I'm going to be posting several Thanksgiving-inspired dishes in the next few weeks. Turkey is, for obvious reasons central to the Thanksgiving meal, but if you're a vegetarian like my husband Lulu, Thanksgiving is also synonymous with many other dishes. I'll share them with you but since it's Monday, I'm going to continue to support the Meatless Monday campaign that encourages people to not eat meat on Mondays to improve their health and the health of the planet.
Tofurkey is a great meat substitute for the holiday. Making your own faux turkey isn't that complicated. I prepared a chickpea and crouton filling. I used thin lemon grass stalks to resemble the turkey legs and wrapped the whole thing in tofu skin. I cooked the tofurkey legs with fried tofu pieces and white cabbage. The glazing of maple syrup and soy sauce completed this tasty dish. This homemade meat-substitute is not only delicious but also packed with protein.
Servings: 8 servings
8 brown mushrooms, finely chopped
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1½ cups white cabbage, coarsely chopped
¼ cup maple syrup
¼ tablespoon soy sauce (see tips)
¾ teaspoon liquid lecithin
¾ teaspoon xanthan gum
2 cups Italian-seasoned croutons, store-bought
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
8 ounces chickpeas, rinsed and drained
½ cup Italian parsley, finely chopped
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning (or your favorite dried herbs)
4 thin lemon grass stalks, cut into quarters
1 (4-sheet) package frozen fresh bean curd (see tips), thawed
10 ounces fried tofu pieces, cut into half
2 cloves garlic, freshly grated
6 tablespoons olive oil
1 white onion, cut into thin wedges
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
For the chickpea filling:
Place the croutons in a food processor and pulse until they become a coarse mill. Set aside.
In a large non-stick pan, heat 1 tablespoon oil. Add the garlic. Pan-fry until lightly golden and slightly crunchy. Add the chopped mushrooms. Cook until shiny. Add 1 tablespoon parsley. Season with salt and pepper.
Lightly oil the bowl of a food processor with a silicone brush. Add the chickpeas. Coarsely blend until a thick paste is formed. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer the paste into a bowl. Add the ground croutons, the rest of the parsley and mushrooms. Using a spatula, mix well. Adjust seasoning with more salt and pepper if necessary.
In a bowl, combine the xanthan gum, 1½ teaspoons of olive oil and liquid lecithin (or one lightly beaten egg, see tips). Add the xanthan gum / lecithin mixture to the mashed chickpeas. The mixture will thicken. Add Italian seasoning and mustard. Mix well.
Preparing tofurkey legs:
Form the chickpea patties around the lemon grass stalks, shaping them into little legs and wrap in tofu skin.
Heat a large, non-stick pan with the oil. Once the oil is hot, place the tofurkey legs into the hot pan. Make sure to space them apart so they don't touch each other. Lower the heat to medium-high and pan-fry until the tofu skin is golden. Cook for about 4-5 minutes until the golden crust is crispy on the outer layer. Transfer to a plate.
In the pan, add the tofu pieces, maple syrup, balsamic vinegar and soy sauce. Stir constantly until all the sauce is evenly distributed. Toss well for 2-3 minutes and add white cabbage. Check seasoning (add more salt if necessary). Add black pepper. Turn off the heat. Return the tofurkey legs. Keep on the stove for about 5 minutes. Transfer to a serving platter. Garnish with more parsley.
I used Bourbon Barrel aged blue grass soy sauce.
You can find bean curd in most Asian markets. It's also called tofu skin and yuba. It's sold in 4-sheet packages; it's a very large oval folded into quarters. You could also use the dried version. Simply moisten it with a warm, damp towel.
Xanthan gum is a fine powder used as a binder and emulsifier. If you look at the list of ingredients for salad dressings and ice cream at the supermarket, you'll find that they contain xanthan gum. I use it for texture and as an egg white substitute. You can find it online or in any specialty food store such as Whole Foods.
I use liquid lecithin as an egg yolk substitute. You can also find this online or in specialty food stores like Whole Foods. You can replace both the xanthan gum and lecithin with one lightly beaten egg.
I buy Maille brand Dijon mustard at Safeway. You can also find it in specialty stores such as Whole Foods and in many regular grocery stores.