Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Homemade Tofurkey, Tofu Turkey... vegan, of course

As promised, I present to you... the tofurkey (queue instrumental music, light show, oohs, ahs, etc...) and spell it as you like, tofurkey... tofurky... tofu turkey... it's delicious even without the extra 'e'.

Ok, so this Thanksgiving I'm rolling solo, and actually, I'm looking forward to it. I did not however, want to miss out on Thanksgiving dinner with my boys so we had it last night. We called it Thanksgiving Tuesday.
Bonus? I totally don't have to cook for like, the next six days! First of all I have a shed load of 'Save the Turkeys' day themed posts for you and second, as of Thursday morning I am officially a bachelorette. Queue True Blood, Weeds, Fringe reruns, outdoor runs at whatever time I choose, vino and popcorn for dinner and other such nonsense that I wouldn't partake in if my two men were here to keep me in check.

All that being said I must get back to my darling tofurkey. I have made tofurkey the last few years for Thanksgiving and I must say, every year it gets tastier. This year I am BFFs with garlic so it is even more tasty.

Are you a nay sayer? Are you? Well you shouldn't be. Ask my carnivorous husband. It's delicious, unique and incredibly flavorful. A perfect 'Save the Turkeys' type of meal. Heck, it's a perfect meal for the middle of summer to. I don't dare pigeonhole the tofurkey to one simple day out of a whopping 365.

It's also quite easy in the long run so even if you're a carnivore, I urge you to give it a try. Branch out and go for it... you won't be disappointed.

Supplies needed:
Cheese cloth
Big bowl
Strainer that will fit inside big bowl
Cast iron pan or other heavy item that will fit inside strainer

3 blocks firm tofu
2 teaspoons fresh thyme, chopped
2 Tablespoons fresh sage, chopped
1 teaspoon fennel seed
3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon oregano
1 batch stuffing recipe
For the marinade:
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
3 Tablespoons spicy brown mustard
2 Tablespoons braggs amino acid
1 Tablespoon olive oil

In a food processor, combine tofu, thyme, sage, fennel, garlic, salt, pepper and oregano until smooth.

Put strainer inside big bowl then put cheese cloth inside strainer. Transfer tofu mixture onto the top of cheese cloth and smooth flat, ensuring that it is even.

Cover top of tofu with the cheese cloth that is hanging over the side and top that with your cast iron pan or other heavy item(s). Put your entire aparatus in the refrigerator for 3-5 hours or overnight.

Note: I use my Mario Batali cast iron soup pot because it's heavy and fits perfectly inside my strainer, on top of my tofu. I put the lid upside down on top of it to add extra weight. The more weight the better.

Add'l note: the reason you're doing this (which was helpful for me to know the first time I did this) the tofu is in the strainer/cheesecloth. Putting the weight on it will press all the extra liquid out of it, creating a firm 'mass' that will be your tofurkey. The bowl is beneath it to catch the extra liquid.

While your tofu is pressing, prepare your stuffing.
When your tofurkey is done pressing, take it out of the fridge and remove heavy aparati. Open cheese cloth and behold the beginnings of your tofurkey.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees

Scoop out the middle of your tofu to about 1 inch from the sides and bottom. Put the tofu you scooped out into a bowl. You will use it in a minute. Note: it is difficult to judge how close you are to the bottom. Do the best you can. If you hit the bottom, just put the tofu back and press it down again. It will be ok.

Once you have your hole in the middle of the Tofurkey, fill that hole with your stuffing. Make sure you are pressing the stuffing down as you go, packing in as much as you can.

Once filled, pack the tofu you scooped out onto the top of your stuffing, pressing down firmly as you go.

When you are done... (you will have some extra tofu left over) cover with the cheese cloth again and give it a good solid press to ensure solidity.

Prepare an oven safe pan or dish by bringing it right next to your tofurkey. I used my Mario Batali pizza stone.

Now, spread out the cheese cloth and carefully, ever so carefully, flip and transfer your tofurkey from the strainer onto your baking pan or dish.

I did this by putting my hand over the tofurkey it then very quickly flipping the strainer upside down while simultaneously putting my hand on the baking pan. Think of your hand as a shock for your tofurkey, absorbing any movement that would make it fall into a billion pieces. It's easier than it sounds. Promise.

Once on the dish, let it rest while you prepare your marinade.

For the marinade, combine the balsamic vinegar, mustard, braggs and olive oil in a shakeable container. Preferrably one that is large enough to accomodate a baster. Combine it all together, shake vigorously to combine, remove lid and suck up some of the goodness into your baster and distribute evenly over tofurkey. Not too much... you will baste every 20 minutes or so during the cooking process.

Once initially basted, place in oven for approximately 75 minutes. While baking, baste your tofurkey with the marinade every 15 minutes or so.

When done, remove from oven, baste with any remaining marinade, if any and let rest for about 10-15 minutes.

Transfer your tofurkey onto a serving platter using two spatulas. At this point it should be pretty darn easy to transfer.

Garnish with herby green beans or other Thanksgiving treats and serve with all the Thaknksgiving goodness, aka mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce, you name it.

I truly hope you try and enjoy tofurkey, but regardless I wish you all a happy Thanksgiving!!




  1. Jennifurla... thank you :) I know, people are scared of the tofurkey but it really is good!

  2. As a person who is not much of a turkey fan, I would gladly give this a try.

    Creative recipe.

    Two thumbs up!

    Hope you had a wonderful holiday



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