Not that the food, per se, is less than fabulous, mind you! I've been vegan for 21 years now and can't say I've ever missed the meat on Thanksgiving, personally. When you love to cook and can make delicious and satisfying dishes, there's just so much else to enjoy that you don't really miss boring old turkey. At least I don't. But it can be tricky, however, if you're trying to satisfy friends and family who are attached to having a non-veg dinner.
What I've personally found is that when we host Thanksgiving dinner, we make dishes that pretty much anyone would love - whether they're vegan or omni. As I've hosted almost every Thanksgiving at my house for the last two decades, I've found out what the peeps be likin. So, here is my vegan Thanksgiving round-up for dishes that will make ALL of your guests very, very happy - and probably even forget they're at a vegan dinner!
To start things off, I'd suggest having some Holiday-y beverages handy. Maybe some vegan egg nog and also hot mulled apple cider. The apple cider is especially lovely, as it will make your whole house smell festive, homey, and inviting! To make it, simply place some organic cider in a large pot along with cinnamon sticks, whole cloves, organic orange peels, and nutmeg. Simmer until heavenly.
photo by Olga Vasiljeva
Next, have some delicious appetizers and salads available to start things off. There's a salad I always make called Italian Bread Salad w/ Tangy Basil Vinaigrette. It's ridiculous and will have people freaking out for seconds. Make it. I also recommend this Rosemary Mushroom Strudel (pictured above) as a great starter. YUM.
Oh, and don't forget these... Asian Asparagus Wraps (above)! I've made these so many