I was strolling the aisles of my grocery store, Rock & Roll Ralph’s, on auto-pilot one day last month, when I saw it. As I was loading up on Morning Star Chik’n Patties, my eyes drifted to a shiny, new box:
OMG, it was the infamous Tofurky Roast! I hurriedly grabbed the last large, green box before some skinny hipster snagged it. I’ve heard stories and vegetarian lore of the Tofurky, and while I am familiar with the brands meatless deli slices and sausage links, I had never tasted the product that started it all.
The most known Tofurky Roast, the Vegetarian Feast contains cranberry apple potato dumplings, wild rice & whole wheat bread crumb stuffing and even a jurky wishstix, making it a great vegetarian solution for Thanksgiving and other holiday meals.
My grocery store offered the Tofurky Roast & Gravy entrée, a “pre-cooked vegetarian feast…made from a revolutionary tofu-wheat protein blend, known for its incredible, turkey-like texture and flavor.” The green-boxed Tofurky is stuffed with wild rice and whole wheat bread crumb stuffing and includes a Tofurky Giblet & Mushroom Gravy for topping the roast.
I could not wait to bust this box open!
Hmmm, all right, not a very promising start. The roast felt like a small, heavy football and the giblets gravy looked a little murky – all in all, sort of frightening compared to my simple veggie patties and grillers.
Oh well, keep calm and carry on – let’s read the directions! I was surprised to see the kit wasn’t as complete as I thought. The instructions call for roasting 2 potatoes, 2 large carrots and 1 onion, all peeled and sliced, along with the Tofurky.
Additionally, the Tofurky needs a baste to cover it while cooking. The afore mentioned giblet gravy is heated stovetop and for use after your Tofurky is cooked. We quickly whipped up the recommended baste using olive oil, soy sauce, and spices. Then we placed it all, veggies and the basted Tofurky, in a casserole dish for the 1 hour and 15 minute cooking time.
When the timer went off, the oven door opened and revealed…
While I admit the photograph looks a little, let’s say beige and boring, the scent drifting through my kitchen was pretty yummy. Now it was time for the big finale – the carving and serving of the Tofurky!
There are two important things to note, future Tofurky chefs. First, you want to carve your Tofurky slices as thin as possible for the best experience. The “meat” is soft, so it should be an easy task. Secondly, make sure to cut your Tofurky width-wise, not length-wise. D’oh! As you will see we messed that part up…
Now, the biggest question of all – How does it taste? Truthfully, not so much like turkey. That’s not to say it doesn’t taste good, just not like a turkey (or at least how I remember turkey). Made with both soy and seitan, this roast had a savory, salty taste reminiscent of many seitan entrees. If you are a vegetarian or eat meat alternatives, you may have tried Tofurky’s big seller, the Meatless Deli Slices; which have a similar taste and texture.
The wild rice stuffing was nutty and moist and I found the mushroom gravy a nice, savory topping that blended everything together. My carnivore housemate Eric, who is pickier with his faux meat products, was happy with the Tofurky too. He passed on leftovers, but I reheated some Tofurky and vegetables the next day (a minute or two in the microwave) to warm and yummy results.
Would I make this roast for a big holiday meal? If I was the only vegetarian, probably not. It was a bit more labor intensive then I like, so I would be happy with a chik’n patty and all the sides. However, if my dinner party included a couple of vegetarians, I would happily serve the Tofurky Roast & Gravy to my guests.
Vegetarian readers – how do you replace the turkey at your big holiday meals? Or, do you just load up on the sides and pie?