Tofurkey not doing it for you?
Thanksgiving isn’t just for the meat-eaters. As more people explore different diets to find a right fit, many families will find at least one vegan in their midst this holiday season.
Though adding vegan-friendly options to a traditional menu can be intimidating and seem like a pain -- it’s not necessarily a bad thing.
The vegan diet excludes both meat and dairy products, but a variety of sides and main dishes can be rich and actually filling.
Here are some vegan-friendly Thanksgiving dinner ideas to get taste buds popping and even unwitting vegans coming back for seconds — and common snacks to have on hand for vegan guests who insist the host not “do anything special.”
Raw fruit, veggies
Doritos Spicy Sweet Chili
Clif bars (except Blueberry Crisp)
Fritos (original and barbecue)
Nabisco Ginger Snaps
Ritz regular, whole-wheat crackers
Snyder’s Jalepeno Pretzels
Thomas New York Style Bagels (Blueberry, Everything, Cinnamon Raisin, Cinnamon Swirl, Plain)
Source: PETA.org accidentally vegan list.
Vegan Thanksgiving dinner options:
Spinach Stuffed Mushrooms
- 16 ounces whole crimini or white button mushrooms
- 1 t olive oil
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- ¼ cup yellow onion, diced
- ¼ cup dry white wine
- 2 T soy sauce
- 3 cup baby spinach
- 2 T non-dairy cream cheese
- 1 T nutritional yeast
- ⅛ t cayenne
- ¼ cup red pepper, finely minced
- Chopped parsley
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Remove stems from mushrooms. Leave caps intact and chop stems.
- Heat olive oil in a saute pan over medium heat. Add onion, garlic and mushroom stems and stir to combine. Stir in white wine and soy sauce, continuing to cook until vegetables become tender, about 3 minutes. Stir in baby spinach and cook until fully wilted.
- Transfer vegetable mixture to a food processor. Add cream cheese, nutritional yeast and cayenne and blend to combine. Transfer to a bowl and stir in diced red pepper.
- Set mushroom caps top side down (hole side up!) in a baking dish. Add a spoonful of the filling to each cap, mounding filling slightly over the top. Bake 30 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and serve hot. Garnish with fresh parsley.
Serves 4. Recipe courtesy homemadelevity.com
Caramelized Brussels Sprouts
- 14-16 ounce bag of Brussels Sprouts
- Olive oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Chop sprouts into quarters.
- Place in a saucepan on medium heat and drizzle with olive oil.
- Cook sprouts for 20-25 minutes, allowing the outer leaves to caramelize and turn brown in places. Toss occasionally.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste; serve.
Winter squash stuffed with mashed potatoes and peas
- 2 medium butternut or carnival squashes (1 1/2 to 2 pounds each)
- 6 medium potatoes, peeled and diced
- 1 tablespoon olive or other healthy vegetable oil
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 1 large carrot, cut into thick 2-inch-long matchsticks
- 1/2 cup rice milk
- 1 cup frozen petite green peas, thawed
- 2 teaspoons salt-free seasoning blend (such as Spike or Mrs. Dash)
- Pinch of nutmeg
- Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- Nutritional Yeast to taste, optional
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Cut the squash in half lengthwise and remove seeds and fibers. Cover with aluminum foil and place the halves, cut side up, in a foil-lined shallow baking pan. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes, or until easily pierced with a knife but still firm. When cool enough to handle, scoop out the pulp, leaving a firm 1/4- to 1/2-inch-thick shell all around. Mash the pulp and set aside until needed.
- In the meantime, combine the potatoes with enough water to cover in a large saucepan. Bring to a simmer, then simmer steadily, covered, until the potatoes are tender, about 10 to 15 minutes.
- Heat the oil in a medium skillet. Add the onion and carrot and sauté over medium heat until the onion is golden and the carrot is tender-crisp. Remove from the heat.
- When the potatoes are done, drain them and transfer to a mixing bowl. Add the milk and mash until smooth. Stir in the onion-carrot mixture, followed by the peas, nutritional yeast, and nutmeg. Add the reserved squash pulp, and stir gently until the mashed potato and squash are well integrated.
- Divide the mixture evenly among the four squash shells. Bake for 15 minutes, until well heated through. Cut each half crosswise to make 8 portions.
Serves 8. Recipe courtesy vegkitchen.com.
Vegan, gluten-free, refined sugar-free Pumpkin Fudge
- 2/3 cup (160 ml) pure pumpkin purée, homemade or canned (be sure the only ingredient is pumpkin)
- 1/4 cup coconut sugar
- 1 T pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 t plain or vanilla pure stevia liquid
- 2 T unflavored or vanilla rice protein powder
- 1 T cinnamon
- 1/2 t ground ginger
- pinch fine sea salt
- 1/2 cup plus 2 T coconut butter, melted
- 2 T coconut oil
- Prepare a small square container, such as a plastic food storage container, by lining with plastic wrap. Set aside.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the pumpkin, coconut sugar, vanilla and stevia until the sugar has dissolved. Add the protein powder, cinnamon, ginger and salt, and mix well.
- In a small heavy-bottomed pot, gently melt the coconut butter and coconut oil until smooth. Pour over the pumpkin mixture and stir vigorously until well combined. Spread evenly in the container and smooth the top.
- Refrigerate until firm, at least 2 hours. Invert on a cutting board, peel off the plastic wrap, and slice into small pieces. Makes 16 small squares. May be frozen; defrost, covered, overnight in the refrigerator.
Recipe courtesy RickiHeller.com