At this point, Thanksgiving just isn’t Thanksgiving to me without Tofurky. While traditional Thanksgiving sides are great and all, eating only side dishes isn’t quite enough for me on my favorite gluttonous holiday.

Whenever I mention the fact that I have Tofurky on Thanksgiving, most people don’t try to hide their opinions about how weird Tofurky sounds. They ask what it is, and then quickly dismiss the thought of ever trying it after I tell them.

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Tofurky is a company that sells different vegetarian meat replacement products, and their most well-known product is their Tofurky Roast. It’s made from a seasoned blend of organic tofu and vital wheat gluten (aka seitan), and it’s filled with a wild rice stuffing.

I first bought Tofurky for Thanksgiving during the same year that I became a vegetarian, in 2011. Since I didn’t (and still don’t) regularly consume meat substitutes, getting Tofurky made my Thanksgiving feel more special. I think it was important for me to have that, because being a vegetarian on Thanksgiving can feel pretty alienating.

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Tofurky comes frozen, so the process of thawing and baking it mimics the process of preparing a turkey, but on a much smaller scale. When I was doing this for the first time, it was all a very new and exciting process to me.

Now, every year on Thanksgiving, I follow the same steps. It’s something that I enjoy doing, and it’s fun to work in the kitchen with the rest of my family. I chop various vegetables to roast in the pan with the Tofurky, and make a seasoned baste to pour over everything.

After the roast bakes in the oven for a while, everything comes out smelling delicious. Tofurky doesn’t taste exactly like turkey, and the texture is different, but it has its own appeal. It’s savory and hearty, and it’s the perfect thing to put me in a satisfying food coma.

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My family totally accepts my choices, and they even eat some Tofurky with me (but I think they prefer their turkey). If I’m spending Thanksgiving with other people in addition to my family, I’m always bombarded with questions, but I’m used to answering them, and I just encourage everyone to try some. People are pretty much always pleasantly surprised with how good it tastes.

Even though I could make a vegetarian main dish from scratch, this has become my own tradition, and I love it. So if there’s a vegetarian in your life that you may be spending time with on Thanksgiving, consider Tofurky.