Tasty Turkey Substitutes for Your Holiday Table

Tasty Turkey Substitutes

The Humane Slaughter Act, passed in 1958, is designed to protect livestock – specifically cattle, calves, horses, mules, sheep and swine – from being slaughtered without being stunned beforehand, intending to render the death painless when compared to a more straightforward killing. The Act, however, does not provide any protections for many other animals, including fish, rabbits, and poultry, including turkeys and chickens among many others. As a consequence, one may want to keep turkey off their Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner tables. Here are some potential alternative centerpieces and sides to consider:

The UnTurkey was a product manufactured by Now and Zen that a fair number of vegetarians and vegans considered to be considerably better than Tofurky and other similar substitute meats. It’s a fake meat made from gluten complete with a dressing and gravy. While it’s not an easy cooking process, it yields a table centerpiece that anyone not put off by fake meat could fall hard for. Furthermore, it might even serve as something that could sway someone with a substantial fake meat aversion, which few soy dishes can pull off.

Potato gnocchi can be difficult, but often worth it; when done well, they deliver an experience that few other starches (and especially pastas) can. Get seasonal by turning root vegetables into sauces here, like perhaps pumpkins or reduced squashes. Grill the gnocchi to add an extra layer of depth and texture to it and you have yourself something special. If you’re feeling like integrating a holiday staple into the dish, use sweet potatoes instead of potatoes and you’ll be making a leap while staying within familiar territory for your guests, a simultaneous trip outside and within comfort zones.

Rather than a steak or a dish that focuses on beef cuts in a similar way, use seitan, a wheat-meat stand-in that can do a remarkable job of holding up to heavy sauces, pastries, and hearty, savory sauces, as well as to rice and just about everything else. There’s a whole lot you can do with it around Thanksgiving, and it’s an easy way to put together a meatless centerpiece or side that’s still filling and substantive, something it’s easy to not deliver when trying to put together a vegetarian or vegan entree.

Hearty Root Vegetable Soups
There’s a lot you can do with the root vegetables available around this time of the year. The sweet potato is functional as a side in and of itself, turning fantastic simply roasted at the right temperatures and allowed to release its own sugars, coating itself in flavor. It can also be turned into many interesting soups built on vegetable broths, spices, and even chilies and curry powders.

The parsnip offers a distinct taste and was once used before the days of plentiful sugar in order to make pies and other desserts; it can be used in soups, sometimes alongside fruit such as recently harvested pears and apples, to create an interesting flavor combination that’s in or close to being in season, something always worth considering when preparing a Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner.

The squash – especially the butternut squash – can be turned into fantastic, heavy, filling vegan soups as well, showcasing the thick, often delicious flavors within their hard, beige skins. They’re absolutely worth making when the ingredients are plentiful, as they are at this point in the year.

Andrew Hall is a guest blogger for An Apple a Day and a writer on earning your online nursing degree for the Guide to Health Education.

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    November 2010
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