One taste of this Tender Roast Tofurkey with Balsamic Caramelized Onions and Tart Dried Cherries and you will have a new Thanksgiving tradition.
I typically try to stick with whole foods as much as possible but this Tofurkey roast was one of those splurge items that really neat to try.
When I was asked to create this recipe and take photos I realized that knew of the Tofurkey name but knew little about the background of the company so I surfed around and found out a bit more. Wow! I love a passionate, family run company.
Turtle Island Foods is the company that creates this roast and this is their very interesting story!
Turtle Island foods was created in 1980 by Seth Tibbot – a teacher and naturalist that lived in a tree house in Oregon that he rented for $25 per month. His first product was tempeh and he focused solely on that for 15 years!
“At Turtle Island Foods, our Tofurky® and tempeh products are created to promote the health and vitality of both the people and the ecosystems of our “island” home. For almost 30 years we have worked to create delicious, nutritious, convenient and affordable vegetarian food that make a difference in people’s lives and have a minimal impact on our environment. We are located in Hood River, Oregon, one hour east of Portland. We make our vegetarian products in small batches using only the finest organic and natural ingredients. No preservatives, MSG or other artificial ingredients are added to our products. All of our products are kosher, vegan, and made with organic soybeans and/or organic tofu. We are a family owned and operated company.”
All of the Turtle Island products are vegan and non-GMO. For ingredients they prefer to use organic tofu and soy instead of soy powders and isolates. They actually smoke their foods in real smoke houses instead of using liquid smoke.
Seth’s family supported him in growing his business so he was finally able to move into a larger facility a few years prior to 1995 – the year that Seth’s company hit it big with the sale of 500 Tofurkey roasts just like the one pictured here and was even featured on the Today Show! His products helped vegetarians that felt left out on Thanksgiving Day.
In 1999 Ellen DeGeneres started promoting the brand and the name “Tofurkey” because of it’s humor factor. Turtle Island believes that year they enjoyed over 1.5 million in free publicity!
Turtle Island Foods is the last independently run, family owned and operated soy food brand in the US. Sadly (but not surprisingly) the other small soy food companies have been picked off by the giants such as Dean Foods, ConAgra, Kraft and others.
WHY are they hanging in there and doing all this? Because they care about your health and the health of animals and the environment. Check out the facts they have listed such as:
If 1/3 of Americans switched from eating one 3 ½-ounce serving of beef, one egg, and a one-ounce serving of cheese each day to a mix of vegetables, fruit, beans, and whole grains:
(United Nations, Food and Agriculture Organization, 2006.)
- Acres of cropland spared: 180 million (an area larger than the state of Texas)
- Tons of pesticides eliminated: 9,375
- Tons of fertilizer eliminated: 2 million
- Tons of manure eliminated*: 570 million (* Livestock manure and flatulence generate 30-40% of total methane emissions from human-influenced activities.)
Ok so we all love knowing about the background of the company – but how does it taste?!
I can officially say I was deliciously surprised. I have tried a few other products that are meant to replicate that texture of meat and have not been impressed; however, with this recipe I was VERY impressed. Not only with the mixture of the flavors with the caramelized onion and dried cherries, but with the texture of the Tofurkey and the taste of the moist wild rice stuffing inside.
I’ll definitely be using the caramelized onion mixture for other types of recipes. It would make a great sandwich topping or maybe over a grain and bean dish – the opportunities are endless!
What is your favorite Vegan holiday item?
For other delicious Thanksgiving recipes try these!
Thanksgiving Bean Burger
Roast Tofurkey with Balsamic Caramelized Onions and Dried Cherries
Reprinted with permission from Turtle Island Foods
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, sliced very thin
1 cup dried sour cherries
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
4 tablespoons apple cider
1 Tofurky roast
** Be sure Tofurkey is thawed in refrigerator for 24 hours before beginning recipe!
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large skillet, heat olive oil on medium heat. Add onion, cherries, brown sugar and vinegar and cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are soft. Stir in mustard and apple cider, and simmer for two more minutes. Place Tofurky roast on sheet of heavy-duty aluminum foil, and spread with the onion mixture. Wrap roast snugly with the foil. Place in roasting pan, and place on center rack of oven. Bake for 45 minutes. Uncover roast for last 10 minutes of baking.
Amount Per Serving
Total Fat 6.6 g
Saturated Fat 0.2 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.1 g
Monounsaturated Fat 1.1 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Sodium 529.0 mg
Potassium 178.1 mg
Total Carbohydrate 35.2 g
Dietary Fiber 3.5 g
Sugars 17.1 g
Protein 26.8 g
Vitamin A 12.6 %
Vitamin B-12 0.0 %
Vitamin B-6 1.6 %
Vitamin C 2.8 %
Vitamin D 0.0 %
Vitamin E 1.1 %
Calcium 16.9 %
Copper 1.3 %
Folate 1.2 %
Iron 11.9 %
Magnesium 0.9 %
Manganese 2.8 %
Niacin 0.2 %
Pantothenic Acid 0.3 %
Phosphorus 1.0 %
Riboflavin 0.4 %
Selenium 0.3 %
Thiamin 0.8 %
Zinc 0.3 %
*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
If you love this recipe you’ll love my cookbook. Create new holiday traditions with me. Click here for more info.