This year, a new vegan option is available for the holidays thanks to Upton’s Naturals. The company’s first holiday roast offering is Vegan Holiday Roast Slices in Gravy, a product it created to serve small gatherings or individuals.
Since 2006, Upton’s has been perfecting vegan meat-making in Chicago, where it now manufacturers a variety of options made from seitan, jackfruit, fava beans, and more. Its first roast is made from a base of succulent seitan that it flavors with soy sauce, nutritional yeast, sea salt, onion, and garlic.
Ready in just five minutes, the slices are meant to be enjoyed as a protein option with sides or as part of a classic leftovers sandwich stacked on a toasted bun with mashed potatoes, kale, and cranberry sauce.
Upton’s holiday roast slices are available for a suggested retail price of $9.99 at all Sprouts Farmers Market stores.
Vegan roasts to the rescue
This holiday season, the USDA predicts that turkey will be in short supply due to a recent outbreak of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza. And with prices of animal proteins rising, plant-based alternatives might be even more attractive to Americans this year.
“In addition to being a turkey alternative for the vegan community, Upton’s Naturals’ Holiday Roast Slices in Gravy is also a tasty, plant-based choice for meat eaters who are opting out of the traditional turkey centerpiece this year,” Upton’s Founder Dan Staackmann tells VegNews.
Classic vegan roast options from Tofurky to Gardein have been around for decades, and the category has been bolstered by unique offerings—like roasts from The Herbivorous Butcher, the country’s first vegan butcher shop—over the years, as well.
At Upton’s, the inspiration for the new Vegan Holiday Roast Slices in Gravy came from a meal the brand served at Upton’s Breakroom. The breakroom was initially only for employees but in 2013, Upton’s opened it to the public as a vegan eatery.
Upton’s recently reimagined the breakroom again by combining it with Liberation Donuts—a doughnut shop it opened during the height of the pandemic—into a new concept called “Liberation Kitchen.” Here, Upton’s operates a restaurant, doughnut shop, and retail space, all while helping emerging local businesses succeed through a residency program.
“We serve a popular holiday meal at our Chicago restaurant Liberation Kitchen that features a sliced seitan roast with gravy, and we thought it was time to bring this dish to more people across the country,” Staackmann says. “Our holiday roast is pre-sliced and fully cooked, so it’s a great, heat-and-eat option for smaller gatherings or to feed the lone vegan at the dinner table.”
Upton’s Naturals also sells its variety of vegan products at 5,000 retailers nationwide and in 15 countries globally.