Before you get too enthusiastic and begin shaping a tofu or nut-based mixture into the shape of a turkey, redefine your arsenal of vegan Thanksgiving recipes so that you are completely satisfied come the holiday dinner.
These plant-based recipes should tantalize your taste buds, fill your belly with joy and be diverse enough in flavor and texture so you don’t feel like something is missing. The following plant-based Thanksgiving recipes are for those of you who don’t have turkey or other animal-based foods on the menu.
One of the slippery slopes inherent in any plant-based diet, especially a vegan or raw food diet, is the ability to become dependent on dense foods, such as nuts, dried fruits, avocados, and soy. Without meat, how do you fill up? In terms of your body’s ability to process certain foods, too many nuts will just fall like a rock in your system and leave you bloated, constipated, and bored. Dried fruit, eaten in excess, will spike blood sugar levels and avocados, despite bearing healthy fats, shouldn’t be over-consume as they are still just that – fats. Soy-based products are also a slippery slope if they are not fermented.
This is where you are required to get creative, using simple fruits and vegetables, greens, legumes, beans, lentils, and grains to fill the void. Choose high-quality plant-based ingredients and you’ll never get bored of, especially during the holiday season.
Scouring the internet for a list of vegan Thanksgiving recipes, I quickly realized that it wouldn’t just be me that I would be satisfying – the recipes I found were simply universal in appeal. The trick is to buff up the side dishes and eating a little bit of each to make a beautifully diverse meal.
1. Warm your tummy with a deep-flavored, lightly-sweet butternut squash soup. Use vegetable broth and coconut milk where suggested and Tasty Kitchen’s recipe for butternut squash soup fits the bill. I love the addition of leeks in this – they offer a crave-worthy overtone that’ll have you licking the bowl and asking for a second round.
2. One of my priorities is a vegan recipe for a classic green bean casserole. This green bean casserole recipe from C’est La Vegan says it all. It’s simple and traditional, but makes the appropriate swaps where a vegan would want them.
3. Next, I was looking for a hearty grain/seed salad that held a multitude of colors and textures – easy on the eyes and figure. This recipe for quinoa salad with pears, baby spinach and chickpeas in a maple vinaigrette checked off some of my favorite holiday flavors in one dish.
4. What’s a Thanksgiving meal without mashed potatoes? No need for the butters and creams, or even the white potato! Add some more nutrition and beautiful color to your mashed potatoes by opting for a pumpkin and sweet potato based variation.
5. As for vegan desserts, there is no reason you can’t indulge to the brim. Make our very own vegan pumpkin pie. Set it aside a fresh-out-of-the-oven vegan apple pie. Serve each slice with a scoop of vegan ice cream, either a coconut-based one that you can find at the grocery store or one you’ve made yourself.
Photo Credit: Tom Censani
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