This post may contain affiliate links. Please read our disclosure policy.

Learn how to make Vietnamese vegan bologna from scratch! This meaty “pork” roll is prepared with tofu, wheat gluten, and a variety of seasonings. Use it in fresh spring rolls and banh mi, or add it to noodle soups or rice bowls!

Slices of vegan bologna on top of salad leaves.

I have tried many different types of vegan bologna (called Chả Lụa Chay) in Vietnam and after so many trials, I’m super happy to finally share a recipe that is incredibly close to the ones you can find there!

⭐️ Why You Should Try It

  • Meaty and chewy. This vegan bologna is not your typical seitan log. It’s not overly chewy but perfectly sliceable into either thin or thick slices.
  • Super tasty. It is packed with flavor thanks to the use of vegan fish sauce, shallots, and peppercorn. The best part is that the vital wheat gluten remains subtle, allowing the other flavors to shine. We went the extra mile and asked non-vegans to give it a try, and they confirmed that the flavor was very close to the real deal.
  • Versatile. You can use vegan bologna in a multitude of dishes, from fresh spring rolls to wraps, sandwiches, and even salads. It’s also a fantastic addition to noodle soups and ramen as it soaks up the flavors of the broth!
  • High in protein. Each slice packs a whooping 8g of protein!

📘 What is Chả Lụa

Chả Lụa, sometimes called mortadella, baloney, or pork roll, is a type of Vietnamese sausage made from pork and seasonings. It is typically used as a filling in banh mi sandwiches or added to Bún Bò Huế, Xôi Mặn, or Bánh Cuốn.

Difference between regular bologna and Vietnamese bologna

Named after the city of Bologna in Italy, classic bologna is a sausage made from ground pork and/or beef and seasonings such as nutmeg, allspice, and coriander.

Vietnamese bologna, while similar, uses ground pork seasoned with fish sauce, sugar, and peppercorns. It often includes baking powder, which is responsible for creating small holes. This type of bologna is wrapped in banana leaves and then steamed or boiled.

Ingredients like tofu, vital wheat gluten, shallots, onion powder, and fish sauce.

🧅 Ingredient Notes

Here is what you will need to prepare this vegan bologna:

  • Tofu – Tofu makes the base of this recipe. Use firm tofu, not soft or silken tofu.
  • Vital wheat gluten – Wheat gluten is essential in creating a meaty texture and chewiness.
  • Shallot – Fresh shallot adds sweetness and a fragrant taste. Alternatively, you can use a small onion.
  • Onion powder – For sharpness.
  • Oil – For richness and to enhance the overall flavor.
  • Mushroom seasoning – You want to use store-bought mushroom seasoning for this recipe. It boosts the flavor and adds plenty of umami. Without it, your bologna will have a bland taste. If you don’t have mushroom seasoning on hand, you can replace it with an extra 1/2 teaspoon of salt, but the flavor will be different.
  • Vegan fish sauce – It brings saltiness and plenty of umami. You can use store-bought vegan fish sauce or homemade vegan fish sauce. Although I still highly recommend sticking to vegan fish sauce, you could probably replace it with soy sauce. Be aware that the flavor and color of your bologna will be altered.
  • Salt and sugar – To season.
  • Baking powder – It helps a lot with the texture, creating small holes and reducing the chewiness. It also improves the flavor by lowering the vital wheat gluten taste.
  • Peppercorns – Optional. Black peppercorns add an earthy and peppery flavor to the bologna.

🥣 How to Make It

1. Blend the tofu

  1. Blend the tofu with the aromatics. Add all of the ingredients except the vital wheat gluten and peppercorns to a high-speed blender. Blend for 30-50 seconds or until smooth. The mixture should have the consistency of a thick cream.

2. Combine with the gluten

  1. Transfer to a bowl. Transfer the blended tofu mixture to a large mixing bowl.
  1. Add the gluten. Add the vital wheat gluten and peppercorns (if using) to the blended tofu. Mix using a spoon until fully combined, about 2 minutes. At this point, the mixture will be very thick and sticky.

