Thanksgiving is fast approaching! That means family reunions, hearty meals, and turkey.
And let’s not forget the mash potatoes have milk in them. The stuffing is cooked with chicken stock. The gravy is probably made from Turkey giblets.
If you’re anything like me, you probably come from a family full of non-vegans. People who will crowd around, invade your personal space and ask you 21 questions about what it means to be a vegan.
And their eyes will glaze over when you begin to explain it all.
But all of this doesn’t mean that Thanksgiving has to suck. Correction: it doesn’t mean it has to suck more than for the average carnivore.
I can’t save you from your family and the bombarding questions about when you’ll get married, but I can save you from the guilt that typically follows a Thanksgiving meal!
The vegan way, of course.
Tackling The Staples
The following is a few tips to follow when cooking for Thanksgiving. You can still have the classics, like the stuffing and the mash, just make a few alterations! Also, I’ll point out the obvious here: take your own vegan variations! Chances are your family’s meal won’t be vegan, so unless you want to starve, BYOB.
“But wait, does this mean I have to cook everything myself? FOR EVERYONE?!”
Not exactly. If you have siblings, friends, or anyone else in the family that is in dire need of recipe help, find some tasty vegan variations to email them. Share the workload.
Also, you could always just make enough vegan food for yourself, take it to the party, and avoid all the lines and fuss. This will also keep you from overeating.
Finally, try buying pre-made food that requires little to no preparation. It’s guaranteed to make your holiday meal easier, without sacrificing on flavor. And it gives you more time to help your family out with theirs, because you know extra hands will be appreciated.
With 9 ingredients, you can make some epic vegan Thanksgiving stuffing. I’m actually trying this recipe from the Minimalist Baker this year, so feel free to join me!
Say what you will about Martha Stewart, but man, I have to give her credit for some holiday, organization, decor and recipe ideas over the years. And this year? No different. She surprised the crap out of me with this fool-proof, easy and cheap vegan mash potato recipe. Join me in making it this year too! I’m altering it slightly though, and using coconut oil in place of the olive oil, but both oils are nutritious, so it’s just about personal preference.
Try the Gardien Savory Stuffed Turk’y! It’s faux turkey stuffed with cranberries and bread crumbs and garlic salt, to name a few things. What’s not to love? One piece is 290 calories, so stick to just one, but hey, it includes your serving of stuffing anyway, so realistically it’s not the worst on calories. Unless you get more stuffing!
Try the Ocean Spray Jellied Cranberry Sauce. It’s vegan, stupidly easy to find, and serves as a major shortcut. Think how many hours you save with this one can.
You don’t need turkey giblets to make a kickass savory gravy. Sheesh. Rise above the cavemen mentality, and try this easy recipe from the Tablespoon.
This one is simple: get some fresh veggies, wash them, cut them up, mix them up in a large bowl, and then toast some vegan bread in the oven. You want to chop the bread up into cubes, then toast it in the oven, so they’re big, homemade croutons. Finally, serve dressing on the side so that the salad doesn’t get soggy.
And as for vegan dressing, try one of these 15 recipes by Happy Healthy Life!
There’s a lot of things I’ll buy pre-made, or out of a can, but pie will not be one of them! Food Network knows what’s up.
- Vegan Liquor Recipes by Oh She Glows
- Vegan Beer & Wine Search (Barnivore let’s you search by brand and type then tells you if it’s vegan)
- Download the free app “VeggieBeers” to double-check your beer choice!
Finally, remember this is only once a year! If you slip up and eat too much, just get back on the high horse the next day. Be good to your body, and your body will be good to you!
That being said, don’t go into it expecting to slip up and overeat. That’s a self-fulfilling prophecy in action. Try your hardest, and opt for smaller plates of food.
For instance, I plan on eating one small plate of mash potatoes and half my serving of faux turkey. Then another plate with salad in place of the mash, and the second half of my turkey, this time with gravy. This would be about 2 hours later. This way I’ll feel like I’m indulging and eating more, but in reality, I’ll be eating what I would normally eat as a single full meal.
And remember: alcohol counts! Wine and beer and special holiday cocktails are delicious, but all those calories aren’t going to fill you up. In fact, beer in particular tends to make you hungry. Opt for a drink prior to dinner to work up an appetite, then another while you eat, with a tall glass of water. Limit your drinking and you won’t feel full, fat, tired and guilty later.
Let everyone else wish they looked like you the next day!
Want more Thanksgiving posts? No worries! All of November will be dedicated to staying fit, healthy and super vegan during the holidays. Follow the blog to get notified when I post my Thanksgiving beauty guide, self-created holiday treat recipes, and advice on dealing with troublesome family questions!
Writer. Marketer. Vegan.