You won’t find “turkey” brine recipes like this on Food Network. If you want a “turkey” brine recipe you can use on Tofurky or a nice Quorn roast this holiday season, welcome! This isn’t the turkey brine Martha Stewart recommends, it’s not the turkey brine Alton Brown may use, but vegans and vegetarians will get as much enjoyment as everyone else out of Thanksgiving while keeping their consciences clear.
“Brine” is a soak for your turkey substitute used to add flavor and juiciness– and you can use it without animals. It’s also used in making gravy, either directly from the brine or traditionally from the “drippings” of turkey. Your brine can be made 24 hours in advance, so your substitute has a day to soak before cooking as Kim O’Donnel at the Washington Post sometimes suggests (as do many other turkey eaters). You could let your roast soak overnight, if time is a factor.
Most brine recipes are intended for 10-18 pounds of meat, like the recipe described by Sheri Gailey at Allrecipes. Your roast may be much smaller; if so, downscale accordingly, or you’ll wind up with much wasted brine.
Here are the basic ingredients you will need:
1 Gallon (cold) water
1 ½ cups salt
1 gallon vegetarian broth
Main cooking materials:
5 gallon bucket (used by most, like Jim Phelps)
(You may use a smaller container if you plan on downscaling — at your discretion!)
One large pot
Here are optional ingredients; I recommend keeping it to 5 or less, to avoid over-seasoning:
2 cups brown sugar
1 Tablespoon rosemary
10 cloves crushed garlic
1 Tablespoon sage
8 crumbled bay leaves
1 Tablespoon thyme
1 Tablespoon savory
6 Tablespoons pepper
Orange or lemon zest
1. Heat broth on your stovetop in large pot. Add chosen salt, spices, and/or sugar. Stir often! Once finer materials have dissolved and mixture boils, remove pot from heat and let it cool.
2. Pour mix into bucket; add cold water. Stir.
3. Wet roast; sink it into mixture. Phelps recommends placing a plate on to weigh down, if necessary. You can add ice for weight/coolness, if needed. Keep covered in cold place (maybe the fridge) overnight or as long as one day. You can turn roast over occasionally if concerned with flavor distribution.
4. Remove roast from mixture, rinse off, pat dry. Use remaining mixture to avoid waste– perhaps in gravy or stuffing. Discard leftovers.
5. Cook your roast in the oven or as desired. Keep an eye on it and try to remember that when cooking a meat substitute in a specialized manner, any packaged instructions no longer apply. You can probably count on a reduced cooking time, so monitor progress carefully as not to burn.
Following these instructions should yield such a delicious part of the feast that even the meat-eaters will be jealous. Pardon a turkey this year and enjoy a vegetarian Thanksgiving!
Kim O’Donnel, What’s Cooking With Kim O’Donnel, The Washington Post
Sheri Gailey, Turkey Brine, Allrecipes
Jim’s Turkey Brine Recipe, Jim Phelps