3. Wrap

  1. Wrap in parchment paper. Transfer the mixture to a sheet of parchment paper and wrap it tightly into a log of about 2.5 inches wide.
  1. Wrap in aluminum foil. Next, wrap the log tightly in a layer of aluminum foil.
  2. Repeat two times. Wrap the log another two times in aluminum foil. This is essential to prevent it from exploding or cracking during the steaming step.

4. Steam

  1. Prepare the steamer. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and place a regular or bamboo steamer basket on top.
  2. Steam. Place the wrapped bologna into the steamer and cover with the lid. Steam the vegan bologna for 1 hour and 30 minutes.
  3. Let cool completely. Remove the vegan bologna from the steamer basket and let it cool for at least 30 minutes, or until cool to the touch, before unwrapping it.

📔 Tips

  • Wrap it very tightly. Ensure you triple-wrap the loaf with aluminum foil to prevent it from exploding during steaming. Since it contains baking powder, the loaf will expand during cooking hence, it must be wrapped tightly and strongly.
  • Check the water level. During steaming, check the water level after about 30 minutes. If little water remains, add more and bring it back to a boil.
  • Let it cool completely. Let the bologna cool completely before trying to slice it. It will firm up slightly as it cools down.

🌿 Variations

Looking for ways to customize your bologna? Here are a few ideas:

  • Add chopped wood ear mushrooms: Rehydrate dried wood ear mushrooms, drain them, and finely chop them before incorporating them into the mixture.
  • Make it smoky: Add 1/2 teaspoon of liquid smoke for a hint of smokiness.
  • Add spices: Feel free to play with the spices to infuse your bologna with different aromas. Cinnamon is sometimes used in Vietnam to make a variant called “Chả Quế, ” which basically means “cinnamon baloney.”
  • Add seaweed: Finely chop some seaweed like nori or kombu and add it to the mixture before steaming for a sea flavor.
Close-up of vegan bologna topped with crispy fried onions.

🥖 Where to Use It

If you are unfamiliar with Vietnamese bologna, you might not know how to use it. Worry not, we have got you covered! Here are some ideas for how you can include it in your dishes:

  • Sandwiches: Slice the bologna into thick slices and incorporate it into vegan Bánh Mì or sandwiches.
  • Noodle soups: Add thick slices of vegan bologna to noodle soups such as hot and sour soup, Phở, or Bún Bò Huế, or even Bún Riêu. The bologna will soak up the flavors of the broth and become tender and juicy!
  • Rice: Add on top of savory sticky rice or use as an add-in to add extra protein to your rice bowls.
  • Fresh spring rolls: Cut into matchsticks, this bologna will add meatiness and chewiness to your fresh spring rolls (Gỏi Cuốn in Vietnamese).

❄️ Storing and Freezing

  • To store: You can keep this vegan bologna in the refrigerator for up to 7 days.
  • To freeze: Let it cool completely before wrapping it in plastic wrap. This vegan bologna will keep in the freezer for up to 2 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before using.

💬 FAQ

Can I make this recipe gluten-free?

Unfortunately, this recipe cannot be made gluten-free since vital wheat gluten is one of the main ingredients.

Should I steam it over high or medium heat?

I usually start steaming it over high heat for the first 10 minutes and then lower the heat to a simmer for the remaining time.

I hope you will love this vegan bologna! It’s easy to make, meaty, and tastes so good that it can also be enjoyed on its own as a savory snack!

⭐️ Did you like this recipe? Let us know in the comments below, and tag us on Facebook, Instagram, or Pinterest!

Close-up of slices of vegan bologna.
full of plants in envelope

Want to Save This Recipe?

Enter your email below & we’ll send it straight to your inbox! Plus, you will receive new recipes every week!

