Introduction: Vegetarian Turkey

Picture of Vegetarian Turkey

Want a vegetarian turkey you can serve on thanksgiving that's like a Tofurkey? Want to make it yourself?

The this turkey is for you! This recipe uses vital wheat gluten to get a nice meaty texture and along with some spices and a rice stuffing, even the non-veggies will say "Yum!"

Step 1: Ingredients

Picture of Ingredients

For this you will need the following
2 cups of vital wheat gluten
2 cups of veggie broth
3 tbsp rosemary
3 tbsp thyme
1 tbsp seasoned salt (or garlic powder, onion powder etc.)
1 bag of wild rice (about 2 cups)

Step 2: Cook Rice

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First you want to cook the wild rice in a rice cooker, if you don't have a rice cooker, get creative with the stove!

Step 3: Mix Dry Ingredients

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Mix the spices and the wheat gluten together until well mixed. Add more spices as you want.

Step 4: Add Broth and Knead

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Next add the broth to the dry mix. Knead it around until its all wet.

Step 5: Stuff the Gluten

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Next you want to get your stuffing into the gluten. For this we are using cooked rice, you could of course use any thing else, but i feel the rice adds a healthy bit to this dish.

Step 6: Boil the Loafs

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Next start some broth of soy sauce and molasses (2 tbsp of each) in about 6 cups of water and bring to a boil.

Place your loaf in the water and let simmer for around an hour. They will grow and get puffy.

Step 7: Bake the Loaf

Picture of Bake the Loaf

Next you want to bake the loaf. At this point you could freeze it and wait to bake it. Otherwise it will take you about an hour to bake the loaf. Drizzle the loaf with olive oil and add some root veggies around it if you wish

Bake for about an hour or until crisp at 350 degrees.

Step 8: Serve

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And that's about it, The loaf after baking is done. Serve with regular thanksgiving fixins' like gravy, mashed potatoes and cranberry sauce

For more great vegan recipes for thanksgiving check out our guide.


horphmyre (author)2013-11-27

I have really enjoyed this discussion. Laughed a lot at both sides. I have been going back and forth from vegetarian to meat and back a few times. All I can say is that somehow meat seems to be a narcotic to me. The "fake" meats as some call them has allowed me to cut back on my use of meat. I am grateful at least for that. BTW, some substitutes are really tasty. You should taste my homemade gluten steaks I make from scratch. They aren't a T-Bone, but they sure taste good and if you ate one you would be back for seconds.

SLCVeganista (author)2012-11-20

You can try Soy Curls - they come dehydrated, just add broth or water + seasonings to rehydrate. Best if you incorporate them into other recipes rather than just on their own, but like tofu, hey take on any flavor you give them.

desya (author)2011-05-05

my aunt is allergic to gluten ....... any alternatives

scee1 (author)desya2012-10-27

There's a gluten free alternative here.

ailnn (author)2012-04-14

Just found this site and was delighted to find this recipe. What I don't understand is why people are criticizing others for looking for recipes which mimic meat. I was told by my doctor to go on a vegan diet to prevent heart disease. I'm learning a lot but so many are critical of these foods. Why are you even looking and COMMENTING on such a site? Remember the old adage of MYOB. You look for your foods and I'll look for mine. I promise I'll never comment on your choices, even if it consists of cockroaches. I expect the same from you.

Letjurre (author)2011-11-19

I'm not vegetarian but I am excited about making this. Thanks for posting

Opcom (author)2011-01-24

I'll eat veg. if that is what is served, but I like some good lean well-cooked meat. I also like to share a little of it with my cats. (If I had dogs, the same.) The cat will -not- touch tofu, and can't digest it anyway. The dog, probably will swallow almost anything. Balance is what's good.

jdemond (author)2010-11-26

Just a little note to anyone making this recipe:

Instead of boxed vegetable stock, I used vegetable bouillon cubes, now, the important thing to remember here is to let the bouillon cool before adding it to the gluten. If not, it becomes a very rubbery mass that's hard to do anything with. I did manage to get it to work but it took a huuuuuge amount of pounding the dough to get it flat enough to put the rice in, and then the ends didn't stick together so i had to put it in a cheesecloth before boiling it. This actually worked really well as my "turkey" retained it's shape.

Thanks for the recipe!

juniorgong (author)2010-11-24

You also need molasses and soy sauce not included in the ingredient list

axegrrl (author)2010-11-21

I haven't eaten beef, pork, or poultry for 15 years -- and that's the *exact* reaction I now have when I see raw poultry! LOL

quakefiend (author)2010-11-14

I find it interesting (no insult intended) that vegans/vegetarians are constantly trying to simulate meat with vegetables. I'll leave you to ponder the implications of this irony.

dansmith7771 (author)quakefiend2010-11-14

The reason that vegetarians try to simulate meat is several reasons but a couple are:
1. Because in todays world much of the populations has adapted to the lifestyle of eating meat / animal muscle tissue. Meat eating has been something that all our friends do so in order to "fit in". It is not true that we all used to eat animals back in the olden days and now we are starting to eat more vegetation. actually if you look at recorded statistics you find that in the last 100 years meat eating has rapidly increased - and so has meat eating diseases. Coronary heart disease is now the number one killer in the USA whereas in other "less developed" countries heart disease and meat eating is far less prevalent. Eating meat fills your arteries with fat that plugs up your arteries and when arteries are plugged blood can not get through.

