A reader requested a recipe for pot roast, and here it is in all its homey, all-American glory. I’m sorry it doesn’t make for a beautiful photo, but it’s everything pot roast should be — meaty shreds and a rich, flavorful juice to pour over all. You can pack your crockpot full of even more potatoes and carrots than suggested here, and it doesn’t matter if the broth doesn’t cover all. They’ll steam nicely on top until they’re falling-apart tender. Cooking time may vary, depending on your crockpot. Move over, Betty Crocker, and make room for this satisfying meatless dinner.

Dry ingredients:

1 ¼ cups vital wheat gluten

¾ cup instant mashed potato flakes

1 Tbsp. nutritional yeast

1 Tbsp. mushroom powder

2 tsp. onion powder

2 tsp. garlic powder

2 tsp. smoked paprika

1 tsp. dried rosemary

1 tsp. dried oregano

1 tsp. dried basil

½ tsp. black pepper

Wet ingredients:

1 ¼ cup vegetable broth

2 Tbsp. vegan Worcestershire sauce

2 Tbsp. soy sauce

1 tsp. gravy base, such as Kitchen Bouquet

Broth ingredients:

Celery leaves

8 to 10 young carrots

8 to 10 small red potatoes

1 large sweet onion, cut into 8 wedges

4 cloves garlic, crushed

2 bay leaves

Parsley sprigs for garnish

3 to 4 cups beef-flavored vegetable broth

Additional herbs if desired


1. In a large bowl, whisk together all the dry ingredients.

2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients.

3. Add the wet ingredients to the dry. Stir with a sturdy silicone spatula until it all comes together to form a dough.

4. Tip the dough out onto your work surface and knead it for about 10 minutes. Put some muscle into it here to develop long gluten strands. If it falls apart a bit, just squeeze it back together again. Then stretch, squeeze, and roll the dough out into a long, thin rope. Knot it in a couple of places and form it into a loaf shape, compressing it slightly to hold it all together.

5. In a sauté pan, brown the roast on all sides in a little oil.

6. Wrap the roast tightly in a couple of layers of cheesecloth, folding the ends in.

7. Place the celery leaves in the bottom of your crockpot and add the roast, potatoes, carrots, onions, and garlic on top, in that order. Drop in the bay leaves.

8. Pour in enough broth to cover the roast. You may add other herbs here, as you like, such as fresh parsley or thyme.

9. Cook on low heat for 4 hours, or until the vegetables are fork tender. Carefully remove the vegetables with tongs and place them on a serving platter. Lift out the pot roast and remove the cheesecloth. Place the roast on the platter and let it rest to firm up for a while before slicing. Arrange the vegetables around it. You can thicken the broth with flour to make gravy to pour over all. Garnish with chopped parsley.

Wendy Andresen lives in Camden with her husband, Ray; her Sheltie, Sunshine; and her bunny, Rustle. She welcomes responses to her column at wendyandrayzer@yahoo.com.