When I was a diehard vegetarian a number of years ago, packaged meat alternatives were slim pickings at best. Sure, you could find the occasional veggie "burger" or "hot dog," but there was no comparison to the real thing. Burned enough times, I grew wary of anything masquerading as meat.
Especially a tofu "roast" during the holidays.
Meat fanatic that I am nowadays, unless a tofu roast was studded with bacon, I probably wouldn't give it a second glance. But when I saw the Holiday Hazelnut Cranberry Roast en Croute from Field Roast, I was curious. I decided to give a few of their products a try: the holiday roast (hazelnut-infused grain "meat" stuffed with Field Roast sausage, ginger, cranberries and apples, then wrapped in puff pastry), a Celebration Roast (grain "meat" seasoned with herbs and spices and stuffed with a sausage-style stuffing with squash, mushrooms and apples) and their Smoked Apple Sage Sausage.
The verdict? They won me over.
Where so many meat alternatives struggle with texture, I loved how each of the dishes has a natural "chew" -- I wasn't taken aback with each bite. I loved the harmony of flavors in the celebration roast, and the puff on the hazelnut roast was crisp yet delicate, hints of spice and cranberry perfuming the kitchen as it finished in the oven. And though I only tried one of the sausages, I loved the balance of flavors, not too sweet from the apple or overly heavy with sage.