Saturday, November 23, 2013

A Concise Vegan Thanksgiving Survival Guide

When I first went vegan in 1998, I dreaded Thanksgiving. I didn't cook back then and I couldn't get my hands on anything like a Tofurky roast. I usually found myself just eating canned corn warmed up in the microwave, maybe some rolls, and mashed potatoes my mother made with vegetable broth instead of butter and milk. And there wasn't anything I could have for dessert. Pretty dismal!

Sometimes I feel like most people still envision vegan Thanksgiving just like this. But I assure you, it doesn't have to be that way! There are so many options that you can take advantage of when planning a vegan feast. Here are a few ideas to get you started.

Instead of turkey, you can enjoy a meat alternative like Tofurky Roast (you can even buy a feast with stuffing and a cake), Field Roast (smaller, tastier, more affordable), or vegan sausages. Tofurky makes an excellent apple and "chicken" flavored sausage that would go well with most traditional side dishes. I'm also crazy about the Field Grain sausages. If you'd like, you can make your own seitan roast from scratch. Ann Gentry from Vegetarian Times shows you how to make one in this video.

But what is sometimes more fun is to do something less traditional instead. For instance, you can make lasagna full of fresh vegetables and vegan cheeses. For sides, consider baking bread from scratch and serving other Italian or Mediterranean dishes with it, like artichokes, polenta, and olives. Making Mexican food is another great alternative! Consider tamales, tamale pie, tortilla casserole, and enchiladas. You can serve these with freshly made salsa, soup, chili, rice, and beans. Here are a few recipes I found online that look like they would make amazing Thanksgiving meals.

Mexican Dishes:

But what would Thanksgiving be without sweet things. For me, delicious baked goods are the reason that holidays exist. I don't think I'm alone in this, either, especially considering all of the amazing recipes that other bloggers have created that would be absolutelyperfect on the Thanksgiving breakfast or dessert table. Take a look at the following blog posts to see what I mean.

Desserts and Baked Goods:

But if you're more of a chocolate fan, you may want to consider trying my recipe for Chocolate Cream Pie (see the video below). You can find this recipe in my new e-book,Vegan Holiday Treats, which is full of even more ways to make your holiday enjoyable.

Other Survival Tips
One thing that you should keep in mind is that whomever you're spending the holiday with may not know what the word "vegan" means. A lot of people think that it's the same as "vegetarian," which it is obviously not. So if someone offers to make a vegan side dish, you should ensure that think person knows that they can't use anything that comes from an animal including margarine. Unless it's Earth Balance or a specifically vegan brand, margarine is not usually vegan.

Aside from what you eat, you may also be faced with social challenges if you're joining non-vegans during your Thanksgiving. Some of your friends or family may offer you turkey or trimmings thinking that you're missing out on something. It's happened to me. I know it gets old, but you have to handle situations like these in stride. If they do wave a plate of meat in your face you should address it. Let them know that it seems to you like they think you're forcing yourself to abstain from something great, but that the reality is that you're electing to free yourself from suffering and that your value for the lives of other creatures fills you with greater joy than could anything they could offer you to eat.

This is the approach I usually attempt but typically fail at as I have a short temper and hold strong to my convictions. But to my credit, anyone who knows that you're vegan and questions your reasoning to your face is only setting themselves up to receive responses they probably won't care for however truthful they may be. Thanksgiving can be an educational opportunity, just try to be nice about it while you spread your gospel. Most importantly, though, be sure to enjoy yourself. I can't think of anything I'd be more thankful for than being happy.

What's your favorite vegan dish to have for Thanksgiving? And do you have any other advice for being a vegan at a non-vegan feast? Please, feel free to share by leaving me a comment!

No comments:

Post a Comment