The yearly celebration of U.S. colonization and the slaughter of American Indians is upon us. Haven’t we had enough cruelty already? I think so, and I’ve got several vegan Thanksgiving recommendations – some natural, some faux – for those who are hosting vegans or for vegans looking to use the annual feast to turn some naysayers into believers.
Naturally Vegan Thanksgiving Eats
Of all of the naturally vegan thanksgiving dishes, my favorite is cranberry sauce. It’s a must. Last year was the first year that I was served the non-canned variety of the candy-sweet dish, so I’m not a snob when it comes to canned-berry sauce. I love it all. During my omnivorous days, I’d use leftover cranberry sauce as a condiment on turkey and mac and cheese sandwiches. Yum.
But there are several other dishes that are vegan, or can be made so, without too much work. Stuffing, which I’m not the biggest fan of, can easily be made without milk or eggs and some Thanksgiving cooks make it without them already. One possible replacement ingredient that can thicken up the stuffing is olive oil. If milk is absolutely necessary, there are several cruelty-free milk options out there like almond, soy, cashew and coconut milk.
Other dishes that can be made vegan without much work include winter squash, sweet potatoes, corn on the cob, green beans and sauerkraut. The popular condiment to go along with corn on the cob, another of my favorites, butter, can easily be replaced with Earth Balance or some versions of Smart Balance.
And finally, green beans don’t need to be braised with meat to be good, and as the great Huey Freeman says, “Vegetables cooked with pork counts as pork,” for those who were wondering. Vegetable bullion or a mix of other seasonings can serve as a tasty alternative to braising with meat.
Vegan Mac and Cheese
For all of those “cooks” out there who choose to make mac and cheese from a box, instead of from scratch, several of the big vegan food brands – Daiya, Earth Balance and Amy’s Kitchen – offer boxed mac and cheese.
Now, there are also alternatives for those who want to make mac and cheese from scratch. Ingredients for cruelty-free mac and cheese are similar to the dairy variety, with the exception of non-dairy milk, nutritional yeast flakes, tahini or raw cashews, depending on the recipe being used.
Vegan Stuffed Turkey
I was never a fan of traditional turkey, but I am a huge fan of vegan alternatives to turkey, my favorite of which is made by the all-vegan brand Field Roast.
Field Roast’s Vegan Stuffed Celebration Roast is much more flavorful and moist than traditional turkey. The stuffing in the roast is made with Field Roast grain meat, fresh cut butternut squash, mushrooms and granny smith apples seasoned with a blend of rosemary, thyme and sage.
Surrounding the stuffing is more grain meat seasoned with rubbed sage, garlic and lemon juice. The best part of this roast is that it’s pre-made and only needs to be unwrapped and thrown in the oven. The downside is that it’s kind of small and can get expensive if you try to feed a huge Thanksgiving dinner with these tasty faux-turkeys.
Other brands, like Gardein, Vegetarian Plus, Tofurky and Trader Joe’s, offer alternatives to Thanksgiving turkeys as well.
Call me uncultured, but I hadn’t even heard about Wellingtons until Native Foods moved to this region last year and advertised its Wellingtons as a Thanksgiving centerpiece alternative. Native Foods is selling its Native Wellington at $29.95 for one, which serves 5 – 6 people, and $49.95 for two.
If that’s too pricey, there are also several vegan Wellington recipes online. One source offers the Field Roast Celebration Roast, wrapped in a puff pastry square, as an alternative to traditional Wellingtons.