Monday, November 21, 2011

The Obligatory Post-Holiday Leftover Tofurky Sandwich...

Before I get to the matter at hand I believe this post requires a bit of back story.

On Friday afternoon while doing a little grocery shopping, my husband and I walked past a frozen display case showcasing items that were on sale for the holiday’s. Among them were Tofurky’s 1 pound vegetarian roast, and a carton of their mushroom gravy. I have never before eaten a Tofurky roast, nor had I any interest in doing so. In fact I tend to steer clear of Tofurky products - with the exception of their marinated tempeh bacon which is delicious - because of negative reviews from people I know. However as we stood there staring into the display case I couldn’t help but feel a little curious about the roast. My husband - exuding much more enthusiasm then me - declared "Let’s try it!" and promptly plopped the thing into our cart. At first I was tempted to put it back, but then after a few moments consideration I decided it would make a quick and effortless meal one day this week. Since it is a holiday week which will see me busy with all manner of things but also working more then usual the convenience of this appealed to me. As much as I love to cook, there are just some days where even I want to say "Screw it!" so I grabbed a carton of mushroom gravy too. I figured as long as I was already going down that road why not get both feet wet, you know?

The Sandwich Open Faced

Yesterday after a long and tedious day that began at 4:15am I decided to prepare the roast. I was skeptical about it for sure, not only because of my negative associations with Tofurky but also because I generally do not like meat substitutes. Yet as I began reading the preparation instructions along with their listed suggestions I felt some excitement brewing. Originally I planned only to serve the roast with some mashed potatoes, but the package suggested I roast the Tofurky in a casserole surrounded by chopped carrots, onion, and potatoes. Not only did this sound delicious - I love roasted vegetables - but it was also convenient. I mean who doesn’t love a one pot meal? I took the suggestion to heart added the recommended vegetables along with some minced garlic and their ‘turkey baste’ which was a mixture of olive oil, soy sauce and sage. After later uncovering the roast to let it cook uncovered for the remaining fifteen minutes I also threw in a cup of frozen peas because for some reason I just can’t imagine eating gravy without peas. I love the combination of sweet peas and savory gravy so much I could literally just eat that as a meal!

As the Tofurky roasted the smell that emanated from my oven was surprisingly heavenly and very Thanksgiving like. It got my mouth watering and my creative juices flowing. How could I just roast a simple tofurky without any proper ‘traditional’ sides - I use the word traditional very loosely considering my last post on the matter. - Suddenly I felt in the mood for cranberry sauce, strange since never in my life have I ever liked or desired cranberry sauce. I never ate it growing up, and always adamantly avoided it when it appeared on the holiday table, but I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s not cranberry sauce I dislike but canned cranberry sauce. There is indeed a massive difference, and as a child I’d simply never eaten homemade before. Cranberry sauce is easy enough to make from scratch and doesn’t require a recipe but considering my goal of late I decided to use Alicia Silverstone’s Cranberry Sauce recipe from "The Kind Diet" and it was delicious! To round out the meal - and because I’ve been desperately craving greens lately - I made Isa Chandra Moskowitz’s Stewed and Sauteed Collards from "Appetite for Reduction." Which too were fantastic.

As for the Tofurky? Fantastic! I literally could not believe my tastebuds. The flavor was wonderful, and didn’t have that strange aftertaste I find most meat alternatives have. The texture was also chewy yet soft, very comparable to turkey or rather what I remember turkey to be like. Both my husband and I quite enjoyed it, and came to the mutual conclusion that it might be nice to indulge in a tofurky once a year or so from now on.

Now, to bring this post back to ir’s original intention. The Obligatory Post Holiday Leftover Turkey Sandwich. As I was enjoying my tofurky smothered in mushroom gravy with a generous dollop of cranberry sauce I started to have these memory flashbacks of my childhood.

Look at all that oozy delicious gravy!

