Tofurky: Torture for Vegetarians on Thanksgiving

November 16, 2010 By: Megabeth Category: Main Dishes, Product Review Print This Post Print This Post

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I’ve never been able to get myself to prepare a Thanksgiving Tofurky. Despite the fact that I don’t think that every meat tradition needs to be shaped into a soy ball version, I decided this year it was time to try a Tofurky out to see what they are all about.

Let’s just say that the results of this little experiment were not at all positive. I have confirmation of this less than stellar review from a guest poster, as well. But, before I get to that, to cook Tofurky is to know them, and I’m here to educate.

Little did I know that the Tofurky is actually a hard creature to capture. In its natural habitat, you can see the Tofurky in vast open spaces traveling alone (look carefully, he blends in with his surroundings)…

or, smelling the flowers.

As pensive and introverted creatures, you can also find them enjoying quiet moments on park benches basking in the sun.

Although their only known predators are few – vegans, vegetarians and omnivores that think they are doing their vegetarian/vegan guests a favor by cooking one at Thanksgiving – they still frighten easily. They will hide at the least provocation.

On a bright sunny November I was able to sneak up on an elusive Tofurky once he stopped to take a drink.

After a few moments giving the Tofurky hunting call, I was able to bag him (using a canvas shopping tote) and then stored him in the fridge until I had time to prepare him. I was lucky, I got a stuffed one!


Soon, it became time to prepare my soy beast. How exciting, it was time to bust into the box and say “hello” to the hunted soy creature.

Check out its underside!

Eyes wide and heart racing, I opened the box. But, the Tofurky had one more surprise for me…I had to make it through the inner packaging.

I got my sharp knife out as the Tofurky has not only a protective plastic coating but also some sort of medieval fastening mechanism that the faint of heart shouldn’t have to wrestle.

Slowly the wrapping came off.

And, lo, there it was in all it’s glory…the nekkid tofurky which was met with, “My, doesn’t that look appetizing,” from my dubious kitchen apprentice.

Undaunted, I dove into preparing the “bird” per package intstructions: 2 potatoes quartered, 1 onion quartered, 2 large carrots cut in half, then cut into 2 inch pieces. The Tofurky was gently placed in the tin foil and surrounded by the vegetables. (Another option is to place it in a casserole dish with a tight cover.)

I prepped one of two brines suggested on the box = 2 Tablespoons olive oil, 1 Tablespoon soy sauce, 1/2 teaspoon crushed fresh sage. (I instead used a combo of rosemary and thyme.) And, then poured one half of the brine on the “bird” an the vegetables.

After the brine bath it was time to cover everything up and place it into a 350 degree oven for 1 hour 10 minutes. (At this point, my kitchen did have a nice smell due to the stuffing cooking away…)

After time elapsed, uncover the “bird”, put the second half of the brine on it, leave uncovered and cook for an additional 10 minutes. Carve thinly, and serve with a brown gravy.

So, what did I think of this creation? Meh.

Seriously. It was just what I thought it was going to be –  a big giant hunk of compressed soy. But, let me let my guest poster more accurately describe it:

Let’s face it.  I’m lucky.  Super lucky, in fact.  I’m the go-to second opinion for Veggin’, and this means I normally get to fill myself with veggie deliciousness.  This means that no matter how unlikely a combination sounds as it’s presented, I’m a willing and able taste-tester, looking forward to the result.

Except now I feel like maybe I was a victim.  And I didn’t even know it, at first.  I mean, the slab of soy with a bit of stuffing seemed a bit much, but hey, Veggin’ Megabeth knows what she’s doing, right?  So I tried it, and it was fine enough.  Not in any way that made me want to tell anyone about it, but it was edible.  Plus, I was hungry, so I had a second slab.  “Slab”.  You see that word, right? It’s important, because that’s what I felt like I had in my stomach for the next 24 hours.  Two slabs of something.  That left room for nothing else.  And not in that satisfied way.

Too.much.soy.  I now understand the concept.  I guess I can thank Tofurky, and, uhh, Veggin’ Megabeth for this valuable lesson.  I’m off eat some greens, now.

