Hey friends! November has almost come and gone. This year is flying by, but it’s one of my favorite times. A lot of times I get asked how I handle things like Thanksgiving while being vegan. For me at this point in my journey of being vegan for 6 or 7 years (I lost count), I tend to forget what it was like those first few years after going vegan. I became vegetarian around the age of 6 and up until I became fully vegan events like Thanksgiving weren’t really that hard. There were still tons of side dishes I could eat. Once I switched over to being vegan I began to realize at holiday get-togethers that there wasn’t much for me to eat. While these holidays mean more then just gorging ourselves with food, I think there is no denying the importance of having a shared meal with family and friends. At some point I began to feel left out of events like this and decided to make a change.
I started having my own Vegan Thanksgiving. This, like most things in my vegan journey, was a process. At first it was all about just having more options for me to eat. Now my yearly Vegan Thanksgiving is about so much more. It’s about saving the life of one innocent living being. For that one particular meal on that one particular day there are no animals harmed or used for mine or my guest’s taste buds. Some may say ‘well don’t you save animals every day at every meal since you are vegan?’ My answer to this would be yes, but this is different. This is multiple people eating a vegan meal. This is bringing together a room full of meat eaters and showing them how easy and delicious vegan food can be. It’s the support I feel on this day because my entire family chose to eat vegan for me so that I can enjoy one holiday a year where there isn’t a dead animal in the middle of the table. It means so much to me and all the animals out there. It’s me planting a seed of compassion in other’s minds that hopefully one day will sprout and grow.
So what exactly do we eat at a Vegan Thanksgiving?! We eat all the stuff everyone else eats, but in vegan form. This year my menu consisted of the following.
-Field Roast Celebration Roast that my amazing husband made and surrounded with red potatoes, carrots, celery, onions, and a home made baste. (Husband note: I cooked this a little too long and slightly burnt the bottom. We have also cooked the Tofurkey Holiday Roast in the past, but all the stores were out of it this year.)
-Green Bean Casserole. This casserole is a must-have for any holiday party. I make this every year for my Vegan Thanksgiving and I also take this to any pot luck, friends-giving, family dinner, etc during the holidays. It’s so delicious and super easy to make. The only thing I change about it is I make more gravy than it calls for.
I got the receipe from here: http://www.onegreenplanet.org/vegan-recipe/green-bean-casserole/
-Corn on the Cob. A simple addition to big dinners that is super easy. Put out some vegan butter to go along with it and you’re all set.
-Mac and Cheese. Who doesn’t love a good mac and cheese! This one was a hit with my nephews this year.
I got the receipe here: https://nutritionrefined.com/vegan-mac-cheese/
-Rolls. You have to have some good vegan dinner rolls at Thanksgiving and not the store-bought kind. I also make these every year and it’s probably everyone’s favorite out of everything. Again these are super easy to make. They just need an hour to rise. That’s the hardest part about them. I made these in the morning around 9am and then just covered them and left them on the counter until around 12/12:30pm when I put them in the oven.
I got the recipe here: https://minimalistbaker.com/simple-vegan-dinner-rolls/
-Apple Sausage Stuffing. I actually decided to try a new stuffing recipe this year after I saw this on the YouTube channel The Vegan View (go check them out!). I unfortunately let it cook a bit too long, but it was still good and I plan to make this in the future.
-Desserts. I actually didn’t make any desserts this year. My cousin Nicole is amazing at making vegan desserts and she is not vegan in the least bit. She made a vegan banana pudding that was seriously to die for. It was so delicious that I could have ate it all myself in one sitting. So good! She also made an apple pie, chocolate covered Oreo bites, and a vegan cheese cake. (Husband note: Nicole is a generational genius with vegan desserts. She is to vegan desserts what Shakespeare was to literature or Gretzky was to hockey.)
So that was my menu for the day. Three extra tips I have learned over the years:
- When you are cooking for non vegans and especially around holidays, don’t make it healthy! I have to fight this urge so hard. For example I don’t cook with oil at home, but for Thanksgiving I do use oil and other things I don’t normally use. I think it’s important that meat eaters enjoy the food. It’s why they keep coming back!
- Get up early and prep everything before everyone gets there or make what you can the night before. We always plan to eat at 1pm. So I had everything prepped, sitting on the counter in pans, and ready to go by about 10am. Then around 10:30 we just started popping things in the oven. This made it so that when people started to arrive around 10:30/11 we were able to engage with them and not still be cooking.
- Clean as you go! The worst thing about big holiday family gatherings is the clean up. This year I made more of an effort to clean as I went and it made the process easier and faster.
I hope everyone had an amazing Thanksgiving and was able to spend time with their family and friends. I am so thankful for the amazing family and friends that I have in my life that support me and encourage me in things that I am passionate about.
Baby Dust To All,