Vegan Turkey: A Comprehensive Guide to the Best Store-Bought Roasts for Thanksgiving

Dinner tables around the world are featuring plants instead of animals for health, sustainability, an ethical reasons. So why should holidays like Thanksgiving be any different? This guide will help you find the best vegan turkey brands and plant-based centerpieces for your festive gathering.
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Tofurky roast sliced, in a baking dish on top of roasted vegetables.
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As Thanksgiving approaches, there’s a growing chorus of reasons to consider leaving the traditional turkey off your plate. Whether it’s for health-conscious choices, ethical considerations, environmental concerns, or simply a personal aversion to the idea of indulging in a stuffed, roasted bird body, there’s a compelling case for exploring alternative options.

Whatever your motivation, the quest for a delectable substitute to grace your holiday table begins here. Some culinary adventurers may choose to replace the traditional turkey with mouthwatering creations like stuffed acorn squash or a meticulously crafted mushroom wellington, enveloped in elegantly braided pastry dough. Others may opt for simplicity, replacing the bird with a store-bought vegan turkey roast. The choice is yours, and it’s a delightful adventure waiting to unfold.

Whether you embark on a culinary journey to create a veggie-centric masterpiece or prefer the convenience of a store-bought vegan turkey, you’ll find a wealth of options to suit your tastes. In this comprehensive vegan turkey guide, we’ll introduce you to the most popular brands offering pre-made turkey alternatives.

So, let’s dive into the world of vegan turkey and discover a bounty of choices that will make your Thanksgiving celebration a feast to remember!

An entire freezer case with several brands of plant-based vegan turkey options at Whole Foods grocery store.

Field Roast Classic Celebration Roast

The Celebration Roast by Field Roast is one of the most prevalent—and most delicious—vegan turkey options on the market. It’s really versatile, and you don’t need to defrost, baste, or even bake it (although you certainly can). Unlike the other roasts, this is available year-round and sold as both a full-roast and a half-roast (perfect for slicing and putting on sandwiches).  

A box of Field Roast's Celebration Roast at Whole Foods Market in front of a shelf of vegan turkey options.

This is a popular choice among people who don’t want to be eating an “exact replica” of a turkey, and appreciate seeing lentils and herbs indicative of a roast made from whole plant foods. This roast also tends to be more popular among omnivores, because it doesn’t try to be turkey.

Field Roast Hazelnut Cranberry En Croute

If you really want to wow your guests, pick up one of Field Roast’s Hazelnut Cranberry En Croute roasts. These special roasts are wrapped in phyllo dough and include some festive flavors of Thanksgiving.

This can be a little harder to find, so if you see one in early November, pick it up! It’s often sold at grocery stores like Sprouts, Whole Foods Market, and Natural Foods stores, among others. It’s well worth the hunt!

Tofurky Roast 

This is the classic vegan turkey roast—the “OG” if you will—that has paved the way for all the others. Tofurky has been serving up Tofurky roasts for more than 20 years, since 1995.

The wild rice stuffing is delicious, and the Tofurky “meat” most closely imitates like turkey. Plus, the Tofurky roast is the most protein-packed of them all, ringing in at 37 grams of protein per serving. 

These roasts transform into really beautiful centerpieces when you prepare them with potatoes, carrots, herbs, and a special olive oil and garlic marinade. Here’s how to make a perfect Tofurky.

Tofurky roast sliced, in a baking dish on top of roasted vegetables.

Tofurky also sells frozen tubs of vegan gravy that you can simply heat and serve, if you don’t want to make your own. 

Gardein Holiday Roast

Gardein is the meatiest of them all, with that convincing “pulled meat” texture, if you’re into that. Gardein products are also very accessible—carried by Big Box stores like Target and beyond.

They’ve also stepped up their game with their delicious breaded coating and colorful cranberry-infused stuffing. Plus, this holiday roast comes with two packs of vegan gravy which is one more item you can cross off your list! 