2. Analog meats or meat simulations allow newer vegetarians to have a means of transitioning to more healthy less diseased food / nutrient sources. Many people that are trying to reduce and avoid the overwhelming risks associated with eating animals, but have still not fully adapted to a plant based diet find that eating "pretend" animals based foods makes the transition easier.

Here are a couple links

And this one is very good = American Heart Association

Ezrolith23 (author)dansmith77712010-11-15

I respect vegetarians, just don't expect me to agree. You're talking about modern health problems can certainly have a few causes I would think. Now one could say that meat has more fat than vegetable proteins. I would say that back in the good old days people were working. Sowing the fields. Raising the cattle. And not sitting on their collective butts for 12 hours a day. In modern day America we watch TV, buy our kids video games rather than books, and just have gotten generally lazy. I would venture ti guess that most doctors would agree that having a totally lethargic lifestyle is worse than any protein you put in your body. That being said I have to get packed up to go up to deer camp.

wolfe.chris (author)Ezrolith232010-11-19

Nobody said anything about protein being bad for you. The protein in meat isn't what causes the problems. The fat is what causes problems, and particularly the saturated fats. Protein is not exclusive to meat products, it is necessary for life to continue. That is why some vegetarians choose to eat meat substitutes, because they are typically higher in proteins than your average vegetarian fare. Finding complete proteins is the difficulty in a vegetarian diet.

dansmith7771 (author)wolfe.chris2010-11-19

a couple very excellent sites to get info from people that have really researched this subject are these: and both are sites that are run by people that are there for the primary purpose of helping

quakefiend (author)dansmith77712010-11-14

Dansmith, I couldn't agree with you more on both points. We certainly eat way too much meat. However, I feel that meat is healthy in moderation and I have canines.. might as well put them to use, right? =D Also, Japanese have the highest life expectancy.. and eat a lot of fish and seafood. I love fish.

Planet Vegan (author)quakefiend2010-11-15

Um, canines? You're not really comparing those puny little mildly pointed (in most of humyns) excuses for flesh rippers to those brandished by carnivores and true omnivores, are you? Even in other primates, where the canines are quite pronounced, they're there primarily as weapons (in practice, mostly as a threat) against attackers, mostly of their own species. There's no way you could effectively use those for tearing apart a raw carcass of anything much bigger than a mouse and, even in that scenario, it would probably be your incisors and molars (adapted for eating plants) that would be doing most of the work.

headphoned (author)quakefiend2010-11-15

Having canines doesn't make you a carnivore, this is a common misconception. It's true that humans have adapted to have a meat-heavy diet, but this is a relatively (in terms of human existence) recent development (from the Ice Age if I recall correctly). Our teeth are in fact very much NOT made for eating meat. Our canines are blunted and not very sharp, they would not be very effective in tearing up prey and are therefore pretty pointless as an indicator of carnivorism. But even if we did have killer teeth, it wouldn't necessarily indicate a meat-dominated diet: just look at bears!

The Japanese also eat a lot of varied vegetables. I won't deny the potential benefits of some seafood, but please bear in mind that there's a LOT more to the Japanese diet than just fish.

Also, another reason vegetarians consume/produce meat analogues is the simple fact that many of our western recipes call for meat! I'm sure the creative and adventurous have no need for this pragmatism, but for some vegetarians the ability to simply substitute non-meat products in a recipe opens up a lot of culinary opportunities.

wolfe.chris (author)quakefiend2010-11-19

It's not necessarily about simulating meat, and this recipe in particular is made with vegetable broth, but seitan doesn't have to be made with vegetables at all. A lot of fake meat is made in the shape of processed meat products. The processed meat products are made into their particular shapes because those shapes are convenient and portable. Thus, processed vegetable and grain products may be made into particular shapes so that they are equally convenient and portable. It's difficult to make vital wheat gluten into a sandwich without first making it into some sort of cohesive shape.

Doublespeak (author)quakefiend2010-11-14

You may say that there was "no insult intended", but your question was asked in an obviously condescending manner. Please don't be rude. :/ To answer your question, many choose to be vegetarian not because they don't like the taste of meat, but because they do not support meat industry policies. Therefore, they imitate meat textures with vegetables in order to enjoy a particular flavor without encouraging unethical factory farm practices. Also, many people, including omnivores, eat veggie-based alternatives to meat for health-related reasons.

seedeelion (author)Doublespeak2010-11-16

Oh, brilliant reply, should have read along

quakefiend (author)Doublespeak2010-11-14

well, despite what you may think, I meant that no insult was intended. I apologise for the (admitted) slight condescending tone. You can poke fun at me for being a dirty meat-eater =D That being said, I know and respect vegetarians, in fact I believe that plant fat is better for you than animal fat (one of many reasons being it's liquid rather than solid at body temperature). However, what I find interesting is that cravings are triggered by brain chemistry.. who can argue with science? When you crave something, it's your body telling you that whatever it is you crave has something your body wants. There are many reasons why humans crave meat.. one being that heme iron is much more bioavailable than non-heme iron found in plants. Obviously many other things including protein can be easily obtained from plants.

