Wednesday, November 25, 2009

30 and counting.....I Can't Believe It's Not Turkey!

Here are the last three recipes from our Food Network Challenge roster. They are all 3 vegetarian, and can easily be made vegan if you sub out the butter (and use vegan marshmallows).
Send us your Thanksgiving recipes and your thoughts on ours! We're always looking for a way to make it all better. To good eating and good health! Happy Thanksgiving!

(I have had so many requests for this recipe. I hope it lives up to all your meatless hopes and dreams. Improvements and suggestions welcome!)




5 blocks extra firm tofu

1 cup panko

1 tbsp nutritional yeast

1 tbsp fresh sage, chopped

1 tbsp fresh rosemary, chopped

1 tbsp fresh thyme, chopped

2 tbsp fresh chives, chopped

1 tsp kosher salt

1 tsp cayenne pepper

2 tsp dijon mustard

¼ cup red wine

¼ cup balsamic vinegar

2 vegetable boullion cubes, dissolved in
¼ cup boiling water

1 tbsp olive oil

Ground black pepper to taste


Press tofu blocks between clean dishtowels and press with weighted cookie sheet for at least 1 hr.(even overnight if you have the time and inclination) While tofu is draining, in a small bowl, whisk together herbs, Dijon, red wine, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, and boullion. Set aside. Once tofu has drained, place blocks into food processor (as many as will fit, this can be done in stages.). Whip until it reaches the consistency of ricotta cheese, smooth and blended. Transfer to a large mixing bowl. Pour the set aside marinade over the tofu and fold until thoroughly combined. Then fold in panko and nutritional yeast. Transfer tofu mixture into greased loaf pan. Refrigerate to set at least 1 hour (again, overnight would work, too). Bake at 400 degrees for 1 hour. (Tofu can be baked longer to achieve desired dryness)


For vegetarian gravy:

1 tbsp butter

2 tbsp flour

1 clove chopped garlic

1/2 tsp poultry seasoning

1 tsp chopped dried onions

3 cups Imagine brand ‘no chicken’ stock

Salt, pepper to taste


Melt butter in medium sauce pan. Add flour stir until completely combined with the butter. Cook 1 minute. Add stock and stir until butter-flour mixture is completely dissolved. Add garlic, poultry seasoning, and dried onions. Let simmer while stirring until it thickens to desired consistency. Salt and pepper to taste.


**I ‘invented’ this dish after a lot of online research on ways to make tofu taste like meat. It’s by no means perfect. I am revamping it for this year’s Thanksgiving meal, and I will post the recipe as soon as it’s ready. Already, I know I would substitute ground rolled oats for the panko. They bind better and keep the recipe gluten-free. I have to say, it was a very proud moment when the loaf came out of the pan on national TV and looked absolutely gorgeous. The show focused so much on Tofu vs. Turkey. Big deal! I think they can co-exist peacefully on any Thanksgiving table.




Spicy Candied Pecans for topping:

1 tbsp of unsalted butter

1 ½ cups pecans

2 tsp sugar

¼ tsp cayenne pepper


For casserole:

4 large sweet potatoes

½ cup sugar

1 egg, beaten

1 stick of butter

½ cup soymilk creamer

2 tsp vanilla extract

Pinch of salt

1 bag mini marshmallows


Spicy Pecans:

Sift together 2 tsp sugar and ¼ tsp cayenne pepper and a tiny pinch of salt. In a skillet, melt butter. Over med-low heat, add pecans and cook, stirring often until the nuts brown (5min). Sprinkle sugar-cayenne mixture
over the pecans and stir until the sugar dissolves. Empty pecans onto parchment paper. Let cool. Chop into med-small chunks. Set aside.


Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Peel potatoes and boil in salted water until tender. Drain and mash with fork or potato masher until all potatoes
are broken down. Add egg, sugar, butter, evaporated milk, vanilla and combine. Once combined, beat with an immersion hand blender until whipped and fluffy.Pour mixture into greased casserole dish and bake 25 minutes. Remove from oven and coat with mini marshmallows and chopped spicy pecans. Return to oven and bake 5-10 more minutes until topping is golden.


