American Wool Series

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Non-Turkey Rundown

After all the talk the past few days about Thanksgiving food and how good or bad it can be, or actually was, I thought I'd give a rundown of Turkey substitutes. This is the time of year where vegetarians usually get short shrift. My first veggie Thanksgiving, 12 years ago, I had dry vegetarian meatballs, no-gravy potatoes since there was turkey in the gravy, rolls, and green beans. My pie consumption made up for the lack of a tasty main dish but it was disappointing nonetheless. Since then I've tasted most meat analogs (appetizing descriptor, no?) and I've definitely got my likes and dislikes.

Tofurkey - the most famous to non-veggies and perhaps the least appetizing. It's got a tough "skin" on the outside and is rubbery and flavorless on the inside. Not too bad if you have absolutely no alternative.

Field Roast - Local to Seattle, and perhaps hard to find elsewhere, this comes in medium sausage-like packaging or a larger "celebration roast" portion. Made from a blend of grains and legumes, it has a nice texture and flavor. This one is best steamed on the stove top rather than baked since it can dry out quickly. It is also available in sandwich slices and regular sausages (we like the ones with fennel).

Quorn Turk'y Roast - My absolute favorite. You can find it in the freezer section and it comes in a fat sausage shape. This one has the best texture and flavor. It's made from mycoprotein which is derived, somehow, from mushrooms. It's also soy-free. It can go straight from the freezer into a hot oven and is done in about 45 minutes. My Goth ex-roomates, all voracious meat eaters, loved this and declared it "Just as good as turkey". This brand also carries cutlets, chik'n pieces, ground "beef" and a whole lot more.

I think those are the most common ones I see in my supermarket although there are probably more out there. Sadly, most all contain gluten, soy, or eggs or a combination of those ingredients so it's hard to find one for people with food allergies. Family gatherings can be difficult in more ways than just the food, I've found that telling my hosts waaay beforehand that I'm a vegetarian allows for menu mediation and I always offer to bring my own main dish and gravy. It relieves some of the stress from the host and I know I can at least eat something if not everything on the table.

I've got a kick-ass gravy recipe that I'll share in another post. It's gluten-free, lactose-free, and super duper tasty!

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