headphoned (author)quakefiend2010-11-15

I think you'd find, were you to become a vegetarian and stick with it, you wouldn't "crave meat"

I've been a (ovo-lacto) vegetarian for a little while now (6? 7 years?) and I don't crave meat any more. It doesn't even register as food for me. I understand conceptually that people eat it, but it's like if someone held up a piece of granite and said, "here, this is delicious, eat it!" I'm not really vegetarian for any ideological or dietary reasons, mainly just a habit I fell into, but since I feel no need or desire to start eating meat again, I simply haven't.

It's true that cravings are informed from brain chemistry, but that doesn't mean much. Your brain might crave chocolate or heroin, but it doesn't mean you should indulge.

quakefiend (author)Doublespeak2010-11-14

also I think this is a cool instructable. Very creative...and I'm sure it's delicious.

seedeelion (author)quakefiend2010-11-16

No offence taken, thanks. There is no irony either. There is hardly a veg that stops eating meat because of the taste. We stop because of other things, be it health, compassion, awareness or whatever - as mentioned already. Anyway, there are many "meat substitutes" that have their very own specific taste, we just classify them as "like meat".

i agree, if you dont want to eat meat, dont pretend to eat meat....

if you dont want to harm animals, then wait until they start mass producing the meat that they can grow in the lab... (seriously, it's been done once before.... veggie burgers....just make a freaking sandwich....tofu that's shaped like a drum stick, wow....)

I find it interesting that meat eaters that would scream bloody murder if you tried to tell them what they should or should not eat somehow think its ok, even their "job" to tell Veggies what they are and are not allowed to eat.

It's not remotely ironic that people who don't eat meat might want a way to enjoy some of the cultural conventions they grew up with but to find a way to do that with out meat.

When I eat fake meat I am not "Pretending to eat meat" I am eating something yummy that may or may not taste remotely similar to meat but I don't have to kill an animal to do it! YAY! And how and why I do it is just as much your business to pass judgement on as your barbeque ribs are my business.

theque (author)quakefiend2010-11-14

Im a vegan myself, and i do find it is fairly ironic. Largely i think it can be attributed to the fact that most of us grew up on meat, and eating something that simulates meat to an extent is more familiar. However, its not about mirroring the taste of meat, mostly the texture and look.

quakefiend (author)theque2010-11-14

That is a definite possibility! I hadn't really thought about the psychological aspect.

you made me giggle thank you

seedeelion (author)2010-11-16

Thanks for this, good job! I am sure there are some recipes for "seitan" on here, in case some people can't get the gluten.

wolfe.chris (author)seedeelion2010-11-19

I made seitan from flour one time... I will never do it again now that I know that vital wheat gluten is readily available at any health food store or on the internet. It wasn't really a difficult process, it was just time consuming and tedious. That said, seitan is an excellent meat substitute if you're interested in one.

Treasure Tabby (author)2010-11-16

Not sure what the mushrooms were called but I remember I had them in Europe years ago. I remember someone saying that they grow on wood.
I know they were flat and large like chicken scalliopini and fried as such. Boy were they tasty. I really thing they would do really great in a fake turkey and or chicken like that.

I believe the fungus you're referring to is the sulphur shelf mushroom.

Mirime (author)2010-11-16

This sounds ok but i'll be sticking to the turkey/ chicken that we raised on our pasture

if you eat meat eat local raised and know the farmer

Woodhacker (author)2010-11-14

At what temperature should this be baked and for what time?

frenzy (author)Woodhacker2010-11-15

AH you caught me! i'll update that right away. Thanks!

Treasure Tabby (author)2010-11-12

Sounds delicious. I wouldn't mind incorporating those meaty mushrooms you can sometimes get. I know there's these certain kinds of mushrooms when breaded and fried have a texture similar to chicken. Just not exactly sure when to get them. Also I would try adding chestnuts too. Yummy!

We call it Purtobello Mushrooms in Israel and restaurants use the large big type.
Bon Appetite.

There's one called "Chicken of the Woods" that might be what you're after. Yeah, it would make a nice turkey-ish thing with the spices in this recipe.

eabyoung (author)Treasure Tabby2010-11-14

i think the mushrooms you are thinking about might be morels. just a guess. i've had them fried and they are delicious!

hailster (author)2010-11-14

While I'm not a vegetarian my girlfriend is, so I'll try and make this for her. Thanks for the instructable!

destructopop (author)hailster2010-11-14

My boyfriend said the same thing! I'm sure your girlfriend will love this. It looks delicious. You might even like it a little, too! ;)

tleet59 (author)2010-11-14

Sounds delicious. When preparing dough for rice stuffing, do you essentially split the dough to make just 2 loaves?

Also, I'm wondering at what temperature is used for baking?

Planet Vegan (author)2010-11-14

Looks awesome, uber yummy, and sooo simple to prepare!!! Nice instructable! :)))

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