Vegetarian Turkey Recipes

Vegetarian Turkey

Turkey image courtesy of Joe Zlomek at StockXching.com
Turkey image courtesy of Joe Zlomek at StockXching.com | Source

Meet the Turkey

When one is vegetarian --or more strict yet, vegan-- the major holidays present a dilemma if you are having people over to dine, or joining others elsewhere. Vegetarian turkey recipes are everywhere now, as are rather price-y store-bought versions of faux turkey. If you are a vegetarian/vegan going out to family or friends' for Thanksgiving, say, why not try some of the recipes here and take your own fake bird along to share. If you are hosting a dinner that will include vegetarians, you might want to leave some space on your table for Tom's tofu twin. Have fun trying out a couple of the following turkey analogue recipes before the big event! I would suggest that you cut the recipe ingredients in half or even to a quarter for the trial run. Have a family panel give you some feedback on what they think of the experiments before you bake them up on the big day.

Vegan Tofu Turkey Recipe

"Couldbee Turkey" (Raw Vegan- No Tofu)

  • 1 C. Almonds
  • 1 C. Almond Butter
  • 2 medium Tomatoes
  • 1 C. Zucchini
  • 1/4 tsp. Sage
  • 1/2 tsp. Kelp (or other sea vegetable powder)
  • Extra-virgin Coconut Oil
  • 2 C. Celery
  • 2 C. Carrots
  • 1 C. Yellow Squash
  • 1 T. Fresh Parsley
  • 1 T. Flaxseed Meal

In a blender or food processor, whirl up 1 C. of Almonds into meal. Combine with the Almond butter in mixing bowl. Peel and finely chop the Tomatoes into the bowl. Shred Carrots, Squash and Zucchini into the bowl. Dice the celery fine. Add 1 C. to your blender and liquify. You may strain through a nut-milk bag, or just add puree to the bowl with other ingredients. Knead together until it resembles a stiff dough-like consistency. Add more Almonds or Flaxseed if the dough is too thin. Press the mixture into a coconut-oiled pan and chill. Serve on a bed of lettuce with cranberry sauce.

**This is an adaptation of the "Almost Turkey" recipe in Recipes for Life from God's Kitchen by Rhonda J. Malkmus, Hallalujah Acres Publishing, 2002.

How to Make Tofurky® Introduction to "Tour"

Preparing Store-bought Tofurky®

Tofurky® is a popular brand of commercial tofu turkey that is made of organic tofu (from, non-Genetically Engineered organic soybeans) by Turtle Island Foods, Inc. On their company site they state that they do not add preservatives, MSG, or other artificial ingredients to their products and they are kosher and vegan. Turtle Island Foods, Inc. is a family owned and operated companyinHood River, Oregon. I once bought a tofurky but didn't really know how to prepare it so it is handy that Expert Village offers the following series of videos showing how to prepare the Tofurky® for Thanksgiving (or Christmas).

Follow the videos on preparing the Tofurky® down the right of the page in order and learn how to make a complete meatless holiday meal.

How To Make Tofurky® 1

How to Make Tofurky® 2

How to Make Tofurky® 3

How to Make Tofurky® 4

How to Make Tofurky® 5

How to Make Tofurky® 6

How to Make Tofurky® 7

How To Make Tofurky® 8

What does a Vegan Eat?

In case you are not sure, a vegetarian can be someone who eats NO animal products or by-products (including dairy, eggs, fish, chicken, shrimp, or animal products in dressings, cakes, etc. ) in which case they are called vegan(pronounced vee-gun or vay-gn) whereas there are quite a few variations in vegetarians-- some may eat eggs and dairy (called ovo-lacto vegetarians) and some may actually eat a little fish or chicken along with their largely vegetarian fare. Raw vegans do not eat vegan fare that has been heated above 118 degrees. Like vegetarians, 'raw vegans' have their range of differences as well-- some will not eat any condiments, for example, and some will partake of olive oil and honey. Some are closer to being 'fruitarian' which means they eat a lot of fruits (example: the usual fruits as well as avocado, cucumber, pumpkin, seeds, and nuts, and other produce that is considered the "fruit" of the plant it goes on). It is probably a good idea to check with your guests at time of inviting to see who eats what these days-- potlucks can generally take some of the challenge out of the situation, but it's nice if the hostess can provide some of the larger, expected foods at the table (for example, the turkey and the fake turkey).

Vegans have made the choice for the way they eat for different reasons. Many are concerned about the welfare of animals in general, and at Thanksgiving, they are especially concerned about the plight of turkeys in factory farms like you see in this brief (thankfully) video by PETA. Believing "you are what you eat", other vegans are more focused on the health benefits of eating an organically-grown, locally-farmed, plant-based diet. Most vegans have at least some philosophical tie to a belief in the connection between vegan diet and lifestyle and the sustainability of our planet.

The Soy Controversy

I have included a raw vegan fake turkey recipe because there are many people who do not consume soy products.