Cheers,

The In-House Taste-Tester

I will not be purchasing another Tofurky. I’ve been there, done that and will stop hunting this soy beast. Meanwhile, I will sadly shake my head as well-meaning omnivores scoop up these “birds” for vegetarians that will be joining them at their Thanksgiving table. It’s a novelty, for sure, but pass me the green bean casserole, mashed potatoes and macaroni and cheese, please.

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10 Comments to “Tofurky: Torture for Vegetarians on Thanksgiving”


  1. *….i want toe’furky; but tiz thanksgiving ill prob setule pho rice ‘n soy milk or almond milk,mayb sum grezzon (‘n alune tym,wif frens/phamili,az i alwayz duu :party ,party ovu here ,fiig u .ovu ther–caun’t celebrate d holidays) :(sigh)…. *

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  2. Just because you don’t like them doesn’t mean it’s torture for all vegetarians to eat Tofurky. I found a supermarket that has them cheap and we eat it once a week with leftovers. Yum Yum. They’ve been sold out of them twice recently and my 9 yr. old was very disappointed. Actually have to call in the morning to see if they’ve come in yet.

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  3. You’re right, jackie, I don’t speak for all vegetarians…to each his own.

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  4. I’ve been a vegetarian now for 13 years and I also tried my first tofurky this thanks giving, mostly as a laugh. After 13 years I’ve heard my share of tofurky jokes from friend and family meat eaters and I thought it was about time I actually tasted one. I did the whole nine yards, root veggies and onions, the recommended glaze, and all I can say is….it was really nauseating. I don’t like, and really never do buy processed fake soy meats, so I knew this was going to be a bit of a stretch for me, but I didn’t realize how big of a stretch. It actually made me and my boyfriend nauseous for the rest of the evening, giving us both a pretty bad stomach ache. We ended up throwing a lot of it out (even though I really do hate wasting food), I think you could only make a marginal comparison between tofurky and actual food.

    Yuck, definitely my first and last tofurky!

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  5. Couldn’t have said it better myself, Nicole. Glad we weren’t the only one’s having that “ew, yuck” feeling afterwards. If I had to say something nice about the Tofurky – 1) the stuffing part wasn’t half bad and 2) it did make the kitchen smell nice and “festive” although it probably wasn’t the lump of soy but the herbs and stuffing doing that. But, yeah, I’ll stick with the tofurky deli slices and tofurky pepperoni pizza. :)

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  6. I think that’s pretty much it, Nicole. I think the Tofurky is pretty much the best example of why veg-friendly food producers shouldn’t try to ape meats. It can never copy the original, and the copies aren’t best idea, anyway.

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  7. My four young sons and I eat Tofurky and/or Unturkey every holiday season, at least. We LOVE them both! The first time I cooked the Tofurky it was overdone but once I cooked it correctly, it turned out moist and tender and delicious. I appreciate that we can preserve a holiday tradition while sparing a life and my boys don’t have to feel so “different.” It’s ALWAYS a center of conversation when we have guests and the meat eaters, much to their own surprise, usually enjoy it too. So I say…Go Tofurky!

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  8. OK, so I don’t buy the Tofurky roast for Thanksgiving. But I do enjoy their Italian style sausages, which add delicious flavor to my vegetarian paella and my husband’s garlic-onion-tomato-olive pasta sauce. Maybe incorporating them into a stuffing mix would work for Thanksgiving as well, alongside some butternut/delicata squash gratin and traditional side dishes.

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  9. Agree! Their sausages are pretty good and I do eat their other products including, my favorite, the peppered deli “turkey” slices. I like the idea of adding the “sausage” into a stuffing. I’ll try that!

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  10. Like you, I absolutely hated Tofurkey when I first tried it. I thought it tasted really unnatural. I had prepared it like a traditional turkey with the same seasonings and such. However, I tried it again using the crock pot method on the box and their website. It was amazing!!! My husband who is excited about trying my vegan creations but orders ribs and chicken when we go out thought that it was awesome too. Both he and the kids had second helpings and we have decided to eat it on occasion because it is so easy to make and results in a really wholesome comfort food dinner. I hope that you try that crockpot recipe. You will be pleasantly surprised at how moist it is and that the marinade of onions and cranberries really changes the overwhelming flavor that is there otherwise. Good luck. Also, I cracked up at your blog about hunting down the elusive Tofurkey. Very funny!!!!

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