Vegan Tofu Turkey ( Tofurkey )

By DK on Nov 18, 2009
Vegan Tofu Turkey (tofurky) Recipe
This is the closest I am going to get, as far as cooking and eating meat goes. A shocked husband and a helpful (American) neighbor's advice on how to carve this "bird of mine", was enough to make this a big success for me. It took a whole 5 minute of prodding and smelling by the husband to finally convince himself that this was indeed TOFU! Tastes wise, not knowing how a Turkey originally tastes like, I would still maintain that this was flavorful and appetizing.
Vegan Tofu Turkey (tofurkey) Recipe

You might enjoy reading:
30 Delicious Recipes for Vegetarian Thanksgiving
Is Tofurky (Tofu turkey) Healthy?
Is Tofurky Gluten Free?

But when you are making it, just add flavors as per your tastes or how you would normally prepare yours. Tofu will absorb more flavor if you let it sit along with seasonings. Tofu is a common ingredient that I use often for its protein. With this being the case, it was inevitable I get curious about Tofu Turkey or Tofurkey. I have followed this recipe from Vegetarian times.
Vegan Tofu Turkey (tofurky) Recipe
I changed the technique and few ingredients to suit my palate and comfort zone. I absolutely LOVED the stuffing. I usually don't like to mix savory and sweet ingredients, but I loved this one so much so that I almost finished 1/4 of the stuffing before I even got to stuffing. This recipe is Vegan, Diary Free, Gluten Free, Egg free but absolutely NOT flavor free ;)
References

recipe adapted from vegetarian times (website) and the stuffing from the magazine.