There are those who do eat soy, but with caution, eating only small amounts of soy foods (eg., miso, tempeh, tamari) that contain soy beans that are (1)not genetically engineered and (2)are organically-grown and, often, (3)that are naturally fermented in the traditional ways.

There are vegans who will not touch soy, stating that even if it is organic and non-GMO, that it depresses the thyroid and can cause cancer.

This is a very confusing debate since there are societies that have been eating soy for generations seemingly without deleterious effects, and there are studies that show that many people (babies included) are very allergic to soy products. Here is an article that gives a pretty good look at both sides of the controversy and allows you to make your own informed decision in the matter.

Turkeyless Turkey (Raw Vegan, No Tofu)
adapted from the recipe by Valya and Sergie Boutenko
Page 81 of Eating without Heating
www.Rawfamily.com

This is a pretty rich raw vegan dish, just for the holidays!  You will need to be on top of things and soak the nuts before you go to bed so they are ready the next day... I use mason jars to soak mine.

  • 1/2 pound almonds, soaked overnight 
  • 1/2 pound walnuts, soaked overnight 
  • 1 pound carrots, finely grated
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 T. raisins
  • 1 T. hempseed or flaxseed oil
  • 1 T. caraway seeds or fennel seeds, ground
  • 1 T. Italian Seasoning
  • Celtic Sea Salt or Kelp to taste

Combine all ingredients and blend in a food processor. If the mixture is not 
firm enough, add one or more of the following to thicken: dill weed, dried garlic, dried onion, dried parsley flakes, nutritional yeast, psyllium husk powder, ground flaxseeds.

Form into drumsticks, sprinkle with paprika or freshly ground black pepper just before serving.

Have You Ever Cooked A Fake Turkey?

  • Yes, Tofurkey and it turned out great
  • Yes, but not Tofurkey and it was okay
  • No, but I have eaten fake turkey and liked it
  • No, I've eaten fake turkey and didn't care for it
  • No, but I think I would like to give it a try
See results without voting

How To Make Tofurky® 9

Why Eat Turkey at Thanksgiving Anyhow?

We have all (outside the United States, I mean) heard that the Pilgrims had a great nosh-up of wild turkey when they celebrated their first, and subsequent, thanksgivings in New England. And this is why we eat turkey every year at Thanksgiving. Well, according to what I read online, in 1621 when the Plymouth Colonists and the Wampanoag Indians sat down together at the table for their first Thanksgiving feast, they had the possibility of a whole hoard of critters to gorge on: wild turkey, yes, but also lobster, seal, eel, goose, duck and cod fish. Are we absolutely certain that they didn't just fill their tummies with Indian corn pudding and wild goose? Goose is said to have been the contemporary celebratory foul-- Queen Elizabeth the first is rumored to have gobbled down goose as the Spanish Armada sank, and when she was given the 'good news' of this, she ordered a second goose. There is speculation that the roasted turkey replaced the English roasted goose because the turkey was just so much more abundant in the New World. In 1943, Norman Rockwell painted the picture called "Freedom from Want" that appeared on the cover of the Saturday Evening Post . It seems that Herbert Hoover's 1928 presidential slogan promising "a chicken in every pot" got bloated up a little as this grand turkey on every family's holiday table. Americans related to the turkey imagery as a sure sign of "abundance" in their nation, something to be thankful for. Europeans, however, saw the turkey as a symbol of American imperialism and over-consumption of world resources. For Americans, and Canadians as well, the turkey at Thanksgiving was a touchstone in all family gatherings. There were games and rituals that just focused on the turkey (such as 'getting the Pope's nose' and 'pulling the wishbone') until, seemingly, the spiritual associations between the turkey and Thanksgiving for plenty just morphed into this thing called "Turkey Day".

How to Make Tofurky® 10

How to Make Tofurky® 11

How to Make Tofurky® 12

Cranberry Sauce Recipe

What would turkey be without cranberry sauce?  I feel just the same way about fake turkey-- it should still have a lovely cranberry sauce or cranberry relish to go with it.  The humble cranberry is a healing berry.  Did you know that the flavenoids in cranberries is said to inhibit bacteria from sticking to the walls of the bladder?  (but if you are drinking cranberry juice, consume only the unsweetened variety because refined sugar, high fructose corn sugars, and sugar facsimiles will only promote more bacteria to form).  There is also some indication that cranberries have a compound in them that will prevent the build-up of plaques in the arterial walls, thus preventing cardiovascular disease.   Is that amazing or what?

CRANBERRY SAUCE RECIPE

This recipe is tangy and delicious, on tofurky, etc., but also as a pancake sauce!

