Food Vegetarian friendly

Review: Tofurky deli slices

Tofurky deli slices, a perfectly acceptable veggie alternative to meaty cold cuts — as long as you don't compare them directly to meaty cold cuts.

I’m not exactly a vegetarian, but I don’t eat a lot of meat. I also happen to like sandwiches, which means I sometimes struggle with what to put in them. Simple sandwiches with mustard, cheese and deli meats aren’t much of an option if I’m not big on meat, but I can’t help my cravings.

At some point, I realized the part of deli meat I like isn’t the meat itself – it’s the salt, smoke and spices. If there was some way to get all of those in a deli product without the meat, well, I’d be sold.

And that’s when my friend Ben told me about Tofurky deli slices.

I was hesitant at first. I’d tried a Tofurky Kielbasa a while back, and it was absolutely awful. (So awful, in fact, that I ate half a sausage, then threw away the rest of the pack, even though I hate throwing away food.) I’ve also tried less than amazing vegetarian deli slices that filled the void, but never wowed me. But Ben persisted, and after trying a pack of Tofurky Hickory Smoked slices, I was hooked.

To be clear, these are meant for sandwiches. On their own, you’re more likely to notice how they don’t taste exactly like the real thing, but in a sandwich, they’re great. I usually use three slices per sandwich, and combine it with other suitable toppings, sauces and cheeses. Together, it’s a great ensemble performance.

Some tasting notes on the three varieties I’ve tried so far:

Hickory Smoked: The label says they’re smoked in a real smokehouse, and they taste like it. Smoky-salty is the overall character. A little bit plain, but they’ll pair well with a whole lot of other sandwich toppings.

Peppered: I’ve always loved peppered turkey and salami, so this one is right up my alley. The pepper is spicy without being too hot. Tastes surprisingly like one of my favourite brands of real peppered turkey. Pair this with some pepper jack cheese, and you’ve got one hell of a sammich, bub.

Italian Deli: Lots of herbs and spices incorporated into the slice (well hello there, garlic breath!), but the big deal here is the sundried tomatoes. Yowza. I want to try making a grilled sandwich with some of these slices. Slather on some mustard, maybe some caramelised onions, and a slice of cheese.

A few Tofurky slices will usually do me just fine in a sandwich. They're best when they're part of the overall flavour, not the dominant flavour.

RATINGS AND DETAILS

Cost: $3.99 per 156 gram package.

Value for cash money: More per 100 grams than a typical deli meat, but still in the ballpark.

Availability: Hit and miss. Try organic/health/eco shops and larger supermarkets. In Edmonton, Earth’s General Store and Planet Organic carry some of the flavours.

Nutrition?: Between 100 and 110 calories per 52 grams (5 slices). Fortified with lots of vitamin goodness. Lots of protein, and a moderate amount of sodium.

Talking turkey: Yes, yes, you say. But do they really taste identical to turkey? Only to someone who hasn’t had turkey in 25 years.

The verdict: Great on a sandwich, less great when eaten on their own. If you’ve tried other vegetarian fake-meat slices before and weren’t impressed, you may find these considerably better. I know I did.

"Peppered" Tofurky deli slices, still in the package. The slices are stuck together, so you have to carefully pull them apart.

6 Comments

  1. Yum– I want that sandwich Great post. I am vegetarian and I like these, too. I don’t eat them often though (only because I eat the entire package too quickly). I’m crazy about tofu though. By the way, you can buy these slices at most safe-ways, too.

    • Well, I can assure you, the sandwich pictured was promptly eaten. 🙂 It’s one of my recent favourite sandwich recipes: Peppered Tofurky slices, jalapeño jack cheese, regular and honey mustard, and a bit of Bull’s-Eye Guinness BBQ sauce, slapped together between slices of fresh bread (sometimes from Fresh Start, sometimes from Prairie Mill, sometimes homemade). What’s your favourite sandwich recipe made with Tofurky slices?

      • Well, I’m nuts about condiments.. I could eat a sandwich with just condiments (forget the protein altogether). It’s usually not very pretty though.. But when I exercise restraint, I usually go with ajvar (from Italian centre), one of the 5 mustards in my fridge, lettuce, tomato, cuke. Because I also love vinegar, I may drizzle a little balsamic glaze, too. My bread of choice these days is from treestone–love their little baguettes.

  2. I buy these once every couple of months. I like that the Tofurky products use actual tofu and grains rather than isolated soy protein. Tonight my wife and I (we’re both vegan) had the pepperred variety with Veganaise, mustard, Follow Your Heart Monterey Jack, lettuce, and tomato. With a side of chive and (vegan) sour cream mashed potatoes. Your suggestion for the Italian Deli slices sounds great!

  3. Thanks for this entry. I read it a while ago but just got around to trying it today. Since I have become a Vegetarian I haven’t really felt the need to try faux meat products but just like you I love sandwiches. I bought the hickory smoked Tofurky and assembled a sandwich with fresh purple kale, tomato, Mozzarella cheese, homemade tofu mayo and the aforementined “meat”.I LOVED it! Thanks for reviewing this and introducing me to the product. I researched the company’s web site and was please to discover that their ingredients are non GMO and Organic. While I may not be an advocate of Faux meats I strongly recommend this to any vegetarian that is experiencing a sandwich withdrawal!

    • Thanks for commenting! 🙂 As noted, the part of deli meat I like most isn’t the meat — it’s the salt, smoke and seasoning. I don’t find these Tofurky products taste much like meat, but the texture has a nice bite, and the seasonings make it sandwich-worthy.

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