If you're a vegetarian or a vegan, you know that Thanksgiving can be a bit of a struggle. Sure, there are plenty of meat-free sides—mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, and green beans, to name a few—the main event of the day is, of course, turkey. Luckily, one self-professed hippie went through a series of trials and errors to solve every herbivore’s Turkey Day conundrum, creating the infamous “Tofurky” in the process.

To celebrate the dish’s cultural significance this Thanksgiving, CNN’s Great Big Story tracked down the inventor of the Tofurky, and found out how the veg-friendly holiday staple came into existence.

Our story begins with Seth Tibbott. An Oregon-based teacher and devout vegetarian, Tibbott was living in a three-story tree house (no, serious….) when he started his quest to find the perfect Thanksgiving substitute.

Though Tibbott had long made his own tempeh, the vegetarian crusader started his Turkey Day quest with a giant stuffed pumpkin—an attempt that ultimately collapsed in the oven. Strike one. Next, he spent eight hours preparing a “gluten roast,” a big ball of wheat that ended up being so tough he couldn't cut through it with a saw. Strike two.

Luckily, Tibbott give up. On his third attempt, Tibbott teamed up with his friend Hans, who had been making tofu loafs. The pair added some stuffing, a little gravy, a couple “drumsticks, ”and voila—the Tofurky was born.

If you're cutting into a vegan-friendly turkey tomorrow, now you know who to be thankful for.

[via YouTube/Great Big Story]