Vegetarian Thanksgiving

TofurkyDay four of our Thanksgiving Spectacular continues, and with it, some tips for our vegetarian and vegan friends looking for holiday alternatives to turkey. Tofurky is the most popular meat alternative. Made from organic tofu, beans, and "natural vegetarian flavor", it looks like a boneless breast of turkey roulade, complete with stuffing. I've never tried one, but I can imagine it could be a nice change for folks tired of making do with side dishes.

Cooking with Tofurky for the Holidays offers various recipes for tofurky, including a Glazed Tofurky. Martha Stewart Living (November 2006) has four holiday dishes for vegetarians, including a Quinoa Pie with Butternut Squash that sounds excellent, but I cannot seem to locate the recipe online. Very few other magazines offered much in the way of vegetarian dishes.

If you want to make your own tofu turkey, All Recipes has a Tofu Turkey I that sounds pretty good (it calls for mushrooms, dried sage, tamari, and miso paste, among other ingredients). Over at the Washington Post, a discussion of vegetarian Thanksgiving options, including suggestions for winter squash lasagna and mushroom risotto as vegetarian main courses.

And for those hosting Thanksgiving, a gentle reminder: something cooked with chicken stock is usually not okay for vegetarians. Just because there are no chunks of meat present doesn't mean it's "vegetarian." It's nice to offer a dish or two that are completely free of animal products, especially if you know you'll have vegetarians or vegans in attendance. [Thanks Rebecca!]

5 thoughts on “Vegetarian Thanksgiving

  1. I tried a Tofurky sample at Trader Joe’s for the first time last weekend, and I was fairly impressed. Good texture and flavor, not a bad substitute, particularly for those who used to eat meat and still have a jones for turkey on Thanksgiving. But if I were to go meatless, I would probably skip the Tofurky and stick with hearty side dishes. The sides are often the best part of Thanksgiving anyway.

  2. My father-in-law is vegetarian so we always make 2 seperate gravies – turkey and mushroom – and usually some sort of veggie loaf.
    Our cafeteria at school offers one “vegetarian” selection each day for lunch. It makes me laugh when it’s fish sticks or seafood lasagna.

  3. I made a tofurky once.
    It was the most wretched and putrid thing I had ever produced.
    The curiosity was so everwhelming, I had to buy one at my local food co-op hippie store and prepare it according to the directions on the box.
    I found it to be a horrible perversion of processed food, taking something traditional or culturial like tofu and bending it into a quaint representation of an American classic feast food.
    I’m sure it would have been good, had I not simply followed the directions and practiced on a few dozen.
    Even the two vegetarians I made it for didn’t like it.
    You’re better off cooking up something with regular tofu, forming it into a loaf, and carving that. The holiday is now all about culinary showmanship and shopping the next day, it dosen’t matter what you eat as long as it tastes good and there’s plenty of it.

  4. I have heard Tofurkey is truly vile. I have never heard anyone say otherwise.
    Me, I like Quorn Roast as a veg alternative (not vegan, though). It is remarkably white-meat turkey-like and with some cashew nut gravy is just delicious.

  5. Tofurkey is not bad, but it’s pretty small for how much it costs and the “skin” is pretty strange to chew on.I think that it’s worth the effort to make your own vegetarian entree. I like to press tofu into a colander, fill it with stuffing, flip onto a baking sheet and cook for about 45 mins basting regularly. Yum!

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