Basic Information
Prep Time: 8 hours to 1 day
Cook Time: 1 to 2 hours
Serves: 6 people
Ingredients
  • For the Tofu Turkey
  • 5 14-oz. tubs extra-firm tofu
  • 2 tsp. ground dried thyme
  • 2 tsp. rubbed sage
  • 1 tsp. onion powder
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • about 1 tsp orange zest (optional)
  • salt and pepper to taste ( if you want to use vegan bouillon powder, skip the salt)
  • For the Marinade
  • 1/4 -1/2 cups low sodium tamari or gluten free soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp orange juice
  • 1/2 tsp sesame oil
  • For the stuffing - approximate measurements, use as per taste ( original recipe in VT 35th anniversary issue, Or use your own stuffing of choice)
  • about 4 cups of gluten free bread cubes ( or use oatmeal or whole wheat bread cubes)
  • 1/2 cup almonds, coarsely chopped and toasted
  • 1 small-medium red onion
  • 1 celery stick
  • 1 apple, peeled and diced ( i kept the peel)
  • 1/2 tbsp fresh sage, cut into thin strips
  • 1/2 tbsp chopped cilantro or parsley
  • 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper
  • 1/4 tsp ground peppercorns
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1/2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cups dried cherries
  • 1/2 cup no-salt vegetable broth or water
Method
1
Method ( Tofu Turkey - Previous night Bring the tofu to room temperature. Squeeze tofu of excess water and take small bits and place them in a processor.
Vegan Tofu Turkey (tofurky) Recipe
2
Process them little by little until smooth.
Vegan Tofu Turkey (tofurky) Recipe
3
Place them in a large bowl and mix all the seasoning. You can at this point even taste the tofu and add more seasoning or flavor to make sure it does not taste real bland.
Vegan Tofu Turkey (tofurky) Recipe
4
Wet cheesecloth, wring it out and smoothly line a colander with it—no wrinkles.
Vegan Tofu Turkey (tofurky) Recipe
5
Drop the tofu inside the colander and press it into the sides and bottom of the colander.
Vegan Tofu Turkey (tofurky) Recipe
6
Place this colander on a plate. Bring the hanging cheesecloth on the sides into the center to cover the tofu.
Vegan Tofu Turkey (tofurky) Recipe
7
Now place a plate right on top of the tofu and give it a slight press. Use a heavy object to place on top of the plate. This is to help the tofu drain excess water through the colander. Place this inside the refrigerator overnight (ideal time). This helps the tofu to absorb the seasoning well too.
Vegan Tofu Turkey (tofurky) Recipe
8
Method (On day of making the tofu turkey) - For the Stuffing I eyeballed most of the ingredients, so use your discretion when preparing them. Place the cubed bread cubes on a baking sheet and bake them in a preheated 225F oven for 20-30 minutes or until dry and crisp.
Vegan Tofu Turkey (tofurky) Recipe
9
Meanwhile, heat a skillet. Add about 1 tsp oil and saute the onions and cook for 3-4 minutes or until soft. Add celery and saute for 2 minutes more.
Vegan Tofu Turkey (tofurky) Recipe
10
Stir in the apples along with other seasonings. Cook for 5 minutes. Add maple syrup and the vinegar and remove from heat.
Vegan Tofu Turkey (tofurky) Recipe
11
Combine the bread cubes along with apple mixture. Stir in almonds and dried cherries. Transfer to a greased baking sheet and pour broth over the top. Cover with foil and bake for 20-30 minutes or until the stuffing begins to brown on top. You can make a crisp filling by removing the foil and baking for 10 minutes more.
Vegan Tofu Turkey (tofurky) Recipe
12
Method - For the Marinade Mix all the ingredients for the under the marinade until combined.
Vegan Tofu Turkey (tofurky) Recipe
13
Method - For the Assembly Preheat oven to 375F. Drain the Tofu water from the plate on which you placed the colander.
Vegan Tofu Turkey (tofurky) Recipe
14
Remove weight and plate from colander.
Vegan Tofu Turkey (tofurky) Recipe
15
Now scoop some tofu from the center. Make sure to leave at least 1-2 inches on the sides and bottom.
Vegan Tofu Turkey (tofurky) Recipe
16
Now fill this hollow with the stuffing.
Vegan Tofu Turkey (tofurky) Recipe
17
Now top the stuffing with the scooped out tofu.
Vegan Tofu Turkey (tofurky) Recipe
18
Make sure to smooth the surface and level it out.
Vegan Tofu Turkey (tofurky) Recipe
19
Place a large oven to table baking sheet (I used a pie plate large enough to cover the colander opening) on top of the colander.
Vegan Tofu Turkey (tofurky) Recipe
20
Hold tightly, and slowly invert colander onto the plate so that tofu-turkey drops gently onto dish.
Vegan Tofu Turkey (tofurky) Recipe
21
Now slowly remove the cheesecloth from the tofu.
Vegan Tofu Turkey (tofurky) Recipe
22
Can you see the white dome now?
Vegan Tofu Turkey (tofurky) Recipe
23
Baste the tofu turkey with the prepared marinade.
Vegan Tofu Turkey (tofurky) Recipe
24
Bake for 15 minutes.
Vegan Tofu Turkey (tofurky) Recipe
25
Baste again. reduce the heat to 350F and bake for another 1 hour, basting as many times it strikes your fancy.
Vegan Tofu Turkey (tofurky) Recipe
26

Once baked, you see a beautifully crisped tofu surface.

Vegan Tofu Turkey (tofurky) Recipe
The most amazing after effects of this meal with striking similarities to the real thing -
1) We felt full in matter of minutes. The tofu protein did it.
2) The crust was crispy and meaty inside. The stuffing added amazing combo to the tofu. A few bites of the orange and apple in the middle (which I placed as a garnish) also went v well with this tofurkey.
3) We had LEFTOVERS and lots of them Vegan Tofu Turkey (tofurky) Recipe
4 members have made this recipe!
Did you make this recipe?
Please click below to share your experiences while you were making this recipe. Thanks for your input!
53 Responses to “Vegan Tofu Turkey ( Tofurkey )”
  1. annie