Thanksgiving Feast Vegan Turkey Taste Test Gardein Field Roast Tofurky

365 Whole Foods Market Plant-Based Turkey Roasts

Many store brands offer their own plant-based roasts. For example, the Whole Foods Market brand 365 has meatless plant-based roasts filled with a portobello mushroom stuffing that come packaged with gravy.

A bag of 365 brand plant-based turkey roasts from Whole Foods grocery store.

Watch Out for Vegetarian Roasts That Aren’t Vegan!

As you navigate the world of holiday roasts and vegan turkey alternatives, it’s crucial to exercise a discerning eye and read product labels carefully. While many vegetarian roasts may seem like suitable vegan options at first glance, not all of them are entirely plant-based.

Here are some key considerations to keep in mind and animal ingredients to look out for.

  • Dairy Ingredients: Some vegetarian roasts may contain dairy-derived ingredients like cheese, butter, or milk powder. These ingredients can make a product vegetarian but not vegan. Be sure to check the ingredient list for any dairy-related terms.
  • Eggs: Eggs are another common non-vegan ingredient found in some vegetarian roasts. Look out for terms like “egg whites” or “egg albumen” in the ingredient list.
  • Honey: Some products may use honey as a sweetener or glaze, which is not considered vegan. Check for honey in the ingredient list and opt for products without it if you follow a strict vegan diet.
  • Gelatin: Gelatin, derived from animal collagen, is sometimes used as a gelling agent in processed foods. Ensure that the roast you choose is free of gelatin.
  • Certifications: Look for vegan certifications from recognized organizations like the Vegan Society, Vegan Action, or the Certified Vegan logo. These certifications provide added assurance that the product is genuinely vegan.

While some vegetarian roasts may appear suitable for a vegan Thanksgiving, it’s crucial to be vigilant and thoroughly inspect product labels to ensure they align with your dietary preferences. By paying attention to ingredients and certifications, you can confidently select vegan-friendly options that will make your holiday meal a compassionate and satisfying experience.

Best Vegan Turkey Taste Test

With a variety of vegan turkey options available, you might be wondering, which one is the absolute best? The answer, as it turns out, is subjective and can vary from person to person. In fact, during a comprehensive taste-test with three longtime vegan judges, each had different favorites.

To find out which vegan turkey reigns supreme in our taste-test, watch the video and join us on this flavorful journey!

Embark on your own taste-test adventure by trying out different vegan turkey roasts available in the market. This not only allows you to discover your family’s personal favorite but also contributes to preventing needless suffering for turkeys like the one you see here. By opting for a compassionate and delicious alternative, you can make a positive impact on both your holiday feast and animal welfare.

Homemade Vegan Turkey Recipe

While buying a vegan turkey at the store is certainly the easier option, if you’re determined to be the hostess of the year, you may enjoy making your own! This vegan seitan turkey recipe shows you how to do just that, using ingredients like chickpeas, vegetable broth, spices, and the “meat” that holds it all together: vital wheat gluten.

Vegan Seitan Turkey Roast for Thanksgiving dinner

How to Cook and Prepare a Store-Bought Roast

Preparing a store-bought vegan roast is a straightforward process, and the instructions may vary slightly depending on the brand and type of roast you choose. Here’s a general guide to help you get started.

Ingredients and Tools You’ll Need:

  • Store-bought vegan roast
  • Roasting pan or baking dish
  • Cooking oil or non-stick spray
  • Aluminum foil
  • Basting sauce or marinade (optional)

1. Preheat Your Oven: Start by preheating your oven to the temperature specified on the packaging of your vegan roast. This is typically around 350°F to 400°F (175°C to 200°C).

2. Prepare Your Roasting Pan: Grease your roasting pan or baking dish with a small amount of cooking oil or non-stick spray to prevent sticking.

3. Remove Packaging: Take the vegan roast out of its packaging. If it’s frozen, make sure to thaw it in advance according to the instructions provided on the package.

4. Season (Optional): If desired, you can season the vegan roast with your favorite herbs, spices, or a basting sauce. This step is optional, as many store-bought vegan roasts come pre-seasoned.

