Words cannot express my gratitude to Tofurky. I first became vegan October of 2011. I was inundated with changes: things I’d always eaten were suddenly off the menu and I had to learn about substitutions fast. The biggest challenge was facing my first veg Thanksgiving. Turkey? No. Green bean casserole? No. Mashed Potatoes and Gravy? Okay, but no milk or butter. There were times I felt overwhelmed but I stuck with it and Tofurky’s Vegetarian Feast got me through not only that Thanksgiving, but subsequent Thanksgivings. Once I knew I had a go-to holiday staple, I began branching out.
Two Thanksgivings ago I purchased not only a Tofurky roast but Field Roast’s Hazelnut Cranberry Roast En Croute. I enjoyed the roast, especially the puff pastry, and would eat it again despite finding it a tad rich. This last Thanksgiving, I purchased my can’t-do-without Tofurky roast and looked for something new to try. There, in the freezer section, I found Gardein’s Holiday Roast. I was, perhaps, more excited than the discovery warranted. My exclamation of delight brought surprised looks from fellow shoppers. Allow me to explain.
Gardein is another brand that helped me make the transition into veganism. There were aspects of the transition that weren’t at all difficult. Once I gave up eating eggs I realized I’d never liked them and the only way I’d been able to choke them down was with hot sauce and far more salt than was good for me. Cheese was a bit more difficult but not impossible. I’d never been a big fan of slabs of meat on my plate so beef and pork weren’t missed. I’d never liked Salmon and, once I’d started purging all other forms of fish from my diet, I found I’d never liked fish either. This was a big surprise for me. I’d been a sushi lover for years and finally realized it was the rice and wasabi I liked. I find vegetarian rolls much more satisfying nowadays. And so, my transition to veganism would have been smooth but for one item. Chicken.
Chicken was a staple of my diet. I cooked it at home, ate it when I went out, and loved-absolutely loved-buffalo chicken. The hotter the better. I didn’t know how to make a meal without chicken and couldn’t imagine how beans, grains, and tofu were going to be a satisfying substitution. A few years under my vegan belt have shown me how amazing these plant-based meals are and I eat a lot less fake meats but Gardein got me over the hump. Packages of Chik’n fingers (especially the chipotle lime), Mandarin Orange Chik’n, and Buffalo Chik’n (which I’m not sure Gardein makes anymore) were all staples in my freezer while I learned how to cook the vegan way. They still make an appearance from time to time. One of my favorite quick meals is Gardein Mandarin Orange Chik’n topping an asian inspired salad. Since Gardein had never steered me wrong, I anticipated loving the roast.
I was not disappointed. The roast has a bread crumb coating that beautifully crisps in the oven. The cranberry stuffing isn’t as rich as the stuffing in Field Roast’s holiday roast and does make a nice change from Tofurky’s wild rice. The texture is what I’ve come to expect from Gardein-not too chewy-and the roast is easy to cut with a fork. Served with mashed potatoes, gravy, seasoned green beans, and cranberry sauce; the roast is a seamless part of a Holiday meal.
I wish I had photos for you but the day I cooked this roast was a busy one and I was starving by the time dinner was ready. I made up my plate, thought ‘yep, looks good’, and inhaled it. I took a plate with me to a family dinner the next day and, again, had no time to stop and photo the food. If you want to try this roast, look for this box in the freezer section of your grocery store. Safeway had it here in Colorado!