Happy Tofurky Day!

Deeply mired in our collective culture and the butt of many a joke, the original Tofurky roast produced by Turtle Island Foods has managed to survive the infancy of veganism, if you will. Even at a time when your Aunt Betsy might that vegans still eat butter and cream, Tofurky was there to save the family dinner, for well over a decade now. Slowly evolving over the years from a modest main meant to serve four, paired with dubious-sounding dumpling “drumsticks,” the contents of a Vegetarian Feast finally deserve such a generous title. Though I had never before considered trying any of those previous incarnations, I can now vouch for the current 3 1/2 pound, all-inclusive Thanksgiving in a box, and let me tell you, it’s worth a taste.

Given the opportunity to review the Feast, it was an offer I couldn’t refuse. A vegan who hasn’t tried Tofurky? This was a situation in need of remedying before yet another holiday season came to pass. Made to serve six, the tofu-based roast is filled with wild rice stuffing, and is accompanied by “giblet” gravy, Wishstix, and my favorite part of any meal: Dessert. Amy’s Chocolate Cake, to be precise, which I already knew was a killer little loaf. Designed with the non-cook in mind, it takes only a little planning ahead and some rudimentary knife skills to serve up this celebratory meal in style. Roasted as instructed with a handful of vegetables that were already kicking about the kitchen, the most difficult part of serving a Tofurky is waiting the prescribed hour and half for it to cook to golden perfection, or two and half hours if you forgot to thaw it.

Emerging from its shrink-wrapped tomb looking about as enticing as an overinflated football, it requires a small leap of faith to overcome the lack of visual appeal. Given proper garnishing and a nice wide platter, it becomes quite the impressive entree once sliced thin and ready to serve.

And slice thin you must, as the instructions strongly admonish. Thankfully robust, this request is easily fulfilled, with no worry of tearing apart the roast inadvertently, even if your clumsy Cousin Louie takes over carving duties. Smelling unnervingly like actual poultry, some vegans may very well be turned off by such realism, but I don’t think that this meatless roast will really fool anyone. However, that’s not to say that it falls down in the taste department- Hardly! Surprisingly meaty, the texture was pleasantly chewy yet still tender with a somewhat generic but agreeable savory flavor. If you’re not sure about taking the plunge with a whole roast on Thanksgiving day, just try out the Oven Roasted Deli Slices first; They’re made of exactly the same stuff, but packaged in a more sandwich-friendly format.

Easily my favorite part, the wild rice stuffing provided a much needed textural contrast to the roast, along with adding a hearty starch to this festive meal. If only more could have been packed inside that small cavity! Fairly traditional with a gently herbaceous undertone, it stayed wonderfully moist despite the extended cooking time.

Starting life as a slightly disturbing separated mess in a plastic bag, I was quite leery of the “giblet” gravy from the start. Happily reconstituting with ease after just a minute or two of nuking in the microwave, things improved considerably once it finally hit the table. Although I personally prefer a slightly smoother gravy, the viscosity fits the bill quite nicely, clinging richly to each thin tofu slice while avoiding a gummy mouth feel. Falling on the saltier side of the tracks, the flavor is greatly improved with a very small dose of fresh chopped herbs, but few will object to it served as is.

Eventually, the meal nears a close, stomachs comfortably full, and the question of the Wishstix remains. How should this strange item be served? Literally made of two short pieces of Tofurky Jerky arranged as an “X,” I was somewhat as a loss with what to do with it, especially since there’s no way it could have accommodated six eaters like the rest of the meal was designed for. Ultimately opting to save them as a snack for later, I could have very happily done without this extra item. Does anyone actually serve a real wish bone anymore in the first place? Perhaps the nostalgia is simply lost on me, and other families will get a kick out of it.

Finally, the cake, simply defrosted and sliced, is a perfect ending to a memorable meal. Rich, chocolaty, and impossibly moist, it remains the best vegan chocolate cake available in mainstream stores, in my opinion. Even if all else fails and close-minded family members refuse to taste the festive roast, you will likely have to fight off the hordes to claim your slice of cake.

