How to Have a Vegan Thanksgiving
Thanksgiving is about giving thanks for friends, family, home, and food. It’s a time to have an attitude of gratitude and appreciation, and share a meal to health and happiness. If you’re vegan or a curious eater, you might wonder what Thanksgiving can be like without animals. The answer is simple: Go vegan and go adventurous.
If you’re having guests for the holiday, the stress level is higher. You might worry that your lack of turkey will leave everyone pitifully hungry. You might also hope your lack of ham will not leave the potatoes feeling neglected, or that your guests will think Thanksgiving without turkey isn’t Thanksgiving. But a Thanksgiving meal can be satisfying without a turkey as the focus of the meal. Eating vegan comes from concerns about health or the environment, but it’s not a political issue, but a lifestyle choice. It’s also about kindness and compassion for all creatures.
Fortunately, there are plenty of delicious dishes people have been preparing for centuries that are vegan-friendly and festively appropriate. These vegan Thanksgiving recipes are appetizing, nutritious, and healthy. Even non-vegans can appreciate plant-based offerings. So, if you’re preparing a vegan Thanksgiving dinner, you’re giving others a taste of what it’s like to eat a plant-based diet. You may even get some converts!
What to Eat for Vegan Thanksgiving
One option is to buy a plant-based turkey substitute. One of the most popular is a veggie roast, like Tofurkey or Field Roast. For example, Field Roast is available in the frozen food section of some supermarkets and is stuffing encased in seasoned plant-based “meat.” It even comes with a gravy mix you can whip up in minutes to complement your non-turkey “turkey.”
If you don’t like the idea of using a dry powder, you can also serve Field Roast with mushroom gravy. It’s dressy enough to use as a Thanksgiving centerpiece, the same way people serve turkey at Thanksgiving. Simply place it in a beautiful pan in the center of the table and surround it with roasted vegetables.
Whether you serve a turkey substitute, like Field Roast, or not, there are other delicious plant-based foods that capture the flavor of Thanksgiving. How about pumpkin squash casseroles, pumpkin seed bread, bean soups, green salads with roasted vegetables and garlicky greens, black-eyed peas, and brown rice? Don’t forget the stuffing!
Another healthy Thanksgiving favorite is in the cruciferous vegetable family, and it’s Brussels sprouts. Roast them with olive oil or vegan “butter” and garlic cloves, and you have an unforgettable Thanksgiving side dish. For extra protein, serve a seasoned whole grain, like quinoa, with a sauce and a sprinkling of nuts. Make sure no one on your guest list is allergic to nuts though. If so, leave them off.
Plant-Based Diets Differ Come in Different Flavors
If you’re having guests for Thanksgiving who eat a plant-based diet, what they eat and don’t eat may vary. Some may be vegetarians who eat egg and dairy (ovo-lacto vegetarian) or eat one or the other or neither. If they eat neither, they’re eating the equivalent of a vegan diet, since a vegan diet does not use animal products, like meats, eggs, or dairy. If you’re not sure, it’s safest to keep the meal all vegan and veggie-focused. By serving an array of vegetables and salads, you’ll fill your guests up in a healthy way.
Vegan Thanksgiving Dessert
After a veggie-centric meal, you don’t have to feel guilty about eating dessert. Your guests will appreciate a little sweet, and two favorites for creating desserts that befit Thanksgiving are pumpkin and squash. How about pumpkin pie with maple frosting or pumpkin chocolate chip waffles? Another sweet and decadent option is vegan pecan pie. You can find various recipes for this Thanksgiving favorite that use no dairy or eggs.
Enjoy these sweet meal finishers with coffee and coconut milk creamer. Then, linger at the table and remember all you have to be thankful for. That’s the true spirit of Thanksgiving!
There’s no reason even non-vegans can’t enjoy a “turkey-less Thanksgiving.” If you wow guests with a multitude of veggies, including roasted ones, salads, whole grains, and Field Roast, they’ll want to come back next year.