One inquisitive omnivore’s journey towards healthier and more compassionate eating…

(Click here for why I started)

(MEATLESS/VEGETARIAN THANKSGIVING) Lets talk turkey—or in this case, let’s not!

This week, Elana’s Meat-Free Monday gave us lots of delicious vegan recipes for our Thanksgiving Day meal, but for some of us, Thanksgiving just isn’t the same without the turkey. It’s part of our holiday tradition—family, good friends, and eating way too much pie, sweet potatoes, stuffing and turkey.

But keeping a meat-free holiday in mind, I decided to venture out and find a turkey substitute. And as it turns out, there are quite a few vegan and vegetarian options to choose from: Tofurky, Quorn, Gardein, Vegetarian Plus, and Field Roast.

Thanksgiving can now be meat-free. Instead of turkey, companies like Quorn, Vegetarian Plus, Gardein & Tofurkey offer vegetarian and vegan options for
Thanksgiving can now be meat-free. Instead of turkey, companies like Quorn, Vegetarian Plus, Gardein & Tofurkey offer a variety of vegetarian and vegan alternatives. Photo Credit: Lisa Singer
Now it's easy to enjoy a meat-free Thanksgiving with Gardein's savory Stuffed Turk'y. It's a meat-free alternative to the traditional holiday turkey./Photo credit: Lisa Singer
Now it’s easy to enjoy a meat-free Thanksgiving with Gardein’s savory Stuffed Turk’y. It’s a meat-free alternative to the traditional holiday turkey. Photo credit: Lisa Singer

Since I had such good luck with Gardein’s Chick n’ Strips, I decided to give their Savory Stuffed Turk’y a try. 

At first glance, it’s not really what you’d consider traditional Thanksgiving fare. It looks more like a small breaded loaf, but since all I had to do was toss it in a preheated oven, who am I to complain? I cooked the Stuffed Turk’y for 25 minutes at 450 degrees. About half-way through, I turned the loaf over, and that was it!

The meal also came with some gravy that was just as easy to prepare. I heated the packet in hot water for three minutes, emptied the gravy into a bowl, then stirred and microwaved for one minute. Finally, I poured the gravy on a dish, placed the Stuffed Turk’y on top, cut it in half and voila!

With my first bite I was surprised at how tasty it was. The outside layer was crispy, and I could taste all of the flavors you’d expect in a turkey dinner—onions, garlic, and a savory mixture of spices. I like that the stuffing had small chunks of celery. It also had cranberries, which I’m not really a fan of, but for those of you who are, it gives the stuffing an added sweetness.

Gardein's Savory Stuffed Turk'y is a tasty turkey substitute great for vegetarians and vegans looking for a meat-less Thanksgiving-like meal./Photo credit: Lisa Singer
Gardein’s Savory Stuffed Turk’y is a tasty turkey substitute great for vegetarians and vegans looking for a meat-less Thanksgiving-like meal. Photo credit: Lisa Singer

My only real complaint would be there wasn’t enough of it, but then again I’m a big stuffing fan, so you can never have too much. The meat-free gravy tasted pretty similar to a very simple gravy with meat, only no chunks.

My one caveat, make sure every bite of faux-turkey includes stuffing, gravy, or preferably both. On its own, the Gardein Turk’y was extremely bland and similarly to the other meat substitutes I’ve tried, it had a lingering chemical-like aftertaste.

Now for the million dollar question: does it measure up to my Uncle Buddy’s Thanksgiving Day feast from my childhood?

HECK NO! But did you really expect it to?

It was good. I would recommend it for any other time, but Thanksgiving is the Super Bowl of turkey. That being said, it would be a nice option to keep on hand for any vegans or vegetarians joining you on the big day.

For me, I’ll skip the turkey and stick with the side dishes— the stuffing, the sweet potatoes, stuffing, mashed potatoes with gravy, stuffing, green beans, stuffing, apple pie, and did I mention stuffing? They’re definitely the best part of the meal anyway. I know the turkey’s supposed to be the star, but it’s the extras that steal the show.

If you’re up for it, join me in my turkey-free Thanksgiving!

If you need a little incentive or just want to have a good laugh, check out this fun video and have a wonderful Thanksgiving! CLICK HERE!

I Will Survive - The Thanksgiving Version.m4v/youtube.com
I Will Survive – The Thanksgiving Version. Photo Credit: You Tube

— Lisa Singer, exclusive to Global Animal

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