Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Vegan Thanksgiving Recipes

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People only think turkey when they think Thanksgiving, but really, everything else that's served is generally vegetarian.  It's not hard to eat a ton at Thanksgiving while being a vegetarian.  And I would also like to argue that it wouldn't be that hard to do the same while being vegan, because you can make most of those vegetarian dishes into vegan ones pretty easily by making a few milk and butter swaps.  You won't even know the difference.  Look, I'm not going to tell you how to make some ridiculous version of vegan turkey that almost tastes like the real thing.  That's weird, and not something I would want to eat myself.  But here are some simple (I swear) recipes to include with your Thanksgiving dinner.

There are are lot of side dishes that are naturally vegan, like salads, corn, brussels sprouts, cranberry sauce, and rolls or other bread.  Just don't add dairy butter to these and you're fine.  But I have a few others to share to tweak the rest of the traditional table into a vegan spread.

Vegan Spinach DipI don't know whether this is a Thanksgiving staple at your house or not, but it usually is (or some form of one) for my family and for John's, because it's such an easy appetizer to set out while everyone is waiting on the main dish.  It's also just generally a party staple for me.  This version is particularly easy to make because the main substitution is to use vegan cream cheese (and I recommend the Kite Hill brand.  Trust me.)  This comes together really quickly and tastes like the original.

Vegan Mashed Potatoes.  Honestly, that's pretty easy.  The reason mashed potatoes usually aren't vegan is because they use milk (just use non-dairy) and butter (again, just use non-dairy.)  Always use lots of garlic, and add some nutritional yeast if you like your potatoes to have a cheesy taste.  And they do have a version of vegan bacon bits but I cannot attest to how they taste because I've never eaten them - I've never eaten meat because I don't like the smell (and many other reasons) so why would I try a vegan product that's supposed to taste like the thing I don't want to eat?  Ick.  But this is a pretty easy one to just plop down on the table as 'mashed potatoes' without ever offering up the information that they're vegan until people are done eating.  No one will know the difference.

Vegan Sweet Potato Casserole John is in charge of the sweet potatoes at his family's Thanksgiving and everyone loves them.  Well of course they do, they're a butter and sugar laden calorie bomb.  You could cover a rat in butter and sugar and it would still taste good, that's how our brains are wired.  I don't eat them because of the butter and marshmallows (no, traditional marshmallows are not vegan) but also because I watch them get made and I think that's always a kitchen no-no, right?  Don't ask the question if you don't want the answer?  Anyway, may I suggest this lightened up and vegan version instead?  So much less sweetener and no dairy butter.  In fact, you can omit the vegan butter altogether, if you wanted.  Personally, I like this version better and I find that a lot of adults do - we can't tolerate quite as much sweet as little kids can.

Vegan Mac and Cheese I've already talked about this particular recipe plenty.  I love it.

Vegan Stuffing.  I feel like 'cook the stuff in the bird or out of the bird?' is such a divisive Thanksgiving issue.  I'm not here to debate that (there is no bird at my table!), I'm just sharing an option for vegan stuffing if you do cook it outside of the bird.  This is another simple swap to make.  My dad usually uses chicken stock and dairy butter, so just swap those ingredients out for vegetable broth and vegan butter.

Vegan Green Bean Casserole I really had to look this one up because I would never even eat traditional green bean casserole because I think it looks gross, so I needed to figure out what makes it not vegan in the first place.  Answer?  Cream of mushroom soup.  Since mushrooms are not naturally creamy, unless you made a vegan version of this soup, you can assume it has dairy cream, dairy butter, and chicken stock in it, at least.  So that's an easy fix, just use vegetable broth and vegan milk.  Or if you have the inclination, make your own vegan cream of mushroom soup.

Vegan Pumpkin Pie.  Pumpkin pie is pretty easy, I'd say making the crust is the most annoying part but even that's only 5 ingredients.

Are you vegan?  Any recipe you're willing to try off this list?

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