4 unique alternatives to using turkey for your thanksgiving feast
Thanksgiving is only days away. Are you preparing yourself for the big feast? Director of Culinary and Hospitality programs at Star Career Academy, Chef McNulty, has been prepping for his family feast all week. “I’ve been hosting Thanksgiving for as long as I can remember. I invite my whole family, friends, and friends of friends, it’s a big party. Every year there is at least one or two guest who are either on a gluten-free, vegetarian, vegan diet or someone has a food allergy. As a host I want them to enjoy the Thanksgiving holiday to the full extent like the rest of us, and it certainly goes a long way if you prepare something special for them.”
Here is the real question: How will you prepare some Thanksgiving dishes for guests with restricted diets? Being vegetarian, or following a strict diet, can be extremely difficult during the holidays. These guests should be able to enjoy the same abundance and tradition that meat-eaters get to experience on special holidays like Thanksgiving.
Aside from the big bird at the head of the table, the traditional Thanksgiving meal is already principally vegetarian as it is, and features the best of the fall season’s delicious seasonal ingredients, which include pumpkin, cranberry, and butternut squash. It’s certainly a great idea to serve a dish that is delicious for all guests, but would also offer a satisfying vegan or vegetarian friendly option for others.
Sure, there are endless recipes that you can find to help create mouthwatering meatless dishes for Thanksgiving, but making your guests’ meal a great experience might take a little bit more than just serving endless portions of veggie side dishes.
According to the “Vegetarian Times,” there are about 7.3 million Americans who follow a vegetarian diet and 22.8 million who follow a mostly vegetarian diet, so we are going to look into the best and maybe the worst ‘meatless turkey’ alternatives for your Thanksgiving dinner taking place this Thursday (without cooking a nut loaf from scratch) as the main event to your feast that you can pick up at your local grocery store today.
This mock meat roast comes from the Field Roast Grain Meat Company, which has a whole retail line of faux meat products. This vegan roast looks a lot like Beef Wellington, but it’s stuffed with sausage-style stuffing made of butternut squash, apples and mushrooms, which have a garlic and smoke-flavored aftertaste. The roast is moist, tasty, and well-seasoned, perfect for the holiday season.
This turk’y roast has probably the closest thing to a “meat” taste and texture on our list, which is great for an ex carnivore turned vegetarian. The only drawback to keep in mind with this roast is that it tends to be too much like actual turkey in the sense that it can be a little dry at times and requires extra gravy.
Tofurky is the most recognizable brand for most non-vegetarians. This feast pays a lot of attention to trimmings rather than just the mock turkey, as it comes with wild rice, bread crumb stuffing and mushroom gravy. This vegetarian feast serves up to 6 and looks the most like turkey on our list. The stuffing is delicious, while the “meat” has a rubbery consistency. (But hey, it also came with a vegan fudge brownie!)
This is our favorite non-“meat” product. (I even have meat-eater friends who enjoy this dish from time to time.) This “turkey roast” is made from soy, wheat, peas, and carrots, and has a convincing flavor and texture that may fool meat-eaters should you decide to place this dish next to your real turkey! This is a great vegetarian and vegan-friendly option to complete your Thanksgiving spread. Depending on your location, you can pick this up in the hot food section at your local Whole Foods Market.
While vegetarians and vegans don’t eat meat, these Thanksgiving dishes provide some great turkey alternatives for a filling meal (and are probably better for one’s overall health and waistline). Let us know if you’re going meat-free this Thanksgiving!