So, I’ve been a vegetarian for half of my life now. That means 15 Thanksgivings without turkey. The first couple of years it was all about the sides. I know PLENTY of people that aren’t vegetarians that prefer the sides anyway. So, it didn’t really seem like that big of a deal to just not eat turkey. Well, the years went on and my cooking skills did in fact increase (or at least I wasn’t burning things in the microwave anymore…). I decided to throw a Thanksgiving holiday dinner for friends when I had moved to Baltimore, so I thought I should serve something “turkey like”. Here are four different turkey substitutes that I have served at Thanksgivings or other holiday dinners.
This is the most well known substitute and when you tell people you are a vegetarian on thanksgiving, they will for sure ask if you are going to eat one. There are some big pros to this item. It’s both a protein source and has stuffing in one, so you don’t HAVE to make more stuffing. The gravy that comes with it may look a little strange, but is actually quite good. It’s actually the best prepared vegan gravy I’ve found. The biggest downside I’ve found to the tofurky is that when it cools, it gets kind of rubbery. The taste is fine, but the texture becomes slightly offensive. I’ve never tried any of the “fancy” ways to prepare the roast, but there are some fun recipes found on the site. Tofurky is vegan.
This was my second foray into a turkey substitute. I had tried the naked cutlets and really liked them, so I wanted to try the roast. THIS WAS GOOD. Like really good. Like not just as a substitute good. I’ve been told it both looks like and tastes very much like a pork loin, but I would have no idea. The interesting thing about quorn is that it’s made from mycoprotein (mushroom derivative). Before you condemn this product for being mushroom, it doesn’t actually taste like mushrooms. My sister who HATES mushrooms loves this. I would not follow the instructions on the box and cook the roast IN the packaging. Take off the plastic and roast it with veggies. I don’t eat this anymore as there is egg in the roast, but if I ate eggs this would be what I eat.
I wasn’t able to try the celebration roast, which apparently is pretty delicious, but I was able to snag a Hazelnut Cranberry Roast En Croute. The texture is a bit like soft vegan sausage. And I did not really see a distinction in between the sausage part and the stuffing that was supposed to be there. BUT. This was pretty tasty. The inside was very flavorful and had lots of herb flavors. I made this with some stuffing and some southern style kale for a Manucci thanksgiving this year. I think it went over pretty well. This is vegan and very delicious.
So, I’ve been saving the best for last. This is by far the most delicious turkey substitute out there. And I really wouldn’t even qualify the roast as only JUST good as a turkey substitute. It’s just plain old DELICIOUS. I actually went back to Whole Foods to try to get some more and they were completely sold out. Gardein is pretty new in the vegan substitutes field, but it has quickly exploded into the field. I haven’t found a bad product yet and I will continue to keep trying as many products as possible. I actually followed the basic instructions by the blog Meet the Shannons to make the roast and stuffing. FYI, make stuffing with cranberries in it from now on. SO PRETTY! The only downside to this product is the gravy. It needs doctoring up. For SURE add some spices like thyme, garlic, and rosemary. It adds so much to the fairly bland gravy. This is totally vegan.
- Vegan Holiday Turkey Alternative from PETA (bluemoonpersonaltraining.com)
- Happy Tofurky Day: Vegetarian Thanksgiving on The Rise (bluemoonpersonaltraining.com)
- Beyond Tofurkey: A Vegetarian Thanksgiving (livingthroughthesenses.com)
- Vegan Holiday Recipes and Tips (ohsheglows.com)