    I have been researching some vegan recipes, and came across yours.. Sounds wonderful can’t wait to try it.. My question is this… Would you have any Nutrition Facts on this tofu turkey?? I am a diabetic so I not only count calories but I have to also count the Carbs.. Any info. you may have would be great and help me in planing for this recipe.. Thanks so much for your time and help.. :)

  2. Rob

    My “turkey” is sifting in the fridge, so I can’t yet say how this will turn out. But what’s up with the spice measurements? You can’t taste only 2 TEAspoons of whatever spices were mentioned in the sea of tofu that is 5x14oz oz. I emptied HALF a spice jar of each in to my turkey dough to make it taste just a little. Hopefully the spices will have manifested more overnight!

    The flavors do show themselves once they sit with the tofu. But then again as I mention it already in the post, our flavor profiles def. needn’t match and if you prefer with more seasoning, def. go for additional spices. This is simply to show that making a tofu turkey perfectly acceptable to your taste (and being preservative, sodium and all the additional additives free) is possible :) –DK

  3. Hayden

    I made this last year at Christmas, as well as a turkey for my non-vegetarian brothers and kids, and it turned out pretty good. Even my brothers tried it and were impressed. Like anything, it takes a few tries, so I’ve tweaked it a little for today. One of the most important points is draining the tofu overnight. Draining tofu is key to getting it to work in any recipe. Looking forward to trying it again!

  4. Freakn Vegan

    Great recipe I have been making a similar tofu dish for years at thanksgiving yet calling it “Cornucopia” the horn of plenty! Instead of shaping in a bowl and cutting out center for stuffing, I lay a 1″ layer of seasoned tofu on a baking-serving pan in the shape of a horn. Then shape the stuffing over the tofu base layer . Once this is in place I place 1″ layer of tofu over stuffing giving it ribs like a horn of plenty image, sometimes pressing cranberries into the ribs . I now place in
    oven under a foil hood, baking & basting as you recommend . Once baked on the wide end I press in assorted miniature vegi; purple & white small potatoes, miniature corn, pearled onions
    ect… And garnish the out side of the Cornucopia with a plenthia of assorted veggi as in the horn
    of plenty and return to the oven to brown tofu . Let’s take turkey karma out of our giving thanks !

  5. Freakn Vegan

    Great recipe I have been making a similar tofu dish for years at thanksgiving yet calling it “Cornucopia” the horn of plenty! Instead of shaping in a bowl and cutting out center for stuffing, I lay a 1″ layer of seasoned tofu on a baking-serving pan in the shape of a horn. Then shape the stuffing over the tofu base layer . Once this is in place I place 1″ layer of tofu over stuffing giving it ribs like a horn of plenty image, sometimes pressing cranberries into the ribs . I now place in oven under a foil hood, baking & basting as you recommend . Once baked on the wide end I press in assorted miniature vegi; purple & white small potatoes, miniature corn, pearled onions ect… And garnish the out side of the Cornucopia with a plenthia of assorted veggi as in the horn
    of plenty and return to the oven to brown tofu . Let’s take turkey karma out of our giving thanks !

  6. linda

    Comfort Food: I’ve made this wonderful recipe for 31 years. Looking for the answer to the worst day in the year for vegetarians, I found this recipe for tofu turkey in the old EastWest Journal. All your recipe needs is mushroom gravy! I make 2 tofu turkeys and freeze them. One is for Thanksgiving, one for Christmas. Seeking all the trappings of conventional Thanksgivings without killing a bird, the tofu turkey needs to defrost right on time, like turkeys do. Basting is like the conventional ritual. Oh, and add lots of rubbed sage in the stuffing to make the house smell amazing. Here’s a tip: use an insane amount of “poultry” spice plus extra sage in the stuffing. Then, dump lots of Shoyu or Bragg’s Aminos into the stuffing. It will taste ridiculously strong before it bakes, but the flavors are absorbed by the tofu. Just like the conventional family cook hopes that the bird is not dry, we watch to see whether or not the tofu turkey cracks on top – every year my now grown kids have fun with that. Cracks mean good luck, I tell them. Cracked or not, it’s still delicious. My curried onions side dish causes that sleepiness afterward. Our tofu turkey is much deeper than yours – it takes 10-12 pounds of tofu per colander. My basting recipe is just Shoyu and Olive Oil. After two hours, my son takes the tofu turkey out of the over. All four of them stand at the ready with their spatulas to work in concert to lift my masterpiece off the tray and onto the serving platter. Lots of pictures are taken and then … dinner is served! Thanksgiving is the best day of the year for my vegetarian family!

