Replace the Thanksgiving Turkey with What?

As Thanksgiving fast approaches, I’m finding that a lot of people are asking the same question: If we ditch the turkey this year, what do we replace it with? Since turkey is traditionally the centerpiece of the Thanksgiving meal, its replacement obviously carries a lot of weight! That’s why we’ve sought out some of the best and most satisfying vegetarian substitutes for turkey we could find.

First of all, begin by asking yourself one fundamental question: How many people do you know even really like turkey meat? Most of my family, which I think is very representative of most Americans, don’t actually enjoy preparing or eating turkey! Some say it tastes wild and “gamy.” Others say it’s too savory, pumped up with flavorings and juices. Still others say it’s dry as shoe leather. And the dark meat will always be met with scowls at the table. So why do we even bother, you might ask?

Let’s face it. A whole roasted turkey ends up being largely wasted with only the breast meat consumed. This was a life that could have been easily spared had we put a little more thought into the meal plan. Still, many feel that the tradition itself compels them to put a whole turkey on the table. I say let’s start a new tradition! Some traditions are meant to be scrapped, like bullfighting, for example. Spain has just recently banned the cruel, age-old sport in many provinces.

But back to Thanksgiving. Try starting your culinary journey at The New York Times Well blog which is adding new gourmet vegetarian recipes daily that are sure to impress your guests (carnivores and vegetarians alike). These recipes will require some skill and preparation as will those we found at Epicurious. And if you’re looking for a celebrity chef who can inspire you with haute vegan cuisine, check out Chef Tal who has a new cookbook out called The Conscious Cook.

For the less adventurous cooks who would rather spend their time entertaining guests, go the easy route and buy a vegan stuffed “turky” roast, ready to stick in the oven. The Tofurky brand carries a whole line of these roasts and are perhaps the easiest to find in supermarkets. But popular doesn’t always mean best. Some aficionados swear by Gardein‘s Turky available in Whole Foods Market.

Now that you’ve got the main entree down,  just ask all your guests to bring their favorite side. And, viola, your Thanksgiving meal is complete!

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