The Tofurky Dialogues

What’s Tofurky?

It’s a vegan “roast” made primarily from tofu and wheat gluten.  It smells strange, is oblong shaped, and said to taste like turkey, at least by vegans who’ve either never eaten real turkey or have very distant and feeble memories of having eaten turkey.

According to Turtle Island Foods, Tofurky is a gourmet vegan “roast and gravy” product made from “a revolutionary tofu-wheat protein blend, known for its incredible, turkey-like texture and flavor. “

Is it really “incredible” and “revolutionary”?

I might seem so if you’ve been dining on Approximeat,  Roast Almost, Veat, Soyloin, Sham Ham or Wham.

Tell me about that ingredient “vital wheat gluten?”

It gives the Tofurky creature its signature wet and wild look.    Having seen the creature naked and out of its box, I’d describe it as doughy, gluey, pasty and corpselike, not vital.   Only a gluten for punishment would recommend it, given how many people today suffer from gluten sensitivity and celiac disease.

If you aren’t gluten sensitive, would Tofurky be a good way to “practice safe soy” this Thanksgiving?

No, with a name like that you could die laughing . . .

Do you think it has health benefits?

Absolutely.   The taste and smell would keep you from overeating!

Seriously, isn’t it loaded with soy and flavored by MSG?

Hard to believe, but Tofurky actually has few flavorings compared to most meat analogue products and the Turtle Island company prides itself on rejecting spices with MSG.   The company also uses no soy protein isolate, soy protein concentrate,  hydrolyzed plant protein, textured vegetable protein or other modern, industrialized soy proteins manufactured using high temperatures, high pressure, acid and alkaline baths and hexane solvents.   And Turtle Island takes care to use only non GMO ingredients.   The biggest problem by far is the wheat gluten!  That’s the second ingredient, after water, which is the first.   I’m also no fan of canola oil though I’m glad the canola oil in Tofurky is non GMO.

Canola oil in Tofurky?   Why not soy oil?

Soy oil’s in there too as it comes naturally in the tofu.  I guess they decided there was no reason to soy-l it more!   The added lube comes from canola oil, and the idea that it’s healthy is a great con-ola.   If you don’t want the Tofurky bird to dry out, you are instructed to baste it with olive oil during the roasting process.

Sounds like a lot of oil.  I thought the Tofurky was a low-fat bird?

Hardly.  The creature is a shapeless blob with no bones or muscles whatsoever.   It’s so fat it can’t even move unless you bind it tightly with shrink wrap, put it on top of a hill and give it a push.

How good is the fat in a real turkey?

No good at all if you are talking about supermarket brands “buttered up” with injections of soy oil , water and MSG.   The problem is there’s no real butter in there!

How’s the fat found naturally in turkey?

Dr. Mary Enig says the fatty acid profile of  turkey meat depends on the source, and it varies depending upon the diet fed the turkey.   Typical fatty acid composition of turkey fat in the U.S. is less than 1 percent myristic acid, 22 percent palmitic acid, 6 percent palmitoleic acid, 6 percent stearic acid, 38 percent oleic acid, 22 percent omega 6 linoleic acid and 1 percent omega 3 linolenic acid.     People are always surprised that poultry contains so much monounsaturated fat.   The oleic and palmitoleic acids together come to 44 percent monounsaturates.    These figures would probably not change much with the organic turkeys sold in the chain health food stores because they are still fed corn and soy, just not GMO corn and soy.  Few of those turkeys spend enough time in the great outdoors to be considered free range.  Best to get heritage-breed turkeys that hunt and peck and eat bugs,worms and grass in the wild.   The omega 3 and EPA, DHA fatty acid levels in those turkeys are much improved.

If you were going to serve Tofurky, how would you improve the taste?

Wrap it well with bacon and roast.    Real bacon, not fakin’ bakin, of course.   Eat the bacon, hide the Tofurky in your napkin and toss.

Do the PETA folks like Tofurky?

You betcha!    Last year PETA campaigned to rename Turkey, Texas, Tofurky, Texas.  The town demurred even though PETA offered a full course vegan Thanksgiving meal for the entire town if they changed their name.    I think the gun totin’ Texans must have fired at the PETA people because this year they didn’t go back.

What did Dr. Seuss think of Tofurky?

Dunno, though I think he kept a flock of Australorps X Ameracauna hens for the green eggs he liked with his ham.  If he’d actually met a Tofurky,  I think we’d have deathless prose such as, “Why did Tofurky cross the road?  Did he cross it with a toad?  Yes, Tofurky crossed the road, but how it crossed I’ve not been told.”

Tofurky doesn’t have a leg to stand on so how could Tofurky possibly cross the road?

Tofurky could roll if given a good push.   If  it crossed on its own, we’d have to ask, did Tofurky really cross the road or did the road move under Tofurky?

Why did Tofurky cross the road?

To see Gregory Peck?

Gregory can no longer peck.   Why did Tofurky cross the road?

To meet up with Mr. Tofu?

Mr. Tofu “met his match” at the LA Tofu Festival.   Why did Tofurky cross the road?

To go to the dork side!

Kaayla T. Daniel, PhD, CCN, is The Naughty NutritionistTM because of her ability to outrageously and humorously debunk nutritional myths. A popular guest on radio and television, she has appeared on The Dr. Oz Show, ABC's View from the Bay, NPR's People's Pharmacy and numerous other shows. Her own radio show, "Naughty Nutrition with Dr. Kaayla Daniel," launches April 2011 on World of Women Radio. Dr. Daniel is the author of The Whole Soy Story: The Dark Side of America's Favorite Health Food, a popular speaker at Wise Traditions and other conferences, and recipient of its 2005 Integrity in Science Award. Her website is and she can be reached at

2 Responses to The Tofurky Dialogues

  1. Andrew says:

    So, basically, this is a comedy piece with no actual information. You’re just making fun of a product you don’t like. You don’t get paid for this, do you?

  2. Elza says:

    This is hilarious! Thanks!

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