For years I’ve been asked about what vegans eat at Thanksgiving. Many seem to forget about the plethora of vegetarian sides found on almost every single table in the country – mashed potatoes, stuffing, sweet potato pie, green bean casserole, corn, squash, roasted veggies, cranberry sauce, and so many more. Fortunately, making vegan versions of all of those is a snap.
I have been blessed with a family that has accommodated our vegan diet for several years now, to the point where vegan entrees and sides outnumber the non-vegan ones at all family gatherings, not just at Thanksgiving. This year I also had the unique pleasure of hosting my own feast. Deciding what to make was a challenge because there are so many options to choose from! Finding healthy whole foods plant based options without added salt, oil, or sugar was actually pretty easy too. Selecting no more than what would fit on the table proved to be the most challenging part.
I’ll admit, we did have a turkey on the center of our table this year. Her name is Christina. She was one of 11 baby turkeys left anonymously at Farm Sanctuary after being rescued from a factory farm. She is bold and bossy, loves melon and kiwi, and this is how her Thanksgiving feast went.
I displayed a menu so our guests would know what they were about to enjoy. All dishes were vegan. Everything except the Tofurkey would also count as whole foods plant based, many were SOS-free and Ultimate Weight Loss Program approved (noted with UWL below). All were delicious and enjoyed by everyone in attendance. It makes me especially happy to have people enjoy food that I’ve prepared when it’s so different from what they normally would eat!
We had 14 people enjoying the feast. I am so grateful to have the opportunity to share this food with our friends and family. And I’m so grateful they were open to some new recipes. We had so much food that I gave away loads and I still have so much left over that I don’t think I’ll be cooking all week. Now that’s something to be thankful for! I’d love to share with you so that you have some fresh ideas for your next get-together.
Super simple raw veggies and fresh fruit
Hummus and Guacamole
Shepherd’s Pot Pie (UWL)
from Forks Over Knives, created by Chef Del Srouffe
Tofurkey Roast with carrots and onions
I prepared as suggested on the package except that I used a baste of soy sauce and cranberry walnut balsamic vinegar.
One of my guests brought this tasty combination of celery, carrots, onions and spices.
Butternut Squash and Corn Casserole (UWL)
This was created by one of the members of the Ultimate Weight Loss Program. I cooked 2 lbs of cubed butternut squash, blended it with a can of corn, and then stirred in a pound of frozen corn. Baked at 400 degrees for 30 minutes. This was one of the favorites! We dug in so fast I didn’t get a photo…
Fall Harvest Vegetables
Roasted Brussels sprouts and butternut squash with cranberries and pecans. I followed a recipe modified from this one, omitting the oil, salt, and maple syrup. I added 2-3 Tbsp of date paste and marinated the squash in that overnight.
Roasted Vegetables (UWL)
This was a twist on Chef AJ’s Roasted Ratatouille. I roasted slices of zucchini and cauliflower topped with diced onions and red bell pepper. For seasoning I just used some onion powder, garlic powder, salt-free seasoning, and nutritional yeast.
Herb Roasted Potatoes (UWL)
I omitted the oil and replaced the salt with a salt-free seasoning
Wild Rice Salad
A guest brought this yummy salad with wild rice, corn, and cashews.
5 Minute Cranberry Relish (UWL)
One of Chef AJ’s creations that was featured in Forks Over Knives, this was by far the easiest dish on the table! I made it the day ahead in 5 minutes in my food processor. Letting it set overnight was a great way to let the flavors blend together. It’s so fresh and tasty that I’m going to make it a regular relish in my fridge.
Jalapeno Salsa Corn Muffins
I had sampled these muffins at the 2 Forks Food Conference in Cleveland and was so thrilled to have the chance to taste them made personally by Anne and Jane Essenstyn! This was perhaps the most frequently complimented item on the table. Everyone RAVED about these savory muffins. They were pretty simple to make and came out just perfectly. The texture and flavor is top notch. I’ll be making them for future events for sure. The link I’m sharing is to the sample of the book. You’ll have to scroll through the text at the beginning. These muffins are the second recipe shown, in the “Appetizers” section.
Baked Stuffed Apples (UWL)
Salted Carmel Peanut Butter Truffles
I’ll admit these stole the dessert show. My vegan dessert expert friend brought them. If these can’t win over non-vegans, forget about it.
Lemon Kissed Blondie Bites
These are one of my favorite desserts to share. They have dates and cashews so they’re not intended for weight loss. But they’re a fresh and tasty treat, and for me they’re satisfying enough that I can have just one and not have to empty the plate.
Cherry Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies
I made the Oatmeal Raisin Cookies from Straight-Up Food. I swapped out the raisins and walnuts and replaced with chopped dried cherries and dairy-free mini chocolate chips.
There was no doubt this feast was a success. I learned some lessons about how much food to prepare – way less than you think! When there are so many dishes to choose from, everyone has to only take a little bit to try each one. Yet I had probably made enough for everyone to have a full serving of every single dish. Oh well, none of it went to waste. That’s for sure. For anyone that follows me on YouFood, you saw my food journal for 48 hours was basically this meal for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Poor me, right?!
Christmas is right around the corner and there are lots of opportunities for sharing great meals coming up. Select a few to try and let me know how it goes! You could do one dish a week for Meatless Mondays and be set for over 2 months!