If you're wondering what type of roast this is, it's not a turkey, and it's not a turducken. It's tofurky, the vegan roast made of tofu and seitan (vital wheat gluten). The team of YumSugar editors excitedly tore open the package and practically preheated the oven when Tofurky sent us a holiday roast to try, but we wondered if others would share our enthusiasm. Meat eaters who have never dabbled with vegetarianism tend to be weirded out by imitation meats made of tofu. Without seasoning, tofu's jiggly, tasteless, and reminiscent of bland Jello — and it's true that the raw roast looks unimpressive, like a pale pink slab of salami. So how can it possibly transform into a pretty darn good mock turkey? How can fake turkey possibly have a crispy skin; moist, salty meat that tastes like it's been brined for days; and fluffy rosemary rice stuffing in the middle?
Just as meat doesn't look as appetizing when raw, try to overlook the way Tofurky comes out of its casing. The success of the Tofurky Roast ($10) depends on following the recipe on the back of the packaging. Place it over a bed of root vegetables, roast it slowly for over an hour while continually basting it with a sage and soy sauce oil, and the roast develops a crispy outer coating that starts to look very much like a real turkey breast. The liquid runoff from the basting liquid leaves the veggies slightly caramelized and infused with sage. As I waltzed into the office carrying my proud roast, a nostalgic waft of holiday scents (onions, herbs, sweet potatoes) trailed behind me and attracted curious noses who followed me into the kitchen to snag a bite. But did the flavor match the amazing scent?
In one of the most surprising taste tests we've had to date, tasters exclaimed that the Tofurky's flavor is "totally unexpected" and "straight-up delicious!" Everyone gushed over the crispy, crackly "skin" of the Tofurky, which is arguably the most authentic-tasting part of the veggie roast. Bursting with salty umami flavor, the skin paves the way toward even more enticing fare — the actual veggie meat.
Many were shocked by how similar the Tofurky's texture and flavor is to a brined turkey. A few felt like the "bouncy, thick texture is a little off-putting," but the remarkable flavor surpasses any textural shortcomings. In the very center, the rosemary rice stuffing has an herbal fragrance and moist, grainy texture that some described as comforting, familiar, and definitely a surprise bonus that enhanced the faux bird.
Ultimately, would people be willing to swap a this roast out for a turkey? Many would, but some wouldn't. A few claimed they wouldn't miss the turkey if they made a tofurky roast, while others were a little hesitant. One or two commented that the roast wasn't 100 percent like turkey, so even though their opinions have changed about Tofurky products, they're likely to stick to the bird this Thanksgiving.
We think this tofurky is surprisingly good — as in good enough to secure a spot on our Thanksgiving table. Gone are the days of funky mock meats that check our gag reflexes. If there's a vegetarian at the table or if you're looking to forgo the bird for a more cost-efficient alternative, the tofurky roast may turn more heads than the turkey itself. Are you ready to change your opinion of tofu?
Learn to roast this veggie roast.
Thaw the tofurky roast in the refrigerator 24 hours prior to use. Do not thaw or cook the roast in the microwave. For easier casing removal, run the roast under hot water for one minute. When carving the cooked Tofurky, use a serrated knife to easily cut through the Tofurky. 1 tofurky roast, plastic casing and clips removed Serves 6.
2 potatoes or yams, peeled and cut in 1/2-inch slices
2 large carrots, quartered
1 onion, cut in 1/2-inch sauté slices (with the grain)
3-1/2 tablespoons canola oil
1-1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
4-1/2 teaspoons fresh (1-1/2 teaspoons dry) sage, chopped
Thaw the tofurky roast in the refrigerator 24 hours prior to use. Do not thaw or cook the roast in the microwave. For easier casing removal, run the roast under hot water for one minute. When carving the cooked Tofurky, use a serrated knife to easily cut through the Tofurky.
1 tofurky roast, plastic casing and clips removed