Save Recipe

I’d like to receive more tips & recipes from Full of Plants.
This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Recipe

Vegan Bologna (Chả Lụa)

4.20 from 5 votes
Author: Thomas Pagot
Learn how to make Vietnamese vegan bologna from scratch! This meaty "pork" roll is prepared with tofu, wheat gluten, and a variety of seasonings. Use it in fresh spring rolls and banh mi, or add it to noodle soups or rice bowls!
Prep Time : 1 hour 20 minutes
Cook Time : 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time : 2 hours 50 minutes
Servings 1 log
Calories 72 kcal

Ingredients
 

Instructions
 

  • Blend the tofu with the aromatics. Add all of the ingredients except the vital wheat gluten and peppercorns to a high-speed blender. Blend for 30-50 seconds or until smooth. The mixture should have the consistency of a thick cream.
  • Combine with the gluten. Transfer the blended tofu mixture to a large mixing bowl and add the vital wheat gluten and peppercorns (if using). Mix using a spoon until fully combined, about 2 minutes. At this point, the mixture will be very thick and sticky.
  • Wrap in parchment paper. Transfer the mixture to a sheet of parchment paper and wrap it tightly into a log of about 2.5 inches wide.
  • Wrap in aluminum foil. Next, wrap the log tightly in a layer of aluminum foil. Wrap the log another two times in aluminum foil. This is essential to prevent it from exploding or cracking during the steaming step.
  • Prepare the steamer. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and place a regular or bamboo steamer basket on top.
  • Steam. Place the wrapped bologna into the steamer and cover with the lid. Steam the vegan bologna for 1 hour and 30 minutes. Check the water level after 30 minutes and add more water if needed.
  • Let cool completely. Remove the vegan bologna from the steamer basket and let it cool for at least 30 minutes, or until cool to the touch, before unwrapping it.
  • This vegan bologna will keep for up to 7 days in the refrigerator.

Notes

  • Wrap it very tightly. Ensure you triple-wrap the loaf with aluminum foil to prevent it from exploding during steaming. Since it contains baking powder, the loaf will expand during cooking hence, it must be wrapped tightly and strongly.
  • Check the water level. During steaming, check the water level after about 30 minutes. If little water remains, add more and bring it back to a boil.
  • Let it cool completely. Let the bologna cool completely before trying to slice it. It will firm up slightly as it cools down.

Nutrition

Serving: 1 slice (out of 14) | Calories: 72 kcal | Protein: 8.5 g | Fat: 2.8 g | Saturated Fat: 0.4 g | Sodium: 148 mg | Potassium: 58 mg | Fiber: 0.2 g | Sugar: 1.2 g | Calcium: 47 mg
Course : Dinner, Entree
Cuisine : Asian, Vietnamese
Did you make this recipe? Tag @fullofplants on Instagram and hashtag it #fullofplants
Share this recipe!

About the Author

Thomas Pagot is the founder, photographer, and recipe developer behind Full of Plants. He created the blog in 2016 as a personal cookbook for vegan recipes. Through years of recipe development, Thomas has successfully grown Full of Plants into a trusted resource for plant-based recipes.

Learn more ➜

Leave a Comment

Subscribe
Notify of
Did you make this recipe? Rate it!




13 Comments
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

5 stars
Can’t wait to make this! Do you think I can steam it in the instant pot?

5 stars
Thank you for this recipe! What can I replace the Wheat Gluten with?

5 stars
I just tried it. It’s a total new taste bologna. Thank you for sharing.

What could be used to replace the vegan fish sauce please? Could I use just soy sauce or would you recommend something else for the flavour?
Something not fishy 🙂

5 stars
Oh my goodness, this vegan Bologna was a hit with my vegand AND non vegan friends, I made it with seaweed, peppercorn and mushrooms and just peppercorn. All 3 were a hit! Thanks Soo much for this recipe. Next I am going to try vegan ham and salami. Lots of people who want to go vegan miss these ( really bad for you) deli meats. 🙏🤭

1 star
Usually love all the recipes on here, but this one is more of a seitan and doesn’t taste like real cha lua. I was so excited the.mn so disappointed.

Thanks for the reply Thomas – yes I have had many cha lua chay, made from frozen bean curd sheets. They surprisingly taste like the pork ones! I had been hoping this would taste like those. I still used it as tasty seitan. But I had been hoping it would taste more like real cha lua. The issue with the frozen bean curd ones is that they usually stuff it tight into a plastic bag and then steam. I don’t really want to be eating microplastics! So that is why I was excited to try your recipe. I might try your parchment paper idea with the frozen bean curd…which falls apart so easily unlike your recipe. Apologies for the review again – I really have loved all of your other recipes and have recommended your site to others.