Every Thanksgiving, my wife Ginger makes this amazing vegetarian turkey that is unlike any other meat substitute you’ll ever have. I love it because, not only is it incredibly tasty, it’s completely simple and non-processed – the essence of what I teach folks about diet. The fewer processed, packaged foods we include in our diets, the better off we are.
This turkey is made from the Indian curd cheese called paneer. Ginger actually makes the paneer herself, and teaches you how to do it in the recipe below. It’s so easy and everyone will love it! It has been a huge hit in our family for years.
Can’t eat dairy? Find out why in our article, “Dairy: Test Your Tolerance.”
Vegetarian Homemade “Turkey” for the Holidays
(Makes 12 ounces of paneer – homemade Indian curd cheese)
- 8 cups organic whole milk (non-homogenized, vat-pasteurized)
- 1/4 cup freshly squeezed organic lemon juice, plus more as needed
- Line a large colander with a large double layer of cheesecloth, and set it in your sink. Make sure the cheesecloth extends beyond the edges of the colander.
- In a large wide pot, bring the milk to a gentle boil over medium heat, stirring frequently to avoid burning the bottom. This takes a little while so be patient.
- Add the lemon juice and turn the heat down to low. Stirring gently, you should almost immediately see the curds (white milk solids) and whey (the yellowish liquid) separate.
- If the milk doesn’t separate, juice some more lemons and add another tablespoon or two. Boost the heat again and the milk should separate. Stir in a singular motion that gathers the curds together rather than breaks them up.
- Remove the pot from the heat and carefully pour the contents into the cheesecloth-lined colander. You may want to save the whey for other purposes, such as lacto-fermenting veggies, adding to soup, feeding your pets, baking with, or cooking grains with.
- Grab the ends of the cheesecloth and twist the ball of cheese to squeeze out the excess whey. Tie the cheesecloth to your kitchen faucet and allow the cheese to drain for about 5 minutes.
- Then place it on a plate with the twisted part of the cheesecloth on the side, this will ensure your block of cheese is nice and smooth. Then set another plate on top, weighing the second plate down with cans of beans or a heavy pot, if needed.
- This is a good time (while the paneer is firming up – about 20 minutes) to make your gravy (recipe below).
- Once firm, slice paneer into ¼ – ½ inch slices, and fry in a nonstick frying pan with 1-2 Tbsp of a mixture of butter and coconut oil over medium heat until it begins to have a golden brown color – 1-2 minutes on each side.
- Serve with the Amazing or Crazy Good Vegetarian Gravy, below.
Amazing Vegetarian Gravy
- 2 cups water
- 1 stick of butter (or ghee)
- 1/4 cup soy sauce (or coconut aminos, Bragg’s, or tamari)
- 1/2 cup flour of your choice (or chickpea flour or your flour of choice)
- In a sauce pan, melt all the butter over medium-low heat. Add the flour and lightly brown it, stirring with a wire whisk.
- Add the soy sauce while still whisking. It will thicken considerably and quickly.
- Then slowly add the water a little at a time while continuing to whisk until desired thickness is achieved.
Crazy Good Vegetarian Gravy (use all organic and non-gmo when possible)
(Makes 2 1/2 cups)
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil, butter, or ghee
- 1/3 cup chopped onion
- 5 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour (or chickpea flour or your flour of choice)
- 4 teaspoons nutritional yeast
- 4 tablespoons light soy sauce (or coconut aminos, Bragg’s or tamari)
- 2 cups vegetable broth
- 1/2 teaspoon dried sage
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat.
- Saute onion and garlic until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes.
- Stir in flour, nutritional yeast, and soy sauce to form a smooth paste.
- Gradually whisk in the broth.
- Season with sage, salt, and pepper.
- Bring to a boil.
- Reduce heat and simmer, stirring constantly, for 8 to 10 minutes or until thickened.
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What did you think of this recipe? Have any tips or tricks to share?