by, Tracey H.
Last month was my vegan-aversary, which means I changed my diet (and lifestyle) just one month before my family’s holiday season kicked off. I felt intimidated! So many of my holidays in the past centered around an animal on the table as the centerpiece, and I knew I never wanted to do that again.
I’m grateful that I had a few vegan friends nearby at the time who were amazing support systems for me as I learned how to decipher the grocery store in a whole new way and cook things I had never tried!
At that point, I felt like I needed some kind of centerpiece food that would feel like a replacement for the holiday turkey or ham I was used to. Thankfully, many vegan-friendly companies make frozen roasts for the holiday season!
Here I will share three different frozen roasts I’ve already cooked up and enjoyed in the last week.
Tofurky Ham Style Roast with Amber Glaze Sauce
If you are used to ham as the centerpiece of a holiday, this roast is a great substitute! I cooked it according to instructions and was quickly surprised by how great it made the house smell as it baked! Adding on the glaze for the last 15 minutes made everything smell even better. I thinly sliced the roast and served it with a side of mashed sweet potatoes, porcini mushroom farro, and a side salad with vegan honey mustard dressing from Follow Your Heart.
I was impressed by the texture of the roast and loved the seasoning and glaze. It is pretty sweet so in hindsight, I would rather plate it with mashed Yukon gold potatoes than sweet potatoes.
If you’re serving a large group I’d suggest baking multiple of these, thinly slicing them to present on a tray, and adding pineapple rings to the top. The Tofurky website also has a recipe suggestion for a bourbon glazed recipe to use on this roast – yum!
Whole Foods offers two versions of this same roast – one is two smaller-sized roasts in a single bag, and another is a 32-ounce roast that is one big roast. I chose to bake the two small roast option.
When I opened the bag, I was surprised by how small the roasts were, so I quickly also decided to cook the small Gardein brand roasts which I’ll review below!
I followed instructions exactly while cooking up two side dishes – mashed Yukon gold potatoes and steamed spinach with minced garlic and freshly squeezed lemon juice.
If you are cooking for a larger group, I recommend opting for the 32-ounce size roast, so you have a nice presentation once you slice it and add to plates. For something small (like the two of us I cooked for) the mini roasts were perfect. They were the perfect amount of crispy on the outside and heated through the inside. The stuffing in the middle was... a little bland. It’s fine, but if you’re used to being ‘wowed’ with stuffing, this may not be your favorite. (The Minimalist Baker has a great stuffing recipe.)
The gravy packet included was easy to thaw and cook on the stovetop.
And now... my favorite holiday roast! This brand’s roast quickly became my favorite three years ago when I was stressing over this new goal to have an animal cruelty-free Thanksgiving. I tried a few roasts back then and this one still remains my favorite.
Like 365 there are two options – one 35.2-ounce roast, and a bag of smaller-sized roasts.
Again, I made the smaller roasts since I’m only cooking for two.
There are three things I LOVE about the Gardein roasts. First, the texture on the outside. It’s crispy and breaded, and the breading doesn’t fall off easily. Secondly, the flavor of the stuffing inside is wonderful! It’s made with brown and wild rice, cranberries, and kale. The cranberries make all the difference! And lastly, the gravy is wonderful! It comes in a frozen packet just like the 365 roasts and you warm it up on your stovetop. It’s got a more interesting flavor and goes really well with the roast.
Honestly, you really can’t go wrong by just following the directions on any one of these roasts. It’s also nice that the glaze and gravies come included!
If you’re not sure you want to take on changing your menu for this holiday season, I have good news. There is plenty of time to try one (or more) of these and then decide! I stock up every November so I can pull one out periodically over the year when I want an easy cooking night.
Thank you for reading this far, and for considering creating a cruelty-free menu! For every one of us that chooses to do this, a sweet friend like Lurch or Clover lives to see another year.