Puff pastry and meaty soy chunks collide in this NEXT LEVEL vegan steak bakes recipe! Made with real ale for a banging umami gravy!
Some recipes JUST BELONG on this blog, and these vegan steak bakes GOSH DARN belong here! They are everything I love in a recipe:
- Easy to make - ready to roll puff pastry?? Yes please!
- Insanely satisfying - something about that puff pastry combined with that glossy, meaty, umami gravy just gets me going!
- Freezer friendly - yep! These guys freeze up BEAUTIFULLY so you'll never be without a quick delicious lunch while you WFH!
- An absolute CROWDPLEASER - these guys are based on the best selling treat from UK bakery chain Greggs. I like to think they're EVEN TASTIER than the original, but I guess my British readers will be the judges on this!
What even ARE vegan steak bakes?
If you're from the UK, I imagine these vegan steak bakes require no intro! Traditional steak bakes are a national favourite baked treat from Gregg's which are essentially a puff pastry parcel packed with chunky steak pieces and a meaty dark gravy.
When Gregg's released a vegan version last year, the country went temporarily INSANE for them. I tried one. It was nice, but we can do better, can't we friends!?
In my opinion, the Gregg's vegan steak bake lacks texture. The chunks of "steak" are too delicate. The gravy could also be meatier with more flavour and the pastry could be way flakier. Here's how I stepped this bad-boy up to the NEXT LEVEL!
What makes these vegan steak bakes the best?
You know me! I'm not the kind of guy to just THROW something together. Only the BEST OF THE BEST will do! Here's what MAKES it the best:
- Flaky AF pastry - Nope, we won't be making this ourselves which is why this recipe's a winner. We're using decent store-bough pastry which is usually accidentally vegan. Just double check that your brand isn't made with butter.
- Super meaty "steak" chunks - I like to use dehydrated soy chunks for this recipe because they SOAK up flavour (quite literally) and they have a really meaty, bouncy texture. They're also super shelf stable so they're a store cupboard fave.
- Perfect gravy - It was mega important to me that the gravy was rich, gorgeously glossy and SINGING with the spirit of umami. I've nailed this by using shiitake mushrooms, marmite AND a really nice bitter ale in the recipe. You're gonna LIVE!
How do I make em?
As always you can find the full recipe at the bottom of the page, but here are a few tips and tricks to getting a perfect batch of vegan steak bakes!
1. Make the filling
The filling for my vegan steak bakes is EVERYTHING! Like the original steak bake, it's not overly complicated with a tonne of veggies and spices. It's a simple combo of fresh herbs, meaty soy chunks and some bold aromatics.
First you'll want to soak your soy chunks in a super umami broth made from shiitake mushrooms, marmite and bouillon. This means that the soy chunks are flavoursome inside and out. Once soaked, start making that gravy baby!
Fry up some shallots, garlic, some herbs and your soy chunks before making a cornstarch "slurry" from your remaining soaking broth and a good ale. Perfect!
2. Cool the filling
Since we're working with pastry here, we want to make sure the filling is nice and cool before assembling the vegan steak bakes. I like to spread the filling out onto a large baking sheet to help it cool down quicker.
While it cools, take out your puff pastry from the fridge (room temp pastry is easier to work with) and pop your oven on!
3. Prep the pastry
Time to get things rolling! Now your pastry is room temp, unroll it and divide it into 8 even rectangles. 4 of these rectangles will be the base of the bakes, 4 will be the tops, so figure out which is which before moving on.
Working with the base rectangles, brush a little soy milk or soy cream around the edges, creating a border of around ½ cm or so. This'll help the bakes to stay sealed.
Working with the top rectangles, score super gentle lines with a sharp knife across the pastry. This'll help the bake to expand in the oven and will look super pretty once baked.
4. Assemble the bakes
Divide your cooled vegan steak bake filling between the four bottom layers of pastry. It's super important you don't overfill them (as they'll EXPLODE) and don't allow any of the filling to sit within that ½cm border you brushed on earlier.
Lift a top rectangle of pastry and place it over the filling. Crimp the edges with a fork and you're almost done. Top tip: if your fork is sticking to the pastry, dunk it in some plain flour before crimping. PROBLEM SOLVED!