    EVery bit of your suggestion sounds HEAVENLY! Thank you..cant wait to try it out. –DK

  7. Miranda

    I just made this for the 3rd time and every time it just falls completly flat and cracks on the top and doesn’t look anything like yours. What am I doing wrong?

  8. Tofurkey lover

    One thing you can do is add more poultry seasoning or vegan Worcestershire sauce to the first tofu step. Something else I do is take dried wild mushrooms and grind them in a spice grinder (or cheap coffee bean grinder ) and add this to the tofu mixture.

  9. Lisa

    I just prepared the tofu. Before placing it the fridge I tasted a bit of it and it was seasoned just right. Like you said use your own judgement on the seasoning and I did. I do not eat tofu but my stepdaughter is a vegeterian and I wanted to make this for her. Tks for recipe I’m sure it will turn out wonderful! Merry Christmas!

  10. Alicia

    :-D I doubled the fresh herbs, used 1.5 tsp Sea Salt and halved the tofu to make a 5lb chicken sized Tofurkey: fabulous, not over-herbed or salt overload. I used Meyer Lemon juice in place of orange in the marinade. For the stuffing, I made a full recipe, because I wanted to save half to bake crispy on the side and quadrupled the sage, didn’t want the sweetness of the cherries (I’m a very savory person). I also olive-oiled my cast iron oval dish before inverting the tofu mixture into it, then scooped out to leave about 1.5″ thickness on the sides, added the stuffing, applied the scooped-out tofu like thick frosting on top and used a butter knife to sculpt a leaf motif to catch the marinade, which I drizzeled to fill the depressions of the leaf design, then lightly brushed the rest to cover all exposed sides. NOTE: Make any design on the top before you put the Tofurkey in the oven, while the mixture is at its creamiest, because the tofu becomes crumbly even after only 15 minutes. FABULOUS, FABULOUS RECIPE with the extra seasoning I did. I will make this whenever I have Turkey, just so the meat eaters have a chance to try this special treat that they never would try without having the security of a real Turkey there along side it; it’s really like a fancy stuffing, side dish for them. One could even make portion size balls in ramekins for each guest. Thank you so very much for this recipe!

  11. I am making this for my bf and I tomorrow. I was about to buy the ready made tofurkey, but this recipe seems very easy :)

  12. Cindy

    I made this for last years Thanksgiving and was a big hit. My husband is asking for it again this year. I added more seasoning, because it was a little bland when I was preparing it.

  13. Does anyone know if this recipe can be kept (prepared ahead) a few days in the refrigerator or in the freezer? I want to make this for Thanksgiving, but I am working the day of and the day before. Will be challenging for me to complete this in the time fashion you described.

  14. Becky

    Wonderfully guided and impressive looking recipe! I am in the process of searching for an easy-to-make vegan, gluten-free turkey for next week. I may give this one a try. As with anything tofu it is ALL how you flavor it, so tasting while prepping is the key. Thanks for the hard work entering this! :-P

  15. twinkiequeen

    sorry..but i did not like this…the stuffing was fine, but my hsb. and i both thought the “turkey” was bland and flavorless…thank heavens for gravy!

    Oh its totally OK. We all have different tastes and preferences. Next time you can add in more flavoring to the “turkey”. –DK

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