I started to recall quite vividly that when I was growing up my Oma, post holiday - would always make for my uncles - and anyone else who wanted one - a special sandwich made up of holiday leftovers. I don’t think this is at all unique to my family but I don’t know many other people who do this. What my Oma would do was take slices of leftover turkey and place it on a piece of bread. Top it with a scoop of leftover stuffing, a dollop of leftover mashed potatoes. Pour onto it some gravy and then slather a second slice of bread with cranberry sauce and press that on top. This would happen after every holiday that featured a turkey dinner. - In Canada, at least for my family that meant Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter. As unlike most Americans we never ate ham or beef roast during the holidays - Now as a child I found this utterly disgusting and I can say with total honesty that I never, ever ate one of these monstrous and grotesque sandwiches. Never had any desire to, the very idea of it made me want to be sick. That is until last night. I mean for whatever reason as I enjoyed my tofurky all I could think about was using the leftovers to make one of those post holiday sandwiches. I don’t know what suddenly prompted this idea, or what fueled my desire for it, but there it is. Isn’t it funny how veganism can change so many things in your life?

So this afternoon when lunchtime rolled around I very excitedly bounced into my kitchen eager to try for the first time ever a post holiday sandwich. I heated the tofurky, a few spoonfuls of mushroom gravy and a scoop of leftover vegetables. Left the cranberry sauce cold though I suppose you could heat that also and then grabbed the wheat bread to assemble. When I finally sat down to take a bite out of my creation it was as if all the goodness of Thanksgiving exploded into my mouth. This sandwich has all the things you love about Thanksgiving rolled up into one big, delicious, decadent treat. My only complaint is that there should have been more stuffing. I suggest if you’re a stuffing lover you make an extra dish of stuffing to serve alongside your tofurky roast, and be sure to leave some extra for your sandwich the following day!

The Obligatory Post-Holiday Leftover Tofurky Sandwich.

2 thin slices roast tofurky
2-3 generous spoonfuls of mushroom gravy
1 scoop of mashed assorted roast vegetables or mashed potatoes
1 generous spoonful of cranberry sauce
2 slices whole what bread
1-2 generous spoonfuls of stuffing of choice (optional if you have any leftover available)

- On a plate heat your tofurky, vegetables and stuffing in the microwave until warmed through but not piping hot. About 1 minute and 30 seconds.

- In separate dish heat your mushroom gravy, until warmed through. About 1 minute.

- Place sliced tofurky on 1 slice of wheat bread. Top with optional stuffing, roasted vegetables or mashed potatoes and then pour gravy over top. Slather the cranberry sauce over the second slice of bread and press on top of the sandwich.

- Slice sandwich in half to make it easier to eat. Caution sandwich will be messy but it’s oh so worth it! Serve with a side salad of mixed greens and enjoy!

PS: This is definitely comfort food not health food, but then what are the holidays about if not comfort? Thanksgiving only comes once a year right, allow yourself to indulge a bit!
PPS: Regrettably I neglected to take pictures of the full Tofurky meal from last night. This has a lot to do with the fact that we ate rather late, and both of us were too hungry to wait for my photo shoot to be over. Appologies for that as I now wish I’d taken photos of every dish to accompany this post, and so you could see what a roasted tofurky looks like - the picture on the box is a little less then appetizing in my opinion - as well as see Alicia’s cranberry sauce and Isa’s Stewed and Sauteed Collards. C’est la Vie! Next time I promise.


  1. My mother made these for my brothers also, always thought they looked and probably tasted GROSS! But your pictures and receipt looks great...very yummy..... didn't ever try a left over sandwich...maybe because I am not the biggest fan of turkey meat, really only do it because my family LOVE it. S.T.

  2. The meal was really good! I knew it'd be good when we bought it. ;) lol I never thought I'd eat a Tofurkey in my life but despite the silly name, the taste was qutie good. - M

  3. Tofurkey has some very tasty deli slices, several are homages to the bird (such as oven roasted and hickory smoked). Even caught one of the furry obligate carnivores enjoying a stray piece. (meow)