If you have just turned vegan and Thanksgiving is around the corner, it could be a real struggle for you. Turkey is the traditional Thanksgiving food that you may have enjoyed all your life. However, now that you are following a vegan food habit, you may be asking – is turkey vegan?
No Thanksgiving family dinner would be complete without a turkey dish.
However, turkey meat is not vegan, and you will need to find an alternative.
The most important thing is that the health and taste preferences cannot be ignored when you opt for a vegan alternative for turkey meat. Vegans go through many dietary restrictions, but that does not mean they cannot enjoy their family traditions. Even though there are many other vegan dishes that you could enjoy during Thanksgiving, craving something more meat-based is possible.
If such a scenario occurs, do not stress since there is an alternative food item that you could enjoy when craving meat.
Vegan Alternative For Turkey
Finding a good and tasty vegan alternative for turkey meat is essential for enhancing your Thanksgiving spirit. Tofurkey is a great vegan alternative that is not just tasty but also very healthy. This is faux meat that has been sold since the 1980s.
One of the best Tofurkey products is from the brand Tofurky. However, there are other brands in current times which sell this faux meat product.
The ingredients used in the production of Tofurkey may vary according to the brand. However, two common ingredients used are tofu and wheat gluten for the loaf. This turkey alternative comes with ready stuffing, and that is where the difference exists.
While some brands might add onion and celery for their stuffing, others might use different organic vegetables. However, preservatives and salt seasoning are present in all these products.
If you are worried about the ingredients used in the stuffing, then you can quickly inspect the package. Since Tofurkey is a vegan alternative, the brand generally goes for organic vegetables in the filling.
Nutritional Comparison Of Turkey And Tofurkey
Telling the difference between turkey and Tofurkey can be done by one look. However, the nutritional value of both these products is not too different from each other. In the protein aspect, both turkey and Tofurkey have similar values.
In a five-ounce serving of Tofurkey, you will find 34g protein. On the other hand, turkey meat, especially turkey breast, contains 42g of protein. Though the amount of protein derived from Tofurkey is lesser than turkey, it is not a negative aspect.
The protein in Tofurkey is derived from tofu which is a complete source of protein. Additionally, tofu contains the necessary amino acids that would benefit our body. The calorie count is also mostly similar for these products.
In a five-ounce service, Tofurkey contains about 209 calories while Turkey contains 290 calories. The main difference in the nutritional profile is found in the carbs. Turkey lacks any carbs, while the net carbs present in Tofurkey is 17g.
Jessica Gavin, a known culinary scientist, states that the zero grams of carbs found in turkey and low-fat levels exclude the stuffing. The stuffing is filled with heavy carbs and is eaten in large amounts.
Tofurkey contains 10g fat, while turkey contains 3g but without the stuffing. One great benefit of Tofurkey is the presence of extra fiber.
There are 5g of fiber present in Tofurkey, while turkey lacks any extra fiber.
Health Benefits Of Tofurkey
Faux turkeys are filled with many nutritional elements that make them a good alternative. Since they have soy content, there is a high protein level. Along with that, the absence of trans fat makes it a healthy choice for vegans.
Tofu is a source of minerals and vitamins like folate, selenium, calcium, and magnesium. When talking about the health benefits, you need to remember that it is made from wheat gluten which contains carbs.
Many nutritionists prefer Tofurkey to be seasonal food and not for regular consumption. This is because store-bought Tofurkey can contain sodium and processed ingredients that make it a less healthy product than actual turkey meat.
One way to maintain the health benefits of Tofurkey is to make it at home. You can find the perfect Tofurkey recipe on many sites and add this to your Thanksgiving cooking list. This gives you the freedom to choose your organic stuffing and to play around with taste and flavor.
One thing that people remain concerned about when looking for turkey alternatives is the taste. People who have been vegans since the early stages of their lives will not be able to feel the difference.
However, if you were a meat-eater earlier and have recently shifted to veganism, you would know that taste plays an important role.
Store-bought Tofurkey is said to be slightly bland in taste when compared to the original meat. However, this also varies according to the brand that you are opting for. If you are not sure about the taste of store-bought Tofurkey, you can make one at home.
Making Tofurkey at home gives you the freedom to add different flavors to the product. You can enjoy your Thanksgiving dinner without having to eat bland and tasteless food. You can experiment with the stuffing and also make some alterations to the tofu and wheat gluten loaf.
The stuffing is what makes a major difference to the taste of the Tofurkey. When you make a good stuffing, you will not have to worry about the Tofurkey tasting bad or less flavorful than real turkey meat.
One great option would be to stuff your Tofurkey with wild rice and make gravy alongside it. For making a lip-smacking Tofurkey dish, check out the different stuffing options.
Other Alternatives To Turkey
Nutritionists are not always in favor of store-bought Tofurkey, but a homemade one might be a completely different story. However, many people might not be comfortable with the idea of making Tofurkey.
It is a better and healthier choice to go for other alternatives than Tofurkey in such a scenario.
Below are some of the common and healthy vegan alternatives you could use instead of turkey or Tofurkey.
Gardein Stuffed Holiday Roast
Gardein is a brand that manufactures mock meats like stuffed savory turkey. This is a vegan dish that is filled with cranberry rice dressing inside a faux turkey roll. This roll is made from bread and is said to be a boneless turkey dish.
When you cut the rolls, it seems like a turkey breast with a filling. This package is also available with gravy. The whole holiday roast package is enough to feed seven to eight people for Thanksgiving.
Vegan Whole Turkey
What better way to enjoy a Thanksgiving family dinner than to have a whole turkey on your table? However, the turkey should be vegan and follow all your dietary rules. You can find many brands providing whole faux turkeys made from non-GMO soy protein.
The color and shape of the faux turkey are precisely similar to a real turkey. When you make slices, you can feel the fake meat being moist and firm. This faux turkey is available with gravy and stuffing. However, you can also opt for your stuffing and gravy.
You may find the whole vegan turkey to be in the pricier range, but it is enough to feed about 10 to 16 guests. You will find different sizes of this product and would require about an hour to warm up. Except for the stuffing, the faux turkey will come cooked.
Harvest Celebration Field Roast
The company provides turkey alternatives for both meat-eaters and vegans. However, here we will mention the vegan product from this brand. It is a flavorful turkey-like roast that contains stuffing of apples, herbs, and mushrooms.
It is a one-pound role that can feed about five people. You can use this roll when you are having a small gathering or even as a snack option. Each ingredient used in the vegan version is natural and does not contain soy.
Thanksgiving is a fun-filled but stressful time of the year, especially if you have to prepare a meal for your family and friends. If you or any of your guests follow the vegan food style, you need to be very cautious about what you are making.
Finding a suitable alternative is not enough; you need to ensure it contains proper nutritional elements and is tasty. If you are opting for Tofurkey, then buying from a good brand might be a wise decision.
If you want to find other alternatives, then you can check out some amazing recipes. The main motive here is not to miss out on the taste, and nutritional value should be similar or better than the real turkey meat.
You can make many interesting vegan dishes at home which will fit perfectly with your dietary requirements.