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Tofu dishes for Thanksgiving

We have a few vegetarians joining us for Thanksgiving, and I am looking for easy tofu dishes that aren't necessarily Asian. No thanks on tofurkey, by the way: it's way too weird for me.

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  1. Won't there be tons of vegetable dishes and other sides where tofu isn't necessarily needed?

    1. Does it have to be tofu, or are you just looking for a good easy vegetarian 'main dish'?

      My favorite non-Asian tofu dish is crispy buffalo tofu but not sure how Thanksgiving-y that is.

      Last time I made a big fall meal I made a roasted vegetable tart as the 'main' for the vegetarians.

      1 Reply
      1. re: jmarya

        That sounds delicious.
        I would suggest puréed sweet potatoes and rutabaga with toasted walnuts.

      2. Dorie Greenspan has a recipe for squash stuffed with "everything good" which will be a delightful and appropriate veg main.

        1 Reply
        1. re: herby

          The stuffed with everything good recipe is great! We ahve tried it a couple times and love it!

        2. Last year I made a baked tofu dish with apricot preserves and onions. First, I sliced the block of tofu into 8-9 slices and then pressed the slices on a tea towel for an hour or so. In the meantime, I sauteed some onions (darker or lighter, to your taste) and added some fresh ginger, thyme, soy sauce, and pepper. I then added some apricot preserves (half a jar? more? can't remember now) and let everything cook together for a few minutes. I then arranged the tofu slices, shingled, in a baking dish (one you can take to the table is a bonus), and poured the onion-apricot mixture over the top. This baked for 30 min. or so, til it got a little color.

          Everything in our Thanksgiving meal is vegetarian except for the turkey and gravy, so it's not that this dish was *needed* -- but it's nice to have a "main" dish for the vegetarians, too.

          1. Soy ground round is very versatile and you can use it like regular ground meat for a variety of applications: meatballs, lasagne, pasta sauce, chili, etc, etc.



            1. Vegetarians don't necessarily want/like tofu....
              Here are a few great "main" options that would be great, i would strongly encourage you to do a trail run before the actual holiday.
              This veg wellington is also very beautiful, plus easy-

              A version of shepard's pie:

              Acorn squash with wild rice stuffing:

              Gorgeous individual pies:

              Marinated tempeh:

              Tofu with stuffing main:

              Veg and tofu pot pie:

              4 Replies
              1. re: Ttrockwood

                I think it's a good idea for everyone to do a "trail run" before the holiday. :-)

                I know that was just a typo, Ttrockwood, but I just couldn't resist. I like the acorn squash idea, though.

                1. re: rockycat

                  Oh hahaha! That's kind of an awesome typo actually..... :))
                  The acorn squash one is a favorite of mine for the fall/winter

                2. re: Ttrockwood

                  I love tempeh; too bad it is so much harder to find plain tempeh than tofu in many places.

                  Don't forget the old British veg standby the nut roast (which also includes grains, lentils etc.) They aren't always stodgy; they can be very appealing to all. You'll certianly find recipes for those by Linda McCartney.

                  Of course our Thanksgiving (in Canada) is over and done, but these are good ideas for Chrstmastime as well.

                  1. re: lagatta

                    I only hesitated on the nut roast/lentil loaf etc because sometimes they're not pretty....:/
                    I'll have to look up the linda mc cartney one, kinda tired of the few i make often....

                3. I know it's still fake meat, but it's really tasty for fake meat.

                  Quorn makes a goat cheese/cranberry stuffed cutlet that you just bake for a few minutes to crisp up. My meat eating husband and I usually eat these at least once a month.

                  1. PB&J Tofu sandwiches.

                    Take two slices of firm tofu, spread peanut butter on one and jelly on the other. Combine tofu slices with spread side facing each other so that the peanut butter and jelly eventually touch. Eat.

                    (Bonus: no need to decrust unlike with regular PB&J)

                    1. I ran across this website by accident; I thought of trying it myself (not for Thanksgiving though). I'm a meat eater but I was impressed: http://thevedge.org/2013/02/tofu-popc...

                      You can make these into bigger pieces to mimic fried chicken strips. Also, I cook for others quite a bit and every so often, I get someone who doesn't eat meat so I'm always looking for a good protein dish to try.

                      I feel that there should be a central main dish for those not eating meat other than a bunch of sides. I have made bbq pulled tofu and pulled jerk tofu which came out well; those who ate it raved. Not hard to do but I like to do it on a real grill because it adds the flavor element and it takes a bit of time to press, etc.. It can be grilled a day or two ahead and reheated in the sauce. I'd be glad to tell you how I made it.

                      Either dish will pair well with the traditional Turkey day sides....

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: Cherylptw

                        I'd love to know how you made the BBQ pulled tofu and the pulled jerk tofu. Thanks in advance.

                        1. re: Karen K

                          Ok, first thing I have to tell you is that doing the recipes are a bit of a process but easy I usually start a few days in advance by putting the firm to extra firm tofu in the freezer for two days. This will cause the tofu to become denser with a meaty texture for the final product. You can put your tofu in the freezer at any time prior to the holiday so that it’s already in there. I thaw it at room temp at least the day before using, you can do that a couple of days in advance. Drain the water off then put it on a dish or in a colander; I put mine on a plate, cover with plastic wrap & put my cast iron skillet on top and allow to drain for a couple of hours. This presses out any remaining water. Dry it off well with paper towels, slice each block into four pieces and it’s ready to proceed with the recipes. Each block of tofu will serve 2-3 people.