5. Brush and bake!
The final step! Mix the remaining soy cream or soy milk with some agave syrup and you've got yourself an egg wash! Use it to brush all over the top of the bakes before they go in the oven.
Bake for half an hour or until the tops are puffed and golden brown! Serve immediately but watch our mouth on that hot hot gravy filling!
And that's it! It really is super easy! You're gonna love these guys so much I can feel it in my bones! Give this recipe a go and let me know what you think over on my instagram.
Need more MEATY recipes??
Then you came to the right place! Why not give these bad boys a try!?
Vegan Steak Bakes
- no specialist equipment required
For the "Steak" Pieces
- 1 tablespoon vegan mushroom bouillon ((or any vegan bouillon))
- 1 teaspoon marmite ((or any yeast extract))
- 2 dried shiitake mushrooms
- 2 tablespoon dark soy sauce
- 250 ml boiling water
- 50 g soya chunks ((aka TVP chunks))
For the Gravy
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 shallots ((peeled and roughly chopped))
- 1 clove of garlic ((peeled and finely minced))
- 2 bay leaves
- ½ teaspoon dried sage
- ¼ teaspoon dried thyme
- ½ teaspoon mustard powder
- 1 tablespoon corn starch
- 150 ml vegan ale ((I used a nice dark bitter))
For the Steak Bakes
- 3 tablespoon soy cream ((soy milk works fine too))
- 450g puff pastry ((Use pre-rolled puff pastry. Most store-bought puff pastry is vegan unless made with butter. I use Tesco's own brand))
- ½ teaspoon agave syrup ((or brown rice syrup))
To Make the "Steak" Pieces
- In a small bowl combine the mushroom bouillon, marmite, shiitake mushrooms, dark soy sauce and the boiling water. Mix well to make sure everything is dissolved. Add the soya chunks, stir and cover. Leave to hydrate for at least 10-15 minutes.
- Once hydrated, remove the shiitake mushrooms and finely chop until they resemble mince/grounds. Drain the soya chunks but reserve the soaking broth. To a small bowl, add the soaked soya chunks and the finely chopped shiitake "mince". Stir and set aside.
To Make the Gravy
- Place a medium saucepan over medium heat and add the olive oil. Bring to temperature. Add the shallots and garlic and fry for a couple of minutes. Add the bay leaves, dried herbs and mustard powder followed immediately by the soya chunks and minced shiitakes. Fry for a further 5-10 minutes or until fragrant.
- In a small measuring jug or bowl, whisk together the corn starch, vegan ale and the reserved soaking broth from step one. Stirring constantly, add the ale/broth mixture to the saucepan and reduce heat to low. The Mixture should become thick, smooth and glossy quite quickly. Once thickened, take the pan off the heat.
- Spread the filling mixture on a shallow baking tray and leave to cool for at least 20 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 200c/390f and remove the puff pastry from the fridge (but keep in it's plastic packaging) to come to room temperature.
To Assemble the Steak Bakes
- Place the soy cream/milk in a small bowl and set aside. Unroll the puff pastry sheet onto a large baking tray and divide it into 8 equal rectangles. Brush the edges of half of the rectangles with the soy cream/milk creating a roughly ½ cm border.
- Working only with the pastry rectangles which weren't brushed with soy cream, use a sharp knife to score very shallow diagonal lines across the pastry, evenly spaced by around a centimetre. Do not cut all the way through the pastry!
- Divide the cooled filling mixture between the four rectangles of pastry which were brushed with the soy cream, being careful to place the filling only in the centre of the rectangle and not to overlap the brushed soy cream border.
- Lift the scored layer of puff pastry carefully and place over the filling. Gently press the four edges into place. Dip a fork into the flour and use it to crimp the edges of the pastry together.
- Add the agave syrup to the remaining soy milk/cream and mix well to make your "egg" wash. Brush the wash over the top of the pastry and place the tray of steak bakes into the preheated oven. Bake for 25-30 minutes being careful not to let the top burn.
- Remove from the oven and serve immediately.