5. Place in the Pan: Carefully place the vegan roast in the prepared roasting pan or baking dish. Make sure it fits comfortably with some space around it for even cooking.

6. Cover with Foil (Optional): You can cover the roast with aluminum foil if you want to retain moisture and prevent the top from getting too crispy. This is especially useful if your roast tends to dry out easily. Simply tent the foil over the roast, leaving some space for air circulation.

7. Roast in the Oven: Put the roasting pan with the vegan roast into the preheated oven. Be sure to follow the cooking time and temperature instructions on the packaging. Generally, vegan roasts cook for about 15-20 minutes per pound (450g) at the recommended temperature.

8. Baste (Optional): If you’re using a basting sauce or marinade, you can periodically baste the roast during cooking. This adds flavor and helps keep it moist.

9. Use a Thermometer (Recommended): For precise cooking, use an oven thermometer to ensure the internal temperature of the vegan roast reaches the recommended level, which is typically around 165°F (74°C). This helps ensure it’s thoroughly cooked.

10. Rest and Serve: Once the roast reaches the desired internal temperature, remove it from the oven and let it rest for a few minutes before carving. This allows the juices to redistribute, resulting in a juicier roast.

Then, slice and serve as the centerpiece of your holiday meal. Remember that specific cooking instructions may vary between brands and types of vegan roasts, so it’s essential to read and follow the guidance provided on the packaging for the best results. Enjoy your cruelty-free and delicious holiday feast!

Cook Your Roast With Vegetables and Aromatics

Elevate your vegan roast by placing a bed of fresh vegetables and aromatics, such as onions, carrots, celery, and garlic, around the roast in the roasting pan. These ingredients can infuse the roast with additional flavors and create a tasty side dish.

Tofurky roast in a baking dish on top of roasted vegetables.

You can season the vegetables with a sprinkle of salt, pepper, and your favorite herbs to complement the flavors of the roast. As the roast cooks, the juices from the roast will mingle with the vegetables, creating a delicious medley. Be sure to stir or toss the vegetables occasionally to evenly distribute the flavors and prevent them from sticking to the pan.

Once everything is cooked to perfection, serve the roasted vegetables alongside your vegan roast as a flavorful and nutritious accompaniment to your holiday meal. This step not only enhances the overall taste of your holiday feast but also adds vibrant colors and textures to your plate, making for a visually appealing and well-rounded dining experience. Enjoy

Serving Suggestions

Once your vegan turkey is ready, it’s time to create a festive holiday meal. Here are some serving suggestions and accompanying vegan Thanksgiving recipes:

  • Gravy: Serve vegan gravy made from vegetable broth and thickened with flour or cornstarch.
  • Stuffing: Pair your vegan turkey with a delicious stuffing made from breadcrumbs, vegetables, and herbs. Many store-bought stuffing brands are “accidentally” vegan, and can simply be prepared with vegetable broth instead of chicken broth.
  • Mashed Potatoes: Creamy mashed potatoes make for a classic side dish.
  • Cranberry Sauce: Tangy cranberry sauce complements the flavors of the main course.
  • Roasted Vegetables: Roast a variety of vegetables like carrots, Brussels sprouts, and sweet potatoes for a colorful and nutritious addition to your meal.
  • Vegan Desserts: Finish your holiday feast with vegan desserts like pumpkin pie, apple crisp, or chocolate cake.
Vegan Mashed Potatoes topped with butter.

Vegan Thanksgiving Recipes and Guides

Store-bought vegan turkey options have come a long way, offering a wide range of choices to satisfy your holiday cravings without compromising your ethical or dietary preferences. Whether you’re a seasoned vegan or someone looking to try a plant-based alternative for the first time, these products can make your holiday gatherings inclusive and delicious. So, this holiday season, consider adding a store-bought vegan turkey to your table and share the joy of a cruelty-free, eco-friendly, and mouthwatering meal with your loved ones.

Celebrate A Vegan Thanksgiving | Turkey Artwork by Dana Vostres
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