In case you find yourself at a loss this Thanksgiving or Holiday season, the Tofurky Vegetarian Feast is a safe bet to satisfy veggie guests. Even if you haven’t given a second thought to tomorrow’s holiday up until this point, Turtle Island Foods has made it possible to save the day and still pull out a remarkable meal with close to no effort. Truly, the snide comments and crude cracks about the classic Tofurky are uncalled for; if only those jokers would give it a taste!

29 thoughts on “Happy Tofurky Day!

  1. I was a vegetarian for 7 years and never tried tofurky, so I was intrigued to read your review. It sounds like it was tastier than all of the jokes would imply. Happy Thanksgiving!

  2. Hannah,

    For many years I ate Tofurky for Thanksgiving with my family, now I host Thanksgiving and make many different items, but I will always be thankful for the Tofurky getting me through so many years. My advice to anyone cooking them, bake it in beer, with a little brown sugar. It may sound strange but the results are great!

  3. i will definitely love to give tofurkey a taste! it looks delish. And i wish you a happy tofugiving day!

  4. I’ve never actually tried a tofurky. I’m one of those weird vegetarians that doesn’t usually eat fake meat because it’s well… too meat-like? Which I guess is why some people want it… lol – Does this taste like turkey, or is it more tofu-like? You have definitely turned this into a beautiful centerpiece and now I’m kind of interested in trying it… “or two and half hours if you forgot to thaw it.” HAHA, that would be me.

    Also, that cake looks divine, as does all of your baking.

  5. I only tried Tofurky once and wasn’t really a fan, but I love the vegan sausages they make! This year for Thanksgiving we’re trying that new Gardein stuffed turk’y :)

  6. I think it looks amazing, but I’ve never tried it to what do I know. But I’d love to sometime! The lack of fake meats available here (none) is getting to me.

  7. My veggie partner and I eat at least 2 tofurkeys per nov/ dec holiday season – we cook it in the suggested marinade, with soy sauce and orange juice in the slow cooker, with carrots and mushrooms. It creates a great sauce on its own, which is nice since I don’t like the giblet gravy, but my partner does. We usually eat it with homemade cranberry sauce, which cuts through the richness of the “meat” and soy sauce and mashed potatoes. yum!

  8. While I must admit that I’m more envious of the other (i.e. sweet :P) America-only treats you’ve reviewed on this blog, I really do love the novelty of this and would jump at the chance to try it! I remember trying a few tofurky slices-thingies when I was in America, but never anything like this…

    Though actually, there is a product called “Veggie Roast” here in Australia which might be a bit like the Tofurky component here!

    (*giggle*… I made a typo in that previous sentence and wrote a “c” instead of the “r”… thank heavens I caught that!)

  9. For my first ever veg Thanksgiving 12 years ago, I went the Tofurky route, but I haven’t had one since! Nice to know that it’s still an option and that all those who have been reviewing them have been pleased.

  10. I tried tofurky awhile ago and haven’t tried it since. I always forget about that option since there’s new things to try every year. But what an awesome idea to pair it with Amy’s chocolate cake.

  11. The stuffing looks so good. And that cake looks fantastic. I hope you had a Happy Thanksgiving!

    Btw, I know you don’t knit with wool yarn, but do you wear wool? I am curious about what type of fiber a vegan wears.

  12. Just ate my first Tofurkey this Thanksgiving. Overall, I agree with your assessment:

    Wild rice good, needed more.
    Gravy good, but salty.

    However, I prefer Fieldroast’s Celebration Roast much better. By the fourth of the albeit too thick slice of Tofurkey i was gagging. I tried to hide this because it was my hosts’ attempt to be inclusive.

    On the plus side our beagle finds the Tofurkey delicious. She is working her

  13. Like Kylie, I also prefer Fieldroast’s Celebration Roast. It’s absolutely delicious by itself only needing a little basting in the oven with olive oil while cooking to keep it moist. It’s a remarkable imitation of a non-vegan roast that I’ve served to non-vegans and they’ve all loved it too. I could never go back to Tofurky after having it.

  14. I’m late reading posts so this is after-the-fact but I like Tofurky. Haven’t had the stuffed one, though, but I love wild rice stuffing. I’d just prepare homemade wild rice stuffing and bake it separately so you could have as much as you like.

    That cake looks fabulous…will have to check that out.

  15. I tried making my own turkey this year instead of purchasing a Tofurkey and it was a giant fail. Maybe next year will be better. Tofurkey really is very yummy! L

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