For vegetarians, the Thanksgiving meal is usually a smattering of side dishes: sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, corn, cranberry sauce and if you're lucky, meat-free stuffing. However, some veg-heads want to gobble like their carnivorous tablemates, which is why a soy product like Tofurky is a tempting choice. But how does it taste?
The Outpost in Bay View, 2826 S. Kinnickinnic Ave., donated a Tofurky to help us decide, and we cooked up a pre-Thanksgiving, vegetarian feast to get the skinny on soy turkey.
The vegan roast is a little smaller and rounder than a football and filled with stuffing. The lack of preparation is appealing -- no need to wake at 5 a.m. to run the almost-thawed bird under warm water -- just pop it in a 300 degree oven for two hours.
The box copy recommends basting it in an orange juice, soy sauce and brown sugar mixture and to serve it with gravy.
The Tofurky, in general, is nothing like the real deal in appearance, texture or taste. The texture is spongy and more like a soy hot dog or sausage with different seasonings. Also, it tastes bland unless you baste the faux bird. Also, we slathered olive oil and rosemary atop the "skin" 15 minutes before the cook time was complete for extra, much-needed moisture.
The stuffing inside the Tofurky was very good, especially after we added a few spices of our own.
Although visually the Tofurkey is an oblong oddity, it adds a main course to a meat-free meal. At the Outpost, the 3.5-pound Tofurky is $17.99 for the "feast" that includes the roast, gravy, dressing and a fake wishbone, and the 26-ounce Tofurky comes without the extras and costs $8.79.
"Tofurky is a great alternative that really helps Thanksgiving feel traditional, even for those folks who choose to skip the poultry," says Lisa Malmarowki, director of brand and store development for Outpost.
The bottom line on soy turkey is not to compare it to real turkey. It's like comparing apple and pumpkin pie. Meat eaters may find novelty in the idea of a meat-free turkey or feel drawn to the idea of healthier eating, but probably won't switch on taste factor alone.
Molly Snyder started writing and publishing her work at the age 10, when her community newspaper printed her poem, "The Unicorn.” Since then, she's expanded beyond the subject of mythical creatures and written in many different mediums but, nearest and dearest to her heart, thousands of articles for OnMilwaukee.
Molly is a regular contributor to FOX6 News and numerous radio stations as well as the co-host of "Dandelions: A Podcast For Women.” She's received five Milwaukee Press Club Awards, served as the Pfister Narrator and is the Wisconsin State Fair’s Celebrity Cream Puff Eating Champion of 2019.