Trader Joe’s Vegan Turkey-Less Stuffed Roast with Gravy. Let me say right up front, that I’m not a vegan, but I know there are a ton of you out there that are so I know there are a lot of questions about fake meat for vegans. Trader Joe’s has done a great job of catering to the vegan ands vegetarians out there so it goes as no surprise that they have some of the best non-meat meats. I have seen this fake Turkey roast for the past few years, but I never paid attention to it because I wasn’t doing this blog. I hear from others on the web that this year is a new formulation and better than previous years. We shall see since I am coming at it from the point of a meat eater…
The price is $9.99 for 40 oz of food. In the package you get a Turkey-less “roast” and a whole mess of gravy. The roast is stuffed with a fairly standard type stuffing that you would have at Thanksgiving. Bread, onions, celery, wild rice, spices, oil and so on.
The “roast” itself is a combination of Soy, wheat gluten, potato starch, oil, ancient grain flour (which is several ingredients itself) and then the rest is basically seasonings and binders. The picture on the box looks pretty appetizing. It looks like you can almost see the texture of the fake turkey flesh. Also, the picture looks very similar to what you get in the box. The only negative is that the “roast” looks a little machine made like it came out of a mold, which I’m sure it did.
I followed the directions to the letter for oven baked and while it was roasting there was a really nice aroma coming from the oven. When the timer went off, I quickly heated some of the gravy that came in a separate pouch. They sure did give a lot of gravy. Of the 40 ounces, I would say that a 1/3 of that is gravy! So anyway, I took the baking dish out of the oven and sliced a some of the roast off. Put it on a plate and spooned some gravy over it. I did taste the gravy on it’s own and it was just OK for me, nothing to write home about. You could probably fiddle with it a bit and jazz it up if you want and I think that is the key to this Turkey-less roast. It’s OK on it’s own out of the box, but I think you could enhance it with a few mods.
So, how did it taste? Not half bad! Some of these meatless dishes sometimes taste of soy or are rubbery or bland. I thought the flavor was very near that of a roasted turkey, of course without and real turkey flavor. The texture was also fairly close to that of Turkey, with a very slight rubberyness that you wouldn’t find in real meat, but it was hardly a distraction. The downside was the stuffing. I followed the directions exactly and the stuff was not cooked through. The celery was still very crunchy, although hot and a thermometer showed that it was to temperature. I might cook it another 15 minutes or so. All in all not bad for fake turkey meat!
If I made this Turkey-less roast again, I would definitely follow the recipe on the side of the box where they suggest roasting it with vegetables and olive oil and seasonings. I think some carrots, celery, onions and potatoes with more salt and pepper would be the way to go. It would infuse the roast with those roasted vegetable flavors and make for a better all around dish.
Seeing that I’m not a vegan, I am going to rate this as if I weren’t. In the end, it has to taste good no matter what the product is. I have to admit I was quite surprised it was as good as it was. No weird flavors for me in this, just some textural issues and some under cooked stuffing. I can fix the stuffing thing by cooking it longer but I think you’ll always have some texture issues no matter how slight they are. I probably wouldn’t buy this again unless I had some hard core vegans coming over for dinner, but that doesn’t mean that it wasn’t decent and to that end I am going to give this 8 Bells!
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