Turkey for Thanksgiving? That’s sooo 1621! While carnivores and traditionalists may disagree, contemporary Thanksgiving dinners can consist of vegetarian, pescatrian, vegan and even cheagan options (and, yes; the latter is a cheating vegan).
The Pilgrims may not have had a Whole Foods or produce stand on every street corner; today however, we’re a bit more fortunate. If eating turkey (or other animal products) doesn’t resonate with your moral, ethical, wellness – or any other personal compass – then relax. I’ve got you covered with a few simple steps to create a vegan Thanksgiving celebration below. In addition, here are a few healthy swaps you can make: Green This, Not That: 4 Simple Swaps for a Healthy Thanksgiving.
Orange certainly is the new black! Great vegan soups include pumpkin bisque, butternut squash, acorn squash or creamy carrot (click for Creamy Vegan Butternut Squash Soup, Cream of Carrot Soup with Almond Croutons, or Raw Acorn Squash Soup vegan recipes).
This one is easy and, as Fit Chef Katy instructs, include one of each for the perfect salad: 1.) a nut, 2.) a (vegan) cheese, 3.) greens (think arugula, spinach or Belgian endive) and 4.) a fruit (cranberries, figs or dates are perfect for the holiday). You can substitute fruit with red and golden beets for a vibrant splash of fall color. For great vegan cheeses, try Daiya; these are soy-free, diary-free and gluten-free. My husband and I have been enjoying vegan pizza made with Daiya cheese and our taste buds don’t know the difference (hmm, perhaps a lazy-vegan Thanksgiving option?).
For a quick, affordable and easy salad dressing, enjoy Fit Chef Katy’s Balsamic Dressing:
- 1/2 Cup of Extra Virgin Olive Oil (USDA Organic)
- 1/2 Cup of Balsamic Vinegar
- 1/4 Cup of Agave Syrup or Honey (not for beegans; those who don’t eat bee products)
- 1 Tablespoon of Whole Grain Dijon Mustard
- Put oil, balsamic vinegar, syrup and mustard in a jar with a lid.
- Secure and shake diligently until well combined.
- Add salt and pepper to taste.
If toasted tempeh or Tofurkey isn’t your thing, think nuts, spices, fall harvest and nightshade vegetables. Packed with nutrients, you can get creative here with eggplant, winter squash, sweet potatoes, green beans, roasted asparagus, cauliflower mashed potatoes (check out these creative dairy-free mashed potato recipes), Brussels sprouts or grilled artichoke hearts; the list goes on. For a quick and healthy recipe, enjoy Roasted Brussels & Persimmons.
- Make a kids-only menu item: A fun way to get kids involved and excited about Thanksgiving dinner is to have them make a dish solely for themselves. Try a low-stress, minimal ingredient recipe like Baked Apples from Juicy Juice. End result: a seasonal and healthy dessert or side just for kids.
- Serve festive drinks for the kids, too: Let the little ones sip on a glass of Apple Cider, a warm Christmas Cheer punch or set up a DIY drink station so they can make something special for themselves. Help kids combine half juice, half sparkling water and add an easy fruit garnish or a festive straw.
A Sustainable Toast
Toast to Health with 7 Sustainable Wines & Spirits. Or, try Pumpkin Spiced Mule this using VEEV – a wheat based vodka consisting of 100% natural ingredients (including Acai):
- 2 oz VEEV Spirit
- 1/4 oz Monin Pumpkin Spice Simple Syrup
- 1/4 oz Fresh Lime Juice
- Top with 2 oz Ginger Beer
- Add VEEV and pumpkin spice simple syrup to cocktail shaker with ice and shake.
- Pour ingredients into a Mason jar and top with ginger beer.
- Garnish with fresh ginger slice.
According to Yahoo! Health, the Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte has great flavor but also packs a fat, sugar and calorie filled punch. In fact, a 16-ounce “Grande” pumpkin spice latte, made with 2 percent milk and topped with whipped cream, contains 380 calories, 14 grams of fat and 12 teaspoons of sugar (50 grams) – yikes!
Try instead, a healthy Pumpkin Spice Smoothie option that delivers fall flavors with a high-nutritional quotient. Whip up this smoothie, then snuggle up in some blankets by a fire, read a good book and watch the leaves change into beautiful fall colors.
Ingredients (Serves 4)
- Frozen bananas
- 3/4 cup of pumpkin puree (organic)
- 2tsp Pumpkin Spice (1tsp ground cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg, 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger, 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves)
- 2tsp vanilla
- 2-21/2 cup almond milk (more or less)
- *Optional: 8 scoops of OsoLean® and 4 scoops of NutriVerus™ to add an extra nutritional punch.
- Combine all ingredients in a blender and mix until smooth.
- Add as much almond milk as you need to reach a smooth and creamy consistency.
- Pour into four glasses and enjoy!
If smoothies aren’t your thing, try this guilt-free, Gluten-Free: Autumn Spice Cupcakes with Coconut Cream Frosting Recipe.
Ahh, so much vegan food, so little time.
Got a favorite Thanksgiving vegan dish that you’d like to share? Let us know below.