                          Jerk Sauce
                          10 green onions
                          2 large onions, peeled & roughly sliced
                          4 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
                          3 teaspoons kosher salt
                          2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger
                          2 teaspoons ground nutmeg
                          2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
                          1 tablespoon ground allspice
                          ¼ cup brown sugar
                          ½ cup apple cider vinegar
                          ½ cup low sodium soy sauce (regular can be used but adjust your salt)
                          1 cup orange juice
                          1 cup coconut milk
                          2 tablespoons vegetable oil
                          1-2 habanero or Scotch bonnet peppers or other Fresh pepper*** (see directions)
                          2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves OR 2 teaspoon dried***(see directions)

                          **Put everything into a blender or food processor and puree until smooth. Traditional jerk is habanero/scotch bonnet spicy, you can make it as mild or spicy as you want and you can sub other peppers such as jalapeno. If you are using fresh thyme leaves, process it with the rest of the ingredients; if using dried thyme leaves, stir it in after everything else has been processed. Can be made up to two weeks in advance. Simmer for 10 minutes then cool completely.

                          Place the tofu slices in a dish, cover with a half of the marinade. Cover and refrigerate overnight; refrigerate remaining marinade. Prepare the grill for medium high heat; spray grates liberally with non stick cooking spray. Place tofu slices onto the grill; cook for 10 -12 minutes, turning halfway through. Place cooked slices back into the same baking dish which tofu was marinated in; place in a preheated 400F. degree oven for 15 minutes. Remove and set aside to cool enough to be able to pull apart or shred with a knife. Mix remaining marinade with tofu; put in a casserole dish and refrigerate until serving then warm in a 350 degree oven for about 20 minutes or until heated through. You can also put it in a slow cooker for several hours the morning of serving using the low temp. Garnish with sliced green onions.

                          BBQ Tofu

                          Use the same preparation & grilling method as in the Jerk tofu recipe.

                          1 dried ancho chile pepper ** (see directions)
                          4 cups boiling water
                          Large bottle of hickory smoke BBQ sauce
                          ¼ cup cider vinegar
                          ¼ cup brown sugar
                          1 medium onion, peeled & roughly chopped
                          2-3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
                          1-2 drips liquid hickory smoke seasoning
                          2 teaspoons salt free seasoning blend
                          1 teaspoon kosher salt or to taste
                          Black pepper to taste

                          ***If you like it a little spicy, don’t remove the seeds. Add the chile pepper to the boiling water and allow it to soak until water becomes room temp. Remove the stem; add the pepper to a food processor along with the bbq sauce, vinegar, brown sugar, onion, and garlic. Reserve soaking liquid.

                          Puree mixture, enough of the pepper soaking liquid to help agitate the machine. Scrape sauce into a saucepot; whisk in remaining soaking liquid, liquid smoke, salt free seasoning blend and pepper. Bring to a simmer for 10-15 minutes over medium temperature.

                          Prepare tofu as in the Jerk recipe by freezing and draining the tofu. Prepare the grill over medium high temperature; liberally spray grill grate with non stick cooking spray. Lightly sprinkle the tofu slices with salt & pepper; place them onto the grill, cooking for 10-12 minutes, turning to evenly cook halfway through. Remove tofu to a non stick cooking sprayed baking sheet; brush with some of the bbq sauce and put into a 400 F . degree oven to bake for 15 minutes. Cool tofu completely then shred or pull.

                          Reduce the remaining bbq sauce by one third then cool; stir the tofu into the bbq sauce, spoon into a casserole dish to reheat later and refrigerate until ready to use. To reheat in a slowcooker, heat for several hours with the low temperature setting. This sauce recipe can easily be doubled.

                      2. I have many times made a version of "Seitan Wellington" that has been enormously successful. I see no reason that you couldn't substitute really firmly pressed tofu for the seitan. And you can decorate the puffed pastry with fall shapes - really pretty presentation.

                        I can't find my original recipe but it was on the cover of Vegetarian Times around 1996 or 1997 (IIRC)

                        I googled "Seitan Wellington" and found lots of hits including: http://www.olivesfordinner.com/2012/1...

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: MrsPatmore

                          an awful lot of people don't like seitan.

                          I think a stuffed squash hubbard if you want it to be showy, filled with wild rice, pecans and lots of veggies is very festive and appealing.

                          1. re: magiesmom

                            That's one of the reasons that I suggested that she could substitute really firmly pressed tofu (or even smoked tofu, available in Asian markets) in lieu of seitan. The OP was looking for tofu dishes for Thanksgiving. That being said, I love your idea of stuffed hubbard squash. Sadly where I live, hubbards are hard to find, so I often make a stuffed pie pumpkin. But blue hubbard squash is one of my all-time favorites - stuffed or otherwise.

                        2. It isn't unusual for guests to bring food to Thanksgiving. I think if you have plenty of sides they can eat, you have them bring any veggie protein dish they want for themselves.

                          1. Thanksgiving is one of the best holidays of the year for vegetarians. All those root vegetables in season, and mostly on sale! Much easier than some others.

                            If you have not looked at the CHOW Vegetarian Thanksgiving recipes, you should:
                            That gallery contains a wheat-free Tofurky recipe, by the way. Probably not worth the trouble unless someone has asked for it (which apparently none of your guests have) but there it is if you need it.
                            The Winter Greens Lasagne recipe that used to be part of that group (and a HUGE favorite of mine which I often make for Thanksgiving):
                            And this pumpkin chard lasagne from Food and Wine that I made for Halloween and will probably bring as my contribution to Thanksgiving:

                            1. This has been well received in my home...


                              I used farro instead of red rice...couldn't find latter.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: ceekskat

                                We have a fave "junk food" veggie alternative as a quick fix for turkey dinner.. Hubby takes chicken Boca patties and cooks them in some water, butter or margarine, garlic etc and it reduces down and turns the breading into gravy and when you slice it and lay it on the plate with mashed potatoes its the closest thing to turkey and gravy that we have found..