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For many years now, I have made a “Tofu Turkey” for Thanksgiving. It is a vegan version of what is normally served during this holiday, complete with a delicious mushroom stuffing inside, and a crispy, flavorful exterior “skin”.
It does require several steps, and the entire process will take a few hours. Two of those are in pressing the tofu, though. It is not difficult to make, and your efforts will be greatly rewarded with an impressive centerpiece for your holiday table.
When I made this the first time, I followed the recipe exactly, and while it was good, it needed some adjusting for spices and tofu prep. I love how it tastes now with the changes I have made!
Non-vegans have tried this, too, and have also really liked it. After my Mom tried one I brought to my brother’s house one year, she requested me to bring this to the next Thanksgiving gathering. In fact, she decided not to serve her traditional main dish at all!
This is really a delicious option for Thanksgiving, and will be sure to impress your guests!
I’m including various photos I’ve taken of the Tofu Turkey & prep over the years, so you can see the process from beginning to end.
Notes on Ingredient Sources:
The Tofu: I use extra-firm tofu I purchase from 99 Ranch, an Asian Market. Cost of tofu varies depending on sales, from $.99=$1.39/pack for 14 oz.
Sesame Oil: I also purchase this from 99 Ranch Market. It is a fraction of the price at my local stores. (If you are oil-free, you could use vegetable broth).
Herbs & Spices: I grow my own fresh sage just for this! It grows well in a pot. You can read my post here on how to save up to 95% on the other spices.
Stuffing: I usually use Pepperidge Farm Stuffing Mix, whatever type I find on a deal. I have used other stuffing mixes, too. Any would work, including homemade.
Mushrooms: I usually buy a variety of these from 99 Ranch, they have a good deal on “special” mushrooms like Oyster Mushrooms.
This makes a large main dish, and leftovers are really tasty, too!
(Adapted from a Veg Web & All Recipes recipe for Tofu Turkey)
- 5 lbs. Extra-Firm Tofu
- 1 lb. Extra-Firm Tofu Optional – for forming legs
- 1/2 c + a few TB Sesame Oil
- 1 Onion, chopped
- 1 cup Mushrooms, chopped (I like to use an asst., including Oyster)
- 4 cloves Fresh Garlic, minced
- 1/3 cup Chopped Fresh Sage, or 1 TB Dry-Rubbed Sage
- 1 tsp Thyme, dry
- 1 tsp Rosemary, dry
- 1/4 c Soy Sauce or Tamari, divided
- 3 cups Herb Stuffing Mix (Pepperidge Farm works well) Note: You may need 2 bags to get 3 cups, the bags vary in size
- 3 TB Orange Juice
- 2 TB Miso
- 2-3 TB Spicy Brown Mustard add more or less depending on how much you like spicy mustard
- Step #1: Pressing the Tofu: After much experimentation, I find this works best for the tofu: Drain well, then process in a food processor with a bit of salt & pepper until no lumps remain. This will take several batches. I then transfer all the tofu to my very large colander, packing it in tightly & smooth out the top., I put a plate on top and large cans on top of that to weigh it down. I add a plate underneath to catch drips. You could line the colander with a cheesecloth 1st, but I usually don't. Let that sit for a couple of hours in the fridge.
- Step #2: The Stuffing: While the tofu is pressing, you can start the stuffing: Saute the onions in a bit of sesame oil or broth until soft, Add the mushrooms, onions, garlic and continue to cook until soft. Add the spices & herbs. Saute for a minute or so. Add the dry stuffing mix, 1/8 c (2 TB) soy sauce, salt & pepper. Cook for a few minutes, add some vegan broth or water if it seems too dry. It will absorb moisture from the turkey, so you don't want it moist. Taste, and adjust seasonings. You may want to add more soy sauce as well.
- Step #3: Forming & Stuffing: Hollow out the pressed tofu to make a cavity for the stuffing, leaving about an inch on the sides and two inches on the bottom. (This will ensure the stuffing is fully encased, without any stuffing coming through.) Now, carefully pack your stuffing in tightly. Add the scooped out tofu back to the top to cover the stuffing completely. Smooth it out making sure all the stuffing is covered. Very carefully, invert this whole thing onto your cooking tray or pan of choice. I use a roasting pan, as I think the sides help it to hold its shape in the oven. If there are any cracks, carefully smooth those areas. Form the optional “legs” now with the 1 lb. of reserved tofu.
- Step #4: Basting: Whisk 1/2 c sesame oil, 1/8 c (2 TB) soy sauce, miso, orange juice and mustard together. Using half this glaze, baste the tofu turkey.
- Step #5: Baking: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cover loosely with foil, and bake at 400 degrees F for 1 hour.
- Step #6: Baking & Glazing in Oven: After an hour, remove from the oven and baste with all but a few TB of the remaining miso-orange glaze. Bake for another hour, uncovered. Check to make sure it’s not getting too brown. If it is, lower the temp. a bit.
- Step #7: Plating & Presentation: I use two large spatulas to transfer to a serving platter. Baste with the remaining glaze. Garnishing with fruit, like grapes and/or other small fruits, and fresh herbs make for a nice presentation. Serve with your favorite gravy. Enjoy! Makes really yummy sandwiches with leftovers, too. Enjoy! <3 Amy at The Penny Pantry
Other traditional vegan Thanksgiving dishes:
Recipes for the gravy, rolls, and other sides can be found HERE
Recipe for My Tofu Pumpkin Pie Recipe can be found HERE
(Picture to the bottom right shows tofu turkey pressing under the cans)
I use an inexpensive baster like this to add the glaze, makes it easy and fun, actually!
This is the Stuffing Mix I usually use: