Vegan Turkey (Gluten Free Recipe)

Vegan Thanksgiving plate with tofu turkey filled with heart-shaped stuffing and colored deviled eggs

♫ Listening to: Sugarland by Marnie ♫

This vegan turkey is organic and gluten free. It’s a healthy alternative to eating a dead animal on Thanksgiving.

I don’t mind the store bought tofurky. I actually really like the stuffing that the Turtle Island Tofurky has inside of it. Even Trader Joe’s had a vegan tofurky this year (I have one in my freezer, but haven’t actually sampled it yet).

However, as far as I know, all of the store-bought ones are high in gluten, and I have quite a few people in my life who try to avoid eating gluten. That is how the birth of the homemade gluten-free tofurkey came about.

There are basically 3 parts to making this: the tofu, the stuffing, and the marinade. I have made this vegan turkey using a traditional stuffing recipe, and it’s delicious. However, if you want yours to be completely gluten free, I recommend making a rice stuffing, like the one inside Tofurkey brand vegan turkey. I am modifying this recipe in 2022 to include a recipe for gluten-free stuffing for those of you who don’t already have one.

The photos in this post span a wide range of different years, so I hope it’s not confusing to follow. I make this recipe every thanksgiving and add new photos whenever I can.

Table of Contents

(click the links below to skip to the section you’re looking for)

Vegan Turkey Marinade Ingredients

  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • ½ cup braggs liquid aminos

Tofurkey Marinade Directions

Whisk together ¼ cup of olive oil (or any vegan oil you have) and ½ cup braggs liquid aminos.

Set aside until you need it.

Vegan Gluten-free Stuffing Ingredients

  • 2-4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, finely diced
  • 3-4 stalks celery, finely diced
  • 1-2 carrots, finely diced
  • 4-6 cloves of garlic, finely diced
  • 1 teaspoon thyme
  • 1 tablespoon sage
  • 1 ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • 1 cup of brown rice (any size grain works, but I used medium grain)
  • 1 cup of white sushi rice (or ¾ cup sushi rice plus ¼ cup forbidden rice)
  • 3 cups of veggie broth

How To Make Vegan Gluten-free Stuffing

Sauté a diced yellow onion in 2-4 tablespoons olive oil until it starts to look transluscent.

Add 3-4 stalks of diced celery, 1-2 diced carrots, and 4-6 finely diced or minced cloves of garlic. Stir.

finely chopped carrot and celery

Add the following dried spices: 1 teaspoon thyme, 1 tablespoon sage, 1 ½ teaspoon salt, and ½ teaspoon pepper. Stir.

Measure or weigh 2 cups of mixed rice and pour it into a strainer.

Rinse the rice for at least 1 minute.

Add the rice to the pot of sauteéd veggies, along with 3 cups of veggie broth.

Cook the same way you would cook any rice.

a large spoonful of gluten-free rice stuffing

Optional: Forming the Stuffing into a Heart Shape

Prepare a heart-shaped sushi mold by lining it with cling wrap.

preparing a heart-shaped sushi mold to fill with gluten-free rice stuffing

Fill it with gluten-free stuffing.

Press the mold closed to form the shape and then freeze it for 15-20 minutes.

Remove the cling wrap carefully from the mold and set the stuffing shape back into the freezer.

heart-shaped sushi mold filled with gluten-free rice stuffing

Repeat to make a second stuffing tube. You’ll need both to fill the tofurkey later.

Tofurkey Ingredients

Dollhouse Shortcut

If you don't have smoked sea salt, you can use 1 teaspoon of regular sea salt and 10 drops of liquid smoke.

  • 3 packages (~1 pound each) extra-firm organic tofu*
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon smoked sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon salt

How To Make Vegan Turkey

Rinse the 3 packages (~1 pound each) extra-firm organic tofu.

Wrap each block in a kitchen tea towel. Leave them wrapped as long as possible, preferably overnight in the fridge.

a block of tofu wrapped in a tea towel

Make the stuffing while you wait for the moisture to wick out of the tofu.

Squeeze the tofu to get all the extra moisture out of it.

squeezing the tofu through a tea towel to get all the moisture out

Crumble the tofu into a bowl.

Add 1 teaspoon garlic powder, 1 teaspoon onion powder, 1 teaspoon smoked sea salt, and ½ teaspoon salt to the tofu.

Mix with your hands (or I guess you can use a spoon).

Line a mold with cheesecloth. I just started using this kind because it’s reusable, whereas the other kind was one-use only. Just make sure if you buy these reusable ones that you open the package a couple of days before you want to use them. The one in the picture below is from Whole Foods and is the disposable kind.

making vegan tofu turkey for thanksgiving

If you don’t have access to cheesecloth, you can use parchment paper or a tea towel in a pinch. Feel free to use anything as your mold…a loaf pan, a bowl, etc. I’ve used the following types of pans over the years: cake pans, bread pans, and bundt pans (mini and large). You can see pictures of me using different shapes and sizes of pans below.

Press tofu into the mold to line the entire surface area of your mold with tofu. You want to make it approximately ½ – 1” thick, depending on the size of your mold and how much tofu you have. Press the tofu down with your fist and/or palm to make sure it’s packed tightly.

Fill your tofu-lined dish with stuffing. Press the stuffing into the mold making sure that no spaces of air are left. Continue until the mold is filled completely.

filling the vegan turkey with vegan stuffing

Tofu and stuffing for vegan thanksgiving

Add remaining tofu on top, if you have any left. This isn’t needed, but helps it to look more like the tofurkey you buy at Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s.

adding more tofu to the top of the stuffing to enclose it

If you did add more tofu, then you’ll want to baste it with your marinade now.

adding the first coat of marinade

Bake the vegan turkey at 400º for 10-20 minutes, only if your mold is oven safe. If it isn’t, continue to the next steps. Remove from the oven after the first bake.

Turn mold over onto an oven-safe pan (with sides) to bake tofurkey on, and tug on the cheesecloth if it doesn’t come out on its own. Lift off the mold.

a photo collage of the process of flipping the tofurkey over and removing the mold

Peel the cheesecloth off carefully so as to not allow any tofu to crumble off of the shape you have created with your mold.

tofu turkey ready to be basted

Baste entire surface area of the tofurkey with marinade, including the sides. I used a silicone basting brush, but you can use whatever you have (even your hands). That entire process of molding the tofurkey in the pan with the stuffing and prepping it to go into the oven takes me 30-40 minutes.

basting the vegan turkey

Bake at 400º for 20 minutes. You can cover it with foil if you’re concerned about it drying out. I’ve done it both ways: covering with foil and not covering it with foil. I honestly can’t tell the difference.

Remove the vegan turkey from the oven, rebaste, and return to oven uncovered for 15 minutes.

Repeat this removing and rebasting every 15 minutes for 3-4 rounds (equalling a total baking time of 45-60 minutes, depending on the size and shape of your tofurkey.

Remove from the oven.

Vegan Thanksgiving Tofu Turkey just out of the oven

Slice and serve.

Vegan Thanksgiving Tofu Turkey sliced with stuffing inside

pouring vegan gravy onto Vegan Thanksgiving Tofu Turkey and mashed potatoes

a plate of vegan tofurkey stuffed with gluten-free rice stuffing and a side of deviled potatoes

If you happen to have any leftovers, I suggest reading this blog post to inspire you to make leftover sandwiches.

I recommend serving this with my gluten-free crustless pumpkin pie.

Video of Me Making Vegan Turkey

Here’s a live stream video of me making this vegan turkey.

Vegan Thanksgiving meal on a plate

Here are some old pictures from past years of making this.

making vegan tofu turkey for thanksgiving

making vegan tofu turkey for thanksgiving

making vegan tofu turkey for thanksgiving

making vegan tofu turkey for thanksgiving

making vegan tofu turkey for thanksgiving

basting the vegan turkey

tofu and stuffing with cheesecloth

Vegan Thanksgiving Tofu Heart w/ stuffing

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* I use mostly organic ingredients when I cook, but I realize that not everyone has the disposable income to purchase all organic ingredients. Therefore, I only specify organic on the ingredients that really matter: when buying the organic—or non-GMO—version is the only way to ensure that the item is vegan.

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