Tofurky: Faux Meat Faux Pas

Ever since I cooked my first (and only) meatless Thanksgiving (Atlanta, 2006) I’ve been curious about the faux-meat called Tofurky… My dear friend from Iowa, Neha, is a vegetarian, and we spent a lovely long weekend in my new town cooking, eating, and laughing. Although we made quite the spread of vegetarian side dishes, with a delightful main dish of pumpkin ravioli (from scratch!), we ran out of time to pick up a Tofurky at Whole Foods. Plus, she wasn’t entirely convinced. 😉

This Thanksgiving occurred when I was still rather skeptical about vegetarianism. Nothing against it — I just never thought I’d like to be a “veggie-saurus,” as I sometimes call them. Yet as my diet has skewed more and more vegetarian over the years (I am now in a happy “flexatarian” equilibrium where I mix my meatless and meat dishes at roughly a 1:2 ratio), my curiosity regarding Tofurky has remained.

I decided if I was going to make a Tofurky, I’d go all out and create a whole meal around the dish. When describing the meal to my roommate, she laughed and said, “Well, essentially we’re having Thanksgiving dinner, huh?” Yes, Shannon, yes. 🙂

  • Tofurky w/marinade
  • Roasted potatoes and carrots
  • Broiled asparagus spears
  • Cornbread stuffing
  • Gravy (pre-prepared, not vegetarian)

I didn’t have a very high opinion of Tofurky. I mean, come on, it doesn’t look very appetizing out of the box:

However, this was an itch I just really needed to scratch! So without further ado, I jumped in. Tofurky is essentially a soy and wheat-based meat substitute that is fully vegan, and comes in a roast-like cylinder, stuffed with vegetarian stuffing. The name Tofurky is a portmanteau of “tofu” and “turkey,” representing the meat/main dish that this food product attempts to substitute for.

A Tofurky seems pretty easy to put together. There are many recipes floating around online that use slow cookers, steamers, etc., but I figured I’d just go with the suggested Tofurky recipe for my first (and potentially only!) foray. Essentially, you defrost the Tofurky 24 hours in advance, mix up a marinade, lay the Tofurky in a pan with some roasting vegetables, tent with foil and bake.

So how did we like it? Well … it was terrible. Slightly edible. Rubbery. Gross. Shannon called it “not so bad, but I wouldn’t eat it again.” I stopped taking photos because (1) it wasn’t worth it (2) I was too busy making an emergency batch of fried rice so that we’d have something to eat. I am usually down with the meat substitutes (ok, mayebe not tempeh), but this will be one I’ll never be curious about again.

Yay for Tofurky!

Well, Shannon looks happy!

Front Street Tofurky Roast
Adapted from Turtle Island Foods: Feast Cooking Instructions

Serves 0 (because it is gross)

Ingredients

  • 1 Tofurky roast, thawed
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil (or other vegetable oil)
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons worchestershire sauce
  • 3 potatoes, sliced
  • 4 carrots, sliced
  • 1 1/2 onions, sliced
  • Dried herbs, whatever floats your boat/whatever’s in the spice rack

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 350°.
  • Mix marinade together.
  • Place sliced vegetables in a small roasting container (such as a loaf pan), place Tofurky on top of vegetables and cover with half the marinade.
  • Tent container tightly with foil and bake for 1.5 hours, turning Tofurky once and basting with juices.
  • After 1.5 hours, baste with reserved marinade, and leave in the oven for 10 more minutes.
  • Slice Tofurky thinly. Serve with lots of wine. Begin making batch of emergency fried rice, and vaguely consider calling for pizza. Be glad you know cool people that put up with your cooking experiments.
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One thought on “Tofurky: Faux Meat Faux Pas

  1. It really wasn’t that bad! But yes, I reiterate my assertion that I wouldn’t eat it again by choice.

    Also, contrary to how it appears in the above photo, I’d like to lent Lin and Coralie’s blogosphere know that I don’t have a hunchback.

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