A Very Vegan Thanksgiving Dinner

Crusted Eggplant w/ Tofurkey Italiano
Image by sparklemotion0 via Flickr

By Julie Kovaleski
Staff Writer

Just the thought of what companies do to turkeys to prepare for Thanksgiving makes my heart sink. Cutting off the turkey’s toes and beaks without painkillers, and slitting their throats when they are still conscious is just the start. So no wonder there are more families going vegan than ever before, and to my surprise it’s not as hard as I thought.

With many companies offering turkey substitutes, and the popular “toferkey,” preparing a meat-less meal for the holidays is a breeze. Just ask the Fox family from Clarks Summit. With their own line of bath and body care products, that they make by hand, and are one hundred percent vegan, they know a thing or two about making Thanksgiving work for them.  “I have been a vegan for as long as I can remember,” said Amanda Fox, the one half duo of Fanciful Fox, the name of their bath and body care line.

But finding products to make all the traditional Thanksgiving Day meals has to be like going on a wild goose chase, right? Well Amanda assures me that its not. “It’s not as hard as people think to make a meatless meal. My grandmother has been helping us make Thanksgiving dinner for a while now, so I learned a lot from watching and helping her.”

Most of the time you can buy tofu and season it to make it taste like turkey. Also, many products that you would find on the table are already suitable for vegans, such as bread with no butter, cranberry sauce, and steamed vegetables.

However being a vegan does not stop at what one eats; some take the same philosophy from their eating habits and make it into a lifestyle. Most vegans do not buy products that come from animals, like leather, and do not buy products from companies that test their products on animals. Some even take it as far as banning a store for selling a product that can be harmful to animals, like glue traps that Lowes sells and we have all heard of the infamous events in New York City when fashion week begins. Anyone can picture the impact that people from animal rights groups throwing red paint on the models who are wearing fur in fashion shows make.

Nevertheless there are many great websites that showcase many do-it-yourself recipes that have the vegan in mind for Thanksgiving. Like the popular website Vegeweb.com. “A lot of the recipes I like and use are from Vegeweb.com,” says Fox. “I like that other people can share their recipes with other vegans and vegetarians as well.

Since Thanksgiving is right around the corner the most popular meatless meal has to be a tofu turkey. So here is a great recipe you can try this year and give those poor turkeys a day off from being stuffed.

Tofu Turkey Ingredients

  • 5 blocks organic tofu (firm)
  • 11/2 tablespoon vegetarian chicken stock powder (optional)
  • 11/2 teaspoon each; sage, thyme, summer savoury, black pepper
  • 1/4 cup toasted sesame seed oil
  • 1/2 cup tamari (soy sauce)
  • 3-4 cups of your favourite stuffing


  1. Mix together sesame oil and tamari, set aside.
  2. In a large bowl break up the tofu well by hand or with a potato masher. Add herbs and pepper and vegtarian chicken stock powder (optional), mix well.
  3. Line a medium, round bottomed colander with one layer of cheese cloth or a clean dish towel. Put the tofu mixture in colander and fold remaining cheese cloth over the top.  Place the colander in the sink or over a large bowl and place a heavy weight on top. Press for aprox. 2-3 hours (longer if soft tofu is used). Make your stuffing.
  4. After pressing and with the tofu still in the colander, scoop out the centre, leaving about an inch of tofu around the edges.  Place your stuffing in the cavity. Put the tofu mixture you scooped out over the dressing and press down firmly.
  5. Flip the formed turkey on to an oiled cookie sheet and brush the top with the oil and tamari mixture, cover with tin foil and place in a 350° oven for about 1 hour brushing with oil mixture every 15 min.
  6. After 1 hour remove foil and bake uncovered for about 45 minuites, watching carefully so as not to burn. At this stage you are forming the skin or crust. Brush 4-5 times more during this hour.
  7. When the bird turns a dark golden brown, remove from oven.  Serve with mushroom gravy and all the trimmings. Serves 10.
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