Thanksgiving Alternatives for Vegans:
As the lifestyle choice of veganism becomes more and more trendy, vegan alternatives have become increasingly important. Vegans do not eat any animal products or byproducts including meat, fish, poultry, eggs, dairy, and honey. (Some hard-core vegans even refrain from wearing or using leather, fur, silk, wool, cosmetics, and soaps derived from animal products.) With the holidays approaching—specifically Thanksgiving, a meal centered around the turkey—this time of year is a breeding ground for meals of meats and other animal byproducts. Given these circumstances, many people might wonder how it is even possible to have a “vegan-Thanksgiving.” Fortunately, for the WHS vegans who do not want to have to sacrifice the Thanksgiving classics, the Rebellion has scoured the internet for alternative vegan meals to enjoy this Thanksgiving!
Recently, the people of Massachusetts voted to prohibit certain methods of farm animal containment on ballot question number three—proving an increasing popularity in animal rights among the general public, not only vegetarians and vegans. For those uncomfortable eating turkey this Thanksgiving, purchase tofurky or a vegan whole turkey made of soy and wheat!
- Tofurky: http://www.tofurky.com/what-we-make/holiday/feast/
- Vegan Whole Turkey: http://itsall-natural.com/product/vegan-whole-turkey-by-vegetarian-plus/
Mashed potatoes are another Thanksgiving essential; however, while potatoes on their own are vegan—mashing them with butter and cream is not. Rather than giving up this Turkey-Day (or should I say Tofurky-Day) staple, tackle one of these recipes for mashed cauliflower or mashed sweet potatoes instead!
- Mashed Cauliflower: http://www.wholelivinglauren.com/new-blog/2015/2/15/vegan-cauliflower-mash
1 medium sized head of cauliflower, chopped into florets
3-5 large roasted garlic cloves (I like more garlic)
1 tsp fresh thyme leaves
1 tsp fresh chives, chopped
1 tsp minced rosemary
1 Tbsp unsweetened (unflavored) almond milk
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
2 Tbsp Earth Balance (or other vegan butter)
Salt and pepper to taste
Fill a large saucepan with about an inch or two of water and insert a steamer basket. Bring the water to a boil, and add the cauliflower florets.
Reduce heat to a simmer and cover, allowing the cauliflower to steam for about 6 or 7 minutes, or until fork tender.
Drain the steamed cauliflower, then transfer to the bowl of a large food processor.
Add the roasted garlic cloves, thyme leaves, chives, rosemary, almond milk, nutritional yeast, salt and pepper, and process until smooth or to your desired texture. Add the Earth Balance and pulse again until combined.
Top with fresh cracked pepper and fresh chopped chives.
- Mased Sweet Potatoes: http://www.veganfamilyrecipes.com/healthy-mashed-sweet-potatoes/
- 2.2 lbs (1 kg) Sweet Potatoes (peeled)
- ¼ of a cup (60 g) Melted Coconut Butter (Learn how to make your own here.)
- ¾ of a cup (185 ml) warm unsweetened Oat Milk (other unsweetened plant based milks will work too)
- 1 teaspoon Salt
- ½ teaspoon Black Pepper
- Peel and roughly dice sweet potatoes. Steam sweet potatoes until you can easily pierce them with a fork, around 15 minutes.
- Remove potatoes from steamer and place in a large pot and mash with a potato masher. Add melted coconut butter, oat milk, and salt and pepper. Beat ingredients into sweet potatoes until fully mixed and fluffy.
- Add more salt and pepper to taste.
- Serve hot.
1.) If you don’t have a steamer, you can also boil the sweet potatoes in a large stock pot in lightly salted water. If you have boiled your potatoes, make sure once they are cooked, that you return them to the stove over low heat to dry off any excess water for 1 – 2 minutes.
2.) If you don’t have any coconut butter on hand, feel free to use vegan butter.
According to a recent poll, stuffing is the #1 side dish served on Thanksgiving, set out on the dinner table by 86% of people. Try this simple vegan stuffing recipe, substituting lentils for meat and veggie broth for chicken broth, as an alternative.
- Vegan Stuffing: http://minimalistbaker.com/simple-vegan-stuffing/
- 1 large loaf wholegrain bread or 2 small baguettes, cubed & set out to dry overnight (~9 cups loosely packed)
- 3/4 cup uncooked green lentils
- 3 Tbsp olive oil or vegan butter (I used a mix of both)
- 1/2 cup white onions, diced
- 3/4 cup celery, diced
- salt & pepper
- 3 – 3 1/2 cups vegetable broth (+ more for cooking lentils)
- 1 flax egg (1 Tbsp flaxseed meal + 2.5 Tbsp water)
- 3/4 tsp dried sage, or 1 1/4 tsp fresh sage, chopped
- The night before, cube your bread and set it in a large bowl to dry out – you want it to be the texture of day old bread – noticeably dry but not rock hard.
- The day of, if you haven’t already cooked your lentils, do so now by thoroughly rinsing 3/4 cup lentils in cold water, then adding to a small saucepan with 1 1/2 cups veggie broth or water.
- Cook over medium-high heat until a low boil is achieved, and then lower to a simmer and continue cooking uncovered for 20-30 minutes. Set aside.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a 9×13 pan (or comparable sized dish) with foil or spray with nonstick spray. Also prepare flax egg and set aside.
- Sauté onion and celery in the olive oil or vegan butter and season with a bit of salt and pepper. Cook until fragrant and translucent – about 5 minutes. Set aside.
- To the bowl of bread, pour most of the broth then add the remaining ingredients (sage, cooked veggies, flax egg, and lentils) and mix with a wooden spoon. The key is to make sure it is about the consistency of a meatloaf. If it’s too dry, add more broth and mix again. If it’s gotten too wet, add more bread.
- Transfer to the prepared pan and cover with foil. Bake at 350 for 45 minutes, then remove the top layer of foil so the top can brown. Increase heat to 400 degrees and bake for another 10-15 minutes, or until the top is well browned and crisp.
- Remove from oven and let cool slightly before serving. Leftovers reheat well in the microwave or oven, though best when fresh.
Fortunately, there is one food group that vegans can always count on: veggies! Vegetables are universally vegan, so don’t be shy about getting your green on this Thanksgiving!
Happy Thanksgiving 🙂