Thanks, but no thanks: Celebrating Thanksgiving sans turkey

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p: www.ourveggiekitchen.com

Approximately three weeks out from Canadian Thanksgiving (falling this year on October 12), the inevitable onslaught begins in stores and social media: reserve your turkey, call in your turkey, hunt your turkey, pick your turkey, schedule your pick-up of said turkey, and plan your day around the consumption of an animal that has ultimately over time, become one of the key components and most recognized symbols of a traditional, Western Thanksgiving meal. Serendipitously (for the plant-based peoples of the world), technically, the holiday is traditionally regarded as a day to give thanks for the blessing of the harvest, and of the year to come.

For vegetarians and vegans, the kick-off of holiday season is a challenging time of the year, for those of us not only attending these meals, yet hosting and providing them for guests of our own. Stereotypes still exist surrounding the ever-feared “ turkey alternative”, and many foodies still doubt the validity of a gravy, stuffing, or side-dish that doesn’t involve some meat or dairy ingredient. If we’re going to honour the true meaning of Thanksgiving, and give thanks for the blessing of the harvest, there is no better way to do so than with a collection of the best plant-based alternatives for your meal this year. Tried, tested and true, these will not only appease your family and friends, but give the skeptics something to reconsider as well.

 

  1. Get the best effing resources you can: if you want to make a very cost-efficient $15 investment, the VP released “ What To Feed That Effing Vegan: The Holiday Edition” last year. The book contains over 20 recipes, ranging from main alternatives and side dishes, to desserts and beverages. If you’re preparing a meal for a large group and you’re looking for all your recipes in one spot, this is not only the place to go, but will get you well prepared for Christmas as well. Link: https://gumroad.com/l/thateffingvegan_holiday#

 

  1. When all else fails, glaze: PETA offers a fantastic set of resources to support veggie peeps over the holidays. This recipe cuts out the butter, uses brown sugar over white (coconut could be substituted), and packs all the nutritional benefits of sweet potatoes: http://www.peta.org/recipes/maple-glazed-sweet-potatoes/

 

  1. Love the loaf: Aside from the lentil-based edition in the VP ebook, this is a tried, tested, and true “meatloaf” that can serve as a filling, satisfying, and “meaty” main dish: http://www.ourveggiekitchen.com/2010/07/vegan-meatloaf.html

 

  1. Tofurky is not the enemy: Tofurky, as is the case with all meat alternatives (and foods in general!), is something that satiates the palettes of some, and really mystifies others. With the right preparation and flavours, this is a fantastic option for the more “traditional” host: http://vegetarian.about.com/od/specialoccasionrecipe1/r/mapletofurky.htm

 

  1. Have realistic expectations: one of the best parts of transitioning to a new way of eating is trying new ingredients, new dishes, the opportunity to taste new unique flavor combos and items, and in some cases, completely define your culinary experience. Don’t expect that you’ll be able to mirror every single dish perfectly; rather focus on creating new (bonus- cruelty free!) traditions.

 

 

Happy cooking + happy feasting!

 

 

  • Zoe-

 

Ig: @zoemarg // e: zoe@theveganproject.com

 

 

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