A couple of weekends ago, April and I were possessed by an undying yearning to create a vegan turducken. Neither of us have ever had turducken, so the yearning wasn’t borne of a primal craving for Cajun sweet meat. (I go to Popeye’s on April Fools when that happens.) Instead it was rooted in the desire to veganize something profoundly absurd.
Our journey into the world of strange stuffed unmeats began on the hottest day of Summer at May Wah, a mecca of Asian-style mock exotic animal parts. There we had our pick between several vegan varieties of mock chicken and duck. We ended up going with a very cheap cartoonish chicken the color and density of yellow Play-doh. It was molded into a poultry profile complete with a drumstick, a wing, a decapitated neck, and a homogeneously bumpy texture meant to simulate plucked chicken skin. (Oh, no detail was spared!) The duck was a bit more authentic; it looked like something you might find at a Brazilian churrascaria. Our turkey options were limited to a tofu-skinned wheat blob, as we could find only one egg-free loaf. All the ingredients cost us only $12.
Once we got back to April’s place, we slipped into our bathing suit bottoms, opened some beer, and popped the first season of Dallas into the DVD player. We were officially ready to rock! Our approach was quite simple. We sliced the turkey in half and piled duck chunks on top of of one half. We then placed our chicken atop of the pile before tossing on more duck chunks and finally the turkey top. After inserting a few dozen toothpicks to give our turducken stability, I caringly basted it with a homemade marinade of olive oil, Bragg’s, cider vinegar, and garlic. We then surrounded the alterna-beast with baby carrots and chunks of potatoes before baking it for about 45 minutes. (You can watch our exciting turducken photo tutorial here!)
Staying true to the first four letters of its name, the turducken tasted kind of crappy. At least, April and I thought so. Jason D., my girlfriend, and April’s omni roommate all felt differently–the three of them cleaned their plates.
It should come as no surprise that a brief tour of “vegan + turducken” on Google proves other vegans have had this idea before. LeftyMom created a traditional turducken using a smorgasbord of Chinese mock meats and a Tofurky holiday loaf. Beverly made a more porky Tofu-cken (pictured here) using vegan bacon, Field Roast sausages, and veggie dogs stuffed into a Tofurky holiday loaf. Pink Haired Girl took direction from Vegan with a Vengeance and stuffed chopped squash into another whole, larger squash. Sure this may be a far Hippier cry from traditional turducken, but it also looks the tastiest. (I’d bob for that turducken any day!)