Saturday, December 10, 2011

Vegan whole turkey review

A few years ago my friend Anita and I decided to throw a fully vegan post-thanksgiving redo dinner so we can have Tofurkey and all the delicious vegan sides that we'd normally miss out on at our families' meat-centric dinners. It has now become a tradition. And this year, we decided to really give it all we've got. I had been walking through Whole Foods and saw this for the first time:

 According to my google searching, it's not a new product, but I had never seen it before. It's vegan! and it's shaped like a turkey! What?! I just had to get it for this year's thanksgiving dinner. The box says 10-15 servings, but I really doubted that when I opened it. It was only about the size of our kitten. It weighs 4 lbs. I was a little worried because we were expecting about 15 people for dinner and it did not look like it could serve even 10. But I had to just trust it and hope that the other food would be enough to ensure that everyone's full.

The best/strangest thing about it is that it has a cavity that you can stuff! It comes with a package of stuffing, but I wanted to use my favorite stuffing recipe (it's from the PPK's Desdemona on her blog, The Elizavegan Page). After cutting up the baguette from Trader Joe's, it didn't look like enough, so I added in the stuffing it came with and upped the spices in the recipe a bit. Now, I don't know what the packaged stuffing tastes like on its own, but the flavor was mild enough (or similar enough?) that it didn't change the taste of the stuffing as I was used to.

I stuffed it to near-bursting and put the remaining stuffing under and around the roast, like so:
I then covered it and baked it for about an hour or until heated through. It comes out looking pretty much the same, maybe just a little bit darker in color. and then it was time to carve it. I cut the legs and wings off first and then did slices diagonally across the breast until I couldn't figure out where to make the next cut and just started cutting off chunks haphazardly.

It looked and felt quite meaty. It was stringy, dense, and chewy. I think the thing that has the most similar texture to it is the Gardien chicken breasts. The flavor was pretty neutral. Tofurky has a very distinct flavor that tends to overpower everything else. When a meal that includes Tofurky is over, that's the taste that I remember most. If I pile up a bite of tofurky, stuffing, and gravy, I taste the Tofurky most. But with this, it just tastes plain with a good texture. So that was a major plus for me. It made the sides taste even better. So you can have a sandwich with gravy and stuffing and all the leftovers and actually be able to taste all the wonderful layers.

The one major downside is the price. It costs $50. Granted, there was enough for the 15 of us to eat and be very full while still having about a few servings of it left for the next day. If it was more like $30, I'd be all into it, but it didn't seem worth $50. Next year, I'll probably make my own seitan roast instead of shelling out so much for this unless a bunch of people wanted to split the cost.

In case you're curious, the rest of the menu for the night included the following:
Mushroom Puff Pastry Pockets
Spinach-Artichoke Roll-up
Butternut Apple Soup (recipe from Appetite For Reduction)
Chive Biscuits (recipe from How It All Vegan, with chives added)
Punk Rock Chickpea Gravy (Best gravy recipe ever. ever. ever.)
Sage and Onion Stuffing (recipe here)
Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes with Scallions
Sweet Potatoes with Maple-Glazed Pecans
Roasted Brussels Sprouts