There was once a time when vegan holiday meals were extremely limited. Years ago, when celebrating amongst a mixed company of eaters, vegans had to make their own plant-based feast for one, or survive the dinner by picking through the few veggie sides that didn’t include butter, cream, or meat drippings. The vegan food market has dramatically evolved since then, particularly within the plant-based meat category, and vegan holiday roasts are officially “in.” Keep reading to find the perfect festive vegan centerpiece that everyone will enjoy.
Tofurky, founded in 1979, is a veteran in the vegan roast market. The all-natural, plant-based company launched commercial production of its signature Tofurky Holiday Roast in 1995 and built a loyal fanbase throughout the decades. This year, the company celebrated an impressive milestone, officially selling five-million Holiday Roasts as of this Thanksgiving. It’s no surprise. The tender, savory roast is made of seasoned seitan and tofu, giving it a meaty chew and satisfying taste. The round is filled with wild rice and breadcrumb stuffing and comes with a side of vegan gravy. Beyond the original, Tofurky fans can opt for the Year-Round Ham Roast, Ham Roast with Amber Ale Glaze (seasonal), or pick up an entire holiday meal with the company’s latest holiday product, The Feast. The box is packed with an original Holiday Roast, gravy, and nondairy chocolate cheesecake. Tofurky is making it easier than ever to have a very happy holiday.
Like Tofurky, Gardein is another company that helped to popularize plant-based meat. It’s known for vegan meaty snack foods such as its addictive chicken and fish-free fingers, sticky chickenless wings, and saucy beetles strips, but come holiday season, Gardein offers two outstanding main meal options: The Savory Stuffed Turk’y includes two individual-sized Turk’y roasts made from soy and wheat-gluten, each breaded for a crispy-on-the outside, tender-on the-inside bite. Each is filled with moist, wild rice stuffing studded with tart cranberries. The box also includes a packet of gravy. Gardein’s more traditional Holiday Roast is similar; it also includes the cranberry wild rice stuffing and a crispy-breaded exterior, but the package contains one large roast big enough to serve eight (including gravy, of course). Pick up the Turk’y if it’s just for you, or choose the Roast to feed a crowd.
3. The Herbivorous Butcher
Based in Minneapolis, MN, The Herbivorous Butcher has garnered national attention. The small, brother-and-sister-run company was even featured on the Food Network’s hit show, “Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives.” Due to the demand for their products rising from all corners of the nation, the company created a way to ship its products to the hungry masses. While the Holiday Feast sales have closed, you can still order certain items a la carte. The two-and-a-half pound Ham Roast is a wintertime classic, but for something new, try the Porterhouse Steak. Can’t wait for shipping? Some vegan markets and natural food stores carry Herbivorous Butcher meats and cheeses. It’s definitely worth a drive.
4. Field Roast
What’s better than a succulent vegan holiday roast? A vegan holiday roast wrapped in puff pastry. Field Roast’s Hazelnut Cranberry Roast En Croute features hazelnut-infused vegan meat stuffed with rosemary, candied ginger, and sausage stuffing, all encased in a layer of buttery, flaky puff pastry. The company’s other option, the Celebration Roast, is equally appealing, with different flavor notes. The sage- and garlic-rubbed roast is filled with a traditional bread stuffing dotted with butternut squash and cranberries, accompanied by a packet of flavorful porcini mushroom gravy. Can’t decide between the two? Get both. They freeze well!
5. Trader Joe’s
Trader Joe’s has stepped up its vegan game this past year, and it’s going all-out for the holidays with its Breaded Turkey-less Stuffed Roast. The tender, plant-based meat is generously packed with wild rice and cranberry stuffing, served with a side of gravy. While you’re at the store, pick up a few other vegan TJ holiday essentials!
6. Native Foods
Those who live near a Native Foods might be familiar with the restaurant’s annual Wellington, but this year, the eatery decided to go in a different direction. Native claims that its new Holiday Roast has been even more popular than its much-beloved Wellington, and it is bringing the roast back for Thanksgiving. The rosemary-seasoned centerpiece is stuffed with far more than, well, stuffing. Cut in to find hearty bites of sweet potato, garlicky mashed potatoes, tender kale, pops of cranberries, and sweet notes of apple. Slather on the mushroom shallot gravy, and you’ve got an an entire meal in a single bite.
Tanya Flink is a writer and journalist living in Orange County, CA.