wine pairing

What to pair with Tofurky?

tofurkyAround this time of year, wine bloggers, magazines and newspapers start printing their Thanksgiving wine pairing ideas. I usually don’t write about my wine pairing strategy, but rather post what I am going to drink or actually did drink on the festive occasion. This year, I feel it is my duty as a vegetarian to post my wine pairing ideas for Tofurky.

Ah Tofurky, that gloriously weird (even to a veggie) molded mock turkey that elicits giggles and ridicule from our non-vegetarian family members year after year.  As the name would imply, Tofurky is primarily made of tofu, with other protein-rich ingredients like soybeans, garbanzo beans and wheat gluten.  The “skin” is mysteriously textured and the inside is stuffed with a mixture of brown rice and whole wheat bread crumbs.  I think the key in pairing this wonderful “bird” with a wine is in the 3 basting options that are provided from the company.


Tofurky Baste – option 1:
3 tablespoons olive oil (or other vegetable oil)
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon ground sage

Tofurky Baste – option 2:
1/8 cup orange juice
1/8 cup soy sauce
1 Tablespoon sweetener of your choice.

Tofurky Baste – option 3:
1 tablespoon apricot jam or spread
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
2 tablespoons water

As you can see, the main ingredients in all of these are a type of oil and soy sauce. The Tofurky itself is like tofu in that it has a fairly neutral taste to it and typically takes on the flavor of the chosen baste. So barring a hugely tannic red wine, the pairing possibilities are quite extensive.

We primarily choose the first option above, because it is the more savory of the three, although we “freestyle” wih fresh sage and a bit of thyme.The wine I usually choose is a nice Cabernet Franc, preferably from Virginia or the Loire Valley. These wines are usually softer in nature and have great red fruit, earthy, herbal and vegetal notes that help to enhance the “herbiness” of the baste.

Since I usually don’t choose the sweeter basting options, I can’t speak from experience, though based on the ingredients I would probably choose a wine to enhance the tropical fruit notes of the basting concoction. Be careful though, the olive oil combined with the soy sauce does provide a distinct flavor and somewhat fatty texture. I would go with a fuller bodied Pinot Gris, a bone dry Riesling or even a Viognier.If all else fails, I love to fall back on a good ol’ dry Rose, which will go with almost everything on the table.

The other thing to consider is the fact that the vegetarians are typically the only ones bold enough to eat Tofurky.  If you choose to indulge, make sure that the wine you choose will go with the plethora of other foods that are being served.  More than likely you will be fine, because as my friend Lenn put it “there just isn’t a “perfect” pairing for anything”. With all of that said, drink what you like and it will almost definitely go with Tofurky, and green bean casserole etc…

If you are a Tofurky fan, please leave a comment letting me know what you pair with it.


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