  • 1- 12 oz. package of frozen cranberries (do not thaw)
  • 1 large apple of any variety
  • 1/2 C. fresh orange pieces, including the peel (washed)
  • 1/3 C. liquid raw honey or drops of Stevia to taste
  1. Place frozen berries in a blender and whirl up, a few at a time (so they don't get pureed entirely).  Pour blended berries into a bowl and set aside
  2. Place all the orange slices in the blender and add the liquid raw honey or stevia.  Whirl up together with cranberries
  3. Peel and grate the apple into the orange-cranberry mix
  4. Put the sauce in the fridge and chill for at least 1 hour

How to Make Tofurky® 13

How to Make Tofurky® 14

I Miss Turkey Leftovers! (Not)

I was a young matron in the day of 1001 Ways to Use Up Left-Over Turkey and I have some distinct recollections of feeling ill after the turkey tetrazzini, turkey sandwiches, turkey soup run of trial recipes.  We stopped cooking turkey back when one son claimed to be allergic to chicken and turkey and the other one went vegan.  Now that I have seen that sad video about the factory-farmed turkeys, I know that I definitely won't be lapsing and snarfing a turkey sandwich when out for lunch.  

Too, one is more apt to get a food-bourne disease from turkey that has been left out on the counter overnight (listeria or salmonella for example) than from a nut-carrot based turkeyless turkey.  (not that I am suggesting that you should leave any food out in a room over night).  

However you choose to celebrate Thanksgiving, have a happy, safe and connected time with your family and friends!

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Comments 12 comments

glassvisage profile image

glassvisage 6 years ago from Northern California

Vegetarian turkey!!! I'm a vegetarian and I still haven't jumped on the Tofurkey train. I hear good things and I know I'd love it, but I wonder how it is to cook :) Thanks for the Hub!


techygran profile image

techygran 6 years ago from Vancouver Island, Canada Author

hey, glassvisage, thanks for checking this hub out... I can tell you that the tofurkey cooks well and tastes delish... I think all the youtubes would be an asset in prep. If you do give it a try, let me know what you think! In Thanksgiving, Cynthia


livelonger profile image

livelonger 5 years ago from San Francisco

I *really* wish I had read this Hub about 2 weeks ago. I couldn't find anything out there that wasn't tofu-based, so we settled on a mushroom pot pie (made with chanterelles) as our main veggie dish. However, I'm really excited about trying the Couldbee and/or Turkeyless versions next year.


techygran profile image

techygran 5 years ago from Vancouver Island, Canada Author

thanks for your comments Livelonger... maybe you want to try the turkeyless version for Christmas? I don't think it is restricted to Thanksgiving Only... although it is kind of nice to have certain designated celebratory dishes, to build new "traditions" for example. Let me know how your turkeyless cooking ventures go...


Joanna Verdan profile image

Joanna Verdan 3 years ago from New Jersey

I love your hub. Yeah, Thanksgiving will be here before we know it... What I was thinking about was trying to make seitan dish - I had it in a restaurant in mushroom sauce and it was delicious - very meaty-like, a good substitute of white-meat for meat eaters.


techygran profile image

techygran 3 years ago from Vancouver Island, Canada Author

thank you for your comments Joanna! I love veggie turkey myself, and I love seitan. Let me know if you have it for Thanksgiving!


Au fait profile image

Au fait 24 months ago from North Texas

You have a lot of good information here.

Daughter is a vegetarian. She reads the ingredient list on everything before deciding if she will eat it. We have had 'tofurky' every Thanksgiving for several years now. We don't usually have turkey or tofurkey for Christmas.


techygran profile image

techygran 24 months ago from Vancouver Island, Canada Author

heheh... I hear you Au fait... we are vegan-flexitarian meaning that 95% of the time we eat vegan, but there are times when we eat a little of the other kingdom. My husband learned about Ayurvedic foods when taking a longevity course at the local Elder College and we have started to use ghee (clarified butter) in a lot of our soups, etc.

You might want to check out the non-tofu (raw) turkey-ish recipes above, if you are feeling experimental... or not. It's sometimes fun to show our kids how innovative and unpredictably creative we really are:P

Thank you for checking out this page, and for your comments!

~Cynthia


Besarien profile image

Besarien 8 months ago

I had Tofurkey at a friend's house one year. She made a turkey breast and a tofurkey because one guest who was supposed to show but didn't was vegan. I tried both (most people there wouldn't) and honestly preferred the tofurkey. I could eat it any day and be happy. Wheat and soy though, why so expensive? Vegans get a very raw deal, it seems.


techygran profile image

techygran 8 months ago from Vancouver Island, Canada Author

I believe one pays for the brand, Besarian... it's like buying Kleenex instead of the regular store brand of tissues-- you pay through the nose when you buy the Kleenex brand, pun intended. Thank you for your comments, and I would have you over to my house for Tofurky anytime! ~Cynthia


veganfitspiration profile image

veganfitspiration 8 weeks ago from Colorado Springs

Oooh what a great collection of recipes! My husband and I are vegan and we are very excited to try the almond turkey recipe! Thanks :)


techygran profile image

techygran 8 weeks ago from Vancouver Island, Canada Author

Hi Veganfitspiration-- glad you liked the recipes! Let me know what you think of the almond turkey recipe when you make it

-- if you are celebrating this weekend, Happy Thanksgiving!

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