Stuffed Tofu Turkey
Nov 21, 2016 | by Lisa Reynoso
Thanksgiving is synonymous with turkey in many minds. What’s a plant-based vegetarian to do? Make a tofu turkey, of course! And this one is so easy–don’t be fooled by the long list of steps. When we demoed it at the Natural Grocers in Clackamas, the class participants were amazed at how easy it was to make. Just be sure to start it early in the morning, or better yet, the night before, because the pressing step is very important! (The recipe halves well if you want a smaller amount.)
4 16-oz. tubs extra-firm tofu
2 tsp. ground dried thyme
2 tsp. rubbed sage
1 tsp. onion powder
several dashes of herb salt such as Herbamare(optional)
2 6-oz. pkg. vegetarian stuffing
¼ to ½ cup low-sodium tamari or soy sauce
2 Tbs. tahini
¼ cup water
The several hours before:
1. Let 3 tubs of tofu come to room temperature (so your fingers don’t freeze). Squeeze tofu into small bits with your hands, mixing in thyme, sage and onion powder as you squeeze. Add herb salt for extra flavor, if desired. This is fun. Good job for kids.
2. Wet cheesecloth, wring it out and smoothly line colander with it—no wrinkles. Dump in the crumbled tofu, and press it into sides and bottom of colander, making a bowl within a bowl. The “tofu bowl” should be about 1-inch thick and almost reach the top of the colander.
3. Hunt around, and find a bowl that will fit perfectly inside the tofu bowl. Gently press it into the colander. It will make an expressive sound. Dig through your pantry, and find something heavy (can of peaches?) to press the bowl into the tofu bowl to help tofu drain.
4. Tuck corners of cheesecloth over top of tofu to keep edges from drying out. Stand the colander/cheesecloth/tofu/bowl/weight construction in a dish to catch liquid. Refrigerate overnight or at least several hours.
After it has drained well:
1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
2. Prepare stuffing according to package directions. Remove weight and bowl from colander. Fill tofu hollow with stuffing. Crumble remaining tofu, and use to cover stuffing, pressing flat to edges of colander.
3. Find a large oven-to-table baking dish. Place dish over colander. Hold tightly, invert colander so tofu-turkey drops gently onto dish. Peel off cheesecloth.
4. Whisk together tamari, tahini, and water, and baste tofu-turkey with brush (a spoon works too, but a silicon brush is nicer). Bake 15 minutes. Baste again. Reduce oven to 350F, and bake 1 hour, basting as inspired.
5. To serve, cut once across the middle and then into slabs about 1 & 1/2-inches thick. The turkeys thank you.
Chef’s note: Garnish around the turkey with extra dressing for a nice touch.