Spanksgiving Faux-Turkey

I first made a version of this with my excellent pals Nick and Uncle Nathan for Friend Thanksgiving years and years ago. I don’t know where Uncle Nathan found the recipe, but over the years it’s become Amy’s and my staple Spanksgiving centerpiece. What’s great about this (aside from being delicious) is that it doesn’t attempt to mock a turkey; this means that (a) if you’re giving spanks with omnivores, they might enjoy this too (Amy’s dad ate some at Spanksgiving and had some instead of turkey the next day for leftovers), and (b) you can start a new tradition that doesn’t ape one you don’t support.

Post-bakeFinal plate 4

Spanksgiving Faux-Turkey

  • 2/3 batch (2 packages if store-bought) of seitan
  • 1/2 box of Fillo dough
  • buttery spread (I like Earth Balance Whipped Buttery Spread)
  • ~6 – 8 pieces of bread
  • 1 large (but not huge) white onion, diced
  • 1 handful fresh sage, diced (or ~3 tbsp dried sage / 1 tbsp if dried and ground)
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 1 cup veggie stock (I like to use the seitan broth)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

This is all about the stuffing, really.  Either by hand or in a food processor, shred the bread into small pieces and crumblins and dump into a large mixing bowl.  Dice the onion and sage and add to the bread.  Mix the dry ingredients together briefly by hand.  Add the veggie stock incrementally in small pours until the mixture is just moist (you may not use all of the veggie stock–this depends largely on how dense your bread is).  Add salt and pepper to taste.

Sage and onion stuffing

Line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil.  Tear the seitan into smaller pieces (it will probably come in pieces) and form a mound of seitan 8 – 10 inches around in the center of the cookie sheet.

Seitan foundation

Pack the stuffing over the mound of seitan, preserving the roundness and shape of the mound.

Mound of awesomeness

One by one (or two by two like a damned ark if your fillo dough sheets won’t cover the whole mound) place the fillo dough sheets on the mound and brush with melted buttery spread.

Fillo doughLayering the fillo dough

That’s right.  EACH layer gets brushed with butter.  This ensures that your crust will be flakier than Lindsay Lohan.

Keeping the fillo dough buttery

Keep applying dough until you can’t see through it anymore and it’s a solid brown-white in color (you may later find that you like thinner or thicker crust).


Bake until crust is golden brown.


Though it’s really good by itself, I recommend a little gravy to go with it.

Final plate 1


#1 Anonymous on 12.31.69 at 7:00 pm
#2 Cera LaFleur on 11.29.09 at 12:00 am

Looks awesome! I'll have to try it sometime. Would love your gravy recipe too!

#3 Irreverent Vegan on 12.01.09 at 2:03 pm

Hey Cera, the gravy is almost embarrassingly simple: you just heat the seitan stock (or veggie stock) in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Make a thick roux out of flour and cold water, whisking with a fork until it's mixed well. When the stock comes to a boil, whisk (with an actual whisk) the roux in slowly, until the gravy is to your desired thickness.There are tons of awesome gravies out there, far more complicated than this one. What I like about this is that (a) it's simple, so it doesn't overshadow the food (a concern with, say, a mushroom gravy); (b) it's made from the seitan stock, so it accents the dish perfectly; (c) traditional gravies are often made from the stock of whatever they're being served with–they're not always meant to be complex.Cheers!

#4 Cera LaFleur on 12.01.09 at 2:18 pm

Thanks for the info!!

#5 chow vegan on 12.02.09 at 1:51 am

Wow, that looks amazing! 🙂 I’ll have to give that a try sometime. Thanks for the recipe!

#6 Spanksgiving Faux Turkey — Irreverent Vegan on 12.02.09 at 12:49 pm

[…] Spanksgiving Faux-Turkey […]

#7 We’re featured on the Made Just Right (Earth Balance folks) blog! — Irreverent Vegan on 11.22.11 at 12:26 pm

[…] Happy almost Spanksgiving everyone! The folks over at Made Just Right featured our Faux Turkey recipe! […]

#8 mark on 11.23.11 at 6:10 pm

Update: This year, I augmented the seitan recipe a scosh.

Check it:

* 2 cups wheat gluten
* 1/2 cup nu yeast
* 2 tsp chicken-style vegan broth powder
* 1 tsp garlic powder
* 1 tsp onion powder
* 1 tsp salt
* 1 tsp ground sage
* 1 tsp dried oregano
* 1 cup cold veggie stock
* 1/4 – 3/4 cup additional water

Combine all of the dry ingredients, then add in the stock, and mix. Add in the water little by little–you want the dough to be moist, but not really wet.

You should be good to follow the PPK’s recipe from here on out.

Save the broth for the stuffing and the gravy.

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