**This dish is always billed as ‘the one thing Becca can cook.’ She’s such a good sport. She’s actually quite
capable in the kitchen. John Besh said he wanted to eat a whole pan of her sweet potatoes. (I’ll save for another day the story of the time she managed to both burn Mom’s birthday dinner and shatter several pyrex dishes all in one evening.)



3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

3 cloves of garlic, minced

1 tsp thyme

1 tbsp fresh sage, chopped

1 medium onion, diced

1 lb shiitake mushrooms, sliced

1 cup unsweetened pumpkin

1 cup Arborio rice

4-6 cups of Imagine brand ‘no chicken’ stock

¼ tsp nutmeg

Salt & pepper to taste

Flour to sprinkle

¼ cup soymilk creamer (if desired to add creaminess to
finished dish)

1 bunch of fresh sage, sliced into ribbons, 1 tbsp butter for


Combine stock and pumpkin puree in a medium saucepan and keep hot, but not boiling, over a low flame. Heat 1 tbsp of olive oil in a large sauté pan, add onion and cook until translucent. Stir in garlic and thyme. Add
in rice and sauté for 3-5 min, not allowing it to brown, stirring frequently. Next, add 2 full cups of stock, stirring constantly until all liquid is absorbed. Continue to add stock a ½ cup at a time, until all stock is absorbed, always stirring. Remove from heat and add 1 tbsp of olive oil (and/or soy creamer if desired) stir until smooth.


For sage garnish: melt 1 tbsp of butter in small sauté pan, sauté sage until thoroughly browned and crispy.


**We made ‘risotto cakes’ on the show. They didn’t work! In the judging segment (the portion they didn’t air!) Michelle Bernstein (whom I adore) recommended that we form the cakes on a baking sheet, without the flour, and refrigerate them for 30min-1hr and then flour them just a tiny bit and pan fry. It changed the way I cook. It’s so simple. Now, I don’t make a burger/patty without allowing time for them to set in the fridge. Thank you, Chef Michy!


Veggie said...

I agree. I watched that show last night. Thanks for so much for posting the recipe it was so nice to see a veggie option for a change.

Shelley said...

Thank you for posting your recipes from the Food Network Challenge Family Thanksgiving Feast. We are from Canada, so our Thanksgiving is early, this weekend actually. I searched through google after the show and found your recipe and your blog! I can't wait to make the "I can't beleive its not Turkey Tofu loaf". My daughter is vegetarian and I have been searching for just the right thing. After the show I knew this was it. I hope I can make it as good as it looked on tv. Wish me luck.

Denise said...

Hi Sarah,
Just saw the Thanksgiving Challenge and was really impressed by the Tofu Loaf. It looked fantastic, and I was delighted to find you'd kindly posted the recipe, especially as Thanksgiving is in less than a week here in Canada.
When you say "blocks" of tofu, what size do you mean? I ask because most American cookbooks seem to call for 1lb blocks, but I can't get those here, so I have to measure by weight.
Thank you so much!

Laurie McCormick said...

Hi Sarah!

So excited to see these recipes online after watching the Thanksgiving Challenge! Thanks for sharing!

So for our Canadian Thanksgiving, I made both you tofu loaf (with the gravy) and sweet potatoes. All were delicious!

For the tofu loaf, it ended up making 2 loaves, so in the future I may cut the recipe in half. I also doubled the amount of wine, balsamic vinegar, and dijon and that made it quite tasty. Next time I think I'll try adding some sort of nut for texture - thinking walnuts or almonds, and also some earthy tasting mushrooms. It was very nice though to have such a tasty tofu for our Thanksgiving dinner, so thank-you so much for sharing your ideas :)


Anonymous said...

I am so glad that you posted these. I just watched a rerun of your challenge episode. I went to the Food Network site and was sadly informed that the recipes from the episode were no longer available. This Thanksgiving I am thankful for Google!


Huntress said...

I've been looking for the tofu 'turkey' loaf recipe since I first saw it on the Food Network--thanks so much for posting this!