I think being a vegetarian around the holidays can be the WORST. Every big holiday meal is centered around a beautiful roasted turkey. Yes there are all sorts of delicious side dishes that can be made to offset not being part of the main event but what happens when you throw a thanksgiving dinner for a group that consists of mostly vegetarians?? This past thanksgiving I was faced with this dilemma.
Coming from Georgia, the holidays are always a big to-do in my family. Believe me- southerners know how to fill a table with fabulous food. My favorite was always a spicy cajun turkey. I tried my best last Thanksgiving to bring a taste of the south up north and make it as vegetarian friendly as possible.
My findings include a tasty way to cook the fabled “tofurkey”– Let’s be honest: this faux log of a “bird” isn’t going to fool anyone. It’s awkward and funny looking BUT if seasoned correctly it can stand in and make quite an impression. There are several brands that you can try but my favorite in all of my tastings was the Quorn Turkey Roast. If you’ve been a longtime reader of Thrifty Foodies you’ll know that I cook often with Quorn products because they don’t contain soy and have the most meat-like texture out of the variety of vegetarian products on the market.
As with most faux turkeys they all come packaged with ‘suggested’ cooking methods. Go ahead and do everyone a favor and throw those directions in the trash. The only way you’ll make this substitute taste remotely holiday worthy is to give it a little TLC in the form of marinade and spices. Last year I cooked mine marinaded in veggie stock with a TON of poultry spices. I’ve whittled it down to a tasty apple cider marinade that makes the entire house smell amazing as guests arrive. It is a little time intensive (as are most real turkeys) but give it a try and I guarantee you wont be disappointed.
Apple Cider Glazed Faux Turkey (Quorn Turk’y Roast)1 Quorn Turkey Roast 1 tsp poultry seasoning 1/2 tsp rosemary 1/2 tsp thyme 1/2 tsp sage a few grinds of pepper 2 cups apple cider 1/4 cup soy sauce 1 small tart apple mixture of baby carrots, chopped onion, parsnips, celery, cubed sweet potatoes, and cubed red potatoes Remove all packaging from Quorn roast- Including the plastic wrapper that they suggest baking it in. Place roast in a gallon sized ziplock bag along with apple cider, soy sauce, rosemary, thyme, sage, and pepper. Close bag and shake it up to mix everything together. Place in the refrigerator and marinate overnight. When you are ready to cook the roast fill the bottom of a baking dish with a mixture of baby carrots, chopped onion, parsnips, celery, cubed sweet potatoes, and cubed red potatoes. Make a small indention for the roast to sit in the middle of the veggies and pour the sauce over everything. Make a few indentions down the body of the roast and slip a few pieces of the tart apple into them. Cook on 350 degrees for 1 hour and 20 minutes covered with aluminum foil. Uncover and cook for 20 more minutes. At this point if your roast isn’t as golden brown as you would like it to be feel free to remove it from the pan and place it under the broiler for 5 minutes. Enjoy! ~Charlie
Quorn Turkey Roast- $8.50
Carrots- bag for for $1.50
Sweet Potatoes- 2 for $1.00
Red potato- 1 for $0.25
Onion- 1 for $0.50
Apple Cider- 1/2 gallon for $2.50
Kitchen Staples: poultry seasoning, rosemary, thyme, sage, soy sauce, apple
This thrifty thanksgiving substitute made enough to serve four totaling $14.25 or around $3.50 a serving.