The first thing everyone thinks about when they hear “Thanksgiving” is turkey! Where does that leave vegans and vegetarians? I’ve found 4 delicious vegetarian twists to Thanksgiving favorites that will leave your guests asking for more.
Who doesn’t love stuffing? This hearty and healthy alternative will wow the crowd. Quinoa with vegetables replaces the bread in conventional stuffing. You can buy quinoa and your favorite vegetables and cook them separately, or you can buy frozen bags of quinoa already mixed with vegetables at Whole foods. The latter will certainly save you time and I assure you it’s just as tasty. You can add celery, apples, kale, fresh cranberries, walnuts, and chestnuts. Nuts are a fantastic alternative to meat because they add heartiness to any recipe.
Sweet potatoes are another Thanksgiving staple. They are a great source of protein and vitamins for vegetarians. Personally, I can roast sweet potatoes in the oven, add a little brown sugar and devour them! However, if you’re doing a casserole, they usually call for marshmallows. Luckily, you can find vegan marshmallows at Whole foods. I ran across these fluffy wonders 2 weeks ago when I was grocery shopping. At first, I wasn’t too sure about vegan marshmallows but I was brave enough to buy them and give them a try. They are fantastic! Try this: make a sweet potato casserole, add vegan marshmallows and don’t tell your guests they are vegan. I bet no one will notice.
(Side note): According to the chefs on the Food Network special “Thanksgiving Live,” you should always roast your sweet potatoes to preserve their sweetness.
8-10 large sweet potatoes (depends on how many people you’re cooking for)
Walnuts or pecans (optional topping)
Vegan marshmallows (optional topping)
Brown sugar (optional topping)
Thoroughly wash the sweet potatoes. Poke holes in them with a fork. Roast them in the oven, until they are soft, for about 1-2 hours at 375 degrees. If you serve them as they are, you can have an interactive topping bar for your guests to choose what they want.
Thanksgiving Sangria (this is huge in my house):
You don’t need to wait for the holidays to make this cocktail but you can definitely add certain ingredients that will scream, “the holidays are here!” Traditional, Spanish sangria (vino tinto) is made with a white or red wine of your choice, liquor, a sweetener, and chopped fruit. In this case, you’ll need to buy a vegan wine. To make it perfect for Thanksgiving dinner, you can add fresh cranberries, pears, oranges, and apples. If you want to add a sparkly surprise, club soda is the way to go.
1 thinly sliced pear, apple, and orange or blood orange
1 container of fresh cranberries
½ cup of brandy or rum
Coconut Nectar (optional, to sweeten. It will not taste like coconut.)
Club soda (optional)
Mix all the ingredients in a pitcher, and drink up.
Pumpkin pie is a Thanksgiving staple. If you prefer to buy something already made, Whole foods sells vegan pies that are just as delicious as the original.
Pies are not complete without a dollop of whipped cream or ice cream. You can buy rice-based whipped cream at whole foods, and although this is a great alternative, there’s an even better one. Buy a can of coconut milk (make sure its full fat instead of low fat) and refrigerate the can for a few hours to a day. When you open the can, you will have the tastiest, vegan whipped cream. If you prefer ice cream on your pie, there are coconut, cashew, and rice-based ice creams that are even better than the milk based ones. The different ice creams are sold in Publix, Target, and Whole foods.
The great thing about these 4 recipes is you can make them your own. Feel free to replace any one of the ingredients I recommended. As I’ve shown here, a vegetarian Thanksgiving is just as special and delicious as a traditional one.