Four Turkey-free Main Course Options for a Plant-based Holiday

‘Tis the season to skip the turkey and choose an animal-free main course instead! It’s 2021, after all. Plus, isn’t it all about the sides?! Dressing, gravy, mashed potatoes, brussel sprouts, cranberries, yam casserole. The list could go on! Does anyone really get excited about bland turkey meat, anyways?

To help you choose the most delicious plant-based main course this season, we put four store-bought vegan roasts to the test: Sol Cuisine’s stuffed turk’y roast with gravy, The Very Good Butchers’ stuffed beast, Gardein’s stuffed turk’y and Tofurkey’s plant-based roast (we tried finding Field Roast’s Celebration Roast but no luck — seems like a difficult one to come across).

The Plant-based Turkey & Roast Line-up

Here are a few product details, including where to buy, price points, ingredient info and size. Scroll down for our taste test results!

  1. Sol Cuisine’s Stuffed Turk’y Roast with GravyWhere to buy (we found it at Choices Market), average price: $17, size: 907g, allergens: soy/wheat, main ingredients: water, soy and wheat gluten.
  2. The Very Good Butchers’s Stuffed BeastWhere to buy (we found it at Nesters Food Market), average price: $37, size: 1400g, allergens: gluten/wheat/oats, main ingredients: sourdough bread, vital wheat gluten.
  3. Gardein’s Stuffed Turk’yWhere to buy (we found it at Buy Low and Choices Market), average price: $10, size: 454g, allergens: soy/wheat, main ingredients: flour, soy and wheat gluten.
  4. Tofurkey’s Plant-based RoastWhere to buy, average price: $22, size: 736g, allergens: soy/wheat, main ingredients: wheat gluten, water and organic tofu.

Taste Test Results

First of all, it was a tight race and was difficult to declare a winner — we are lucky to have a lot of great options at supermarkets here in Vancouver! That said, The Very Good Butchers’ Stuffed Beast did stand out, possibly thanks to its stuffing made with sourdough bread…or the buttery basting…yum. Therefore, I have declared it our winner! But, there is some grey area because the Sol Cuisine and Gardein options come with gravy packets (which are delicious!) and didn’t include the gravies in my taste tasting. I felt it would be fair to judge the flavor of each product in its ‘naked’ state. Also, the gravy would be a dead giveaway as to which product we were tasting. That said, after I removed my blind-fold and tried the Gardein and Sol Cuisine with the gravies, I was blown away! The Very Good Butcher’s option is quite large (and pricier than Gardein and Sol Cuisine), so if you’re buying for one to five people, I’d recommend Gardein or Sol. My least favourite of the options was the Tofurkey Roast. I wasn’t a fan of the wild rice stuffing nor the basting which includes soy sauce — it’s also quite chewy. Overall, it felt very stereotypically “vegan” to me. I didn’t ‘strongly dislike’ it though — so if it’s an option for you, give it a try!

One thing that I realized during the tasting is that non-vegan turkey meat is quite bland and that these plant-based products are trying to mimic turkey. They are not ‘bursting with flavour’ (nor should they be). Without the gravy, I wasn’t really blown away by any of the options. Turkey meat doesn’t blow people away with its flavour either! I think that by replacing the turkey with a vegan option, we’re replacing the empty space on the plate, the texture of turkey and basically creating a vessel for the gravy.

Another takeaway from this experience is that if I had to choose, I’d probably choose to have a vegan wellington as my holiday main course instead of a turkey or roast replacement. I love that a Wellington is its own thing — it’s not trying to replicate anything and therefore can’t cause disappointment when being compared. Also, who doesn’t love a flaky, pastry-wrapped main course?

I hope this helps and thank you for helping save a turkey’s life this holiday season!!! They really are sweetest, most personality-filled birds!! If you haven’t met one, I highly recommend scheduling a visit to The Happy Herd of Kindred Farm Sanctuary asap to meet their resident turkeys. I bet you’ll be surprised by how quirky and flirty they are! Happy holidays!