This thanksgiving, before going home with the real thing, my girlfriend and I decided to have a mini-celebration. Since she is not of the meatiest persuasion, I decided to cook something I’d always wanted to try, even if it was just to say I had: The Tofurky Roast, aka a turkey substitute made of tofu, gluten, etc by Turtle Island Foods.
I cooked it just like a turkey (following the directions), surrounding the loaf with onions and carrots and basting it with soy sauce and olive oil. After cooking for a good hour and fifteen while covered, I let it roast another 15 without the aluminum. I took it out and sliced it open. Inside is a cavity of stuffing, but the box recommends you carve it at an angle, like a real turkey. I think that’s because if you slice it like a loaf, the pieces are too thick and chewy.
So how did it taste? Smothered in vegan gravy, it was quite moist and mouth-watering. True, there was a definite tofu-like stickiness to the “meat,” but it tasted no worse than the type of processed, sliced turkey you’d find in a grocery. Add plenty of gravy and the well-made stuffing, and there’s nothing at all to complain about. You certainly feel like you’ve found a valid substitute for your Thanksgiving turkey.
The key word is “substitute,” not “replacement.” To go with a sports metaphor, the Tofurky Roast is like putting Lattrell Sprewell in the game for Michael Jordan. To go with a celebrity metaphor, it’s like replacing Britney Spears with Tara Reid. You’ll still be entertained, and you might learn something new, but the overall effect is simply not the same. The gravy, though, is superb, and I recommend it 100% as a healthy replacement for your normal meat-based concoction.
Of course, the most important part of thanksgiving are the leftovers. And Tofurky passed the test there, too, when reheated in my office’s microwave. So fear not this vegan loaf. It’s just as fun – and not as scary – as it looks.