By Nancy Olah
As a non-meat eater since 1974, I have spent forty years of holidays explaining why I was not eating the meat focus of the meal.
Trust me – I’ve brought a lot of delicious and creative vegetarian dishes to each holiday meal with my hubby’s family – only to find them bypassed or overlooked on the groaning sideboard because they didn’t look like the traditional “sides” to the main event.
So in the mid-1990’s, I started to also bring a non-meat alternative to family holiday meals. In the early years, I always brought Tofurky Vegetarian Roast or Quorn Turk’y Roast, and finally decided that the Quorn Turk’y Roast was better received by the members of our family who were open to trying alternatives to the bird.
With just a week to go before Thanksgiving, I decided to re-test Tofurky Vegetarian Roast (touted as “America’s #1 Turkey Alternative since 1995”) against Quorn Turk’y Roast, which had become my favorite Turkey stand-in for the past decade.
I roasted the Tofurky Vegetarian Roast in an oval clay pot. I added whole fresh garlic cloves, carrots, and Yukon Gold potatoes, along with sage, bay leaves, and extra virgin olive oil mixed with organic tamari. I covered the clay pot and baked the roast for about an hour and 15 minutes at 350 degrees, and then uncovered the pot, and added a little more tamari and olive oil to baste the top of the roast for the next 15 minutes.
To cut to the chase . . . my hubby and I were more than pleasantly surprised at the flavor, consistency, and texture of Tofurky Vegetarian Roast. My carnivore hubby thought that it had a better texture and flavor than the Quorn Roast we had been making for the past decade.
But he also honestly told me that he thought neither would fool a carnivore when confronted with a juicy slice of roast turkey as an alternative. He said that both of them are great alternatives for non-meat eaters who want to “fit in” at Thanksgiving, but that neither will “fool” your meat-eating family.
So, with a heavy sigh, I have to tell you that although they taste like turkey to someone like me who hasn’t eaten it in forty years, neither of these turkey alternatives will fool your family. But personally – as a non-meat eater – I feel more like I’m part of our family’s Thanksgiving celebration when I have a slice or two on my plate.