flavors my husband had grown up with.

The basis for most Bubbies’ Seder Brisket is french onion soup mix, and thankfully, Lipton’s is accidentally vegan and perfect for adding intense flavor. And just like Bubbie’s brisket, this one makes killer sandwiches the next day.

Bubbie’s French Onion Style Brisket

Dry ingredients:

2 cups Vital Wheat Gluten (I use Bob’s Red Mill brand)

¼ cup nutritional yeast

2 tbsp onion powder

1 tbsp garlic powder

Sauce ingredients:

2 packets of Lipton onion soup mix

1 1/2 cups water

1 cup  ketchup

1 tsp brown sugar

4 cloves minced garlic

1 tsp black pepper

1 medium onion, thinly sliced


Preheat oven to 375F. Lightly grease a 9×13 baking dish with oil.

1. In a large bowl, combine dry ingredients and set aside.

2. In another bowl, combine all sauce ingredients, except onion slices.

3. Add  1 cup of sauce to your dry ingredients and mix to form a dough.  If the dough seems a bit dry, add more sauce ½ cup at a time, until dough forms but is not too wet.   Knead the dough for 3 full minutes.

4. Stretch dough out so that it is approx. 1 inch thick.  

5. Place in baking dish and top with sliced onions and baste with a bit more liquid. Also add 1 cup of sauce to the pan.

6.  Bake for 20 minutes; rotate the brisket and bake an additional 20 min.  Continue to bake for 1.5 – 2 hours, turning (not flipping) the brisket in the dish every 20 min.  The liquid in the casserole dish should thicken into a sauce, but keep an eye that the pan doesn’t dry out.  Add more liquid to the pan (and baste the brisket lightly) every time you rotate it.

Brisket is done when it is firm to the touch.   Allow to cool slightly then transfer to a board to rest.  Eat right away or wrap in foil and a freezer bag and store in the fridge to firm up.  Transfer the pan sauce and remaining liquid into a pan and reduce to make a gravy (add flour to thicken if needed). Store any unused sauce for reheating.

To reheat the brisket, place brisket in an oven-safe dish, add leftover sauce and warm at 375F for about 20 min or until warm.


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  1. This sounds amazing! I must try it soon.

    Have you ever tried to brine seitan? I’m curious about trying to cure/corn seitan like corned beef…. this recipe would be a good start, maybe?

    • I haven’t but now I’m curious! Let me know if you try it. I’m going to give it some thought too. 🙂 I have another version of this brisket that uses montreal steak spice to give it an old-world pastrami-style crust. It’s not brined but it has that familiar taste…I’ll post it soon.

  2. I always thought that on Passover you can’t use gluten-based meats?

    • For our family, who are not as strictly observant, this recipe works. It’s also good to keep on hand for Rosh Hashanah, which doesn’t have the same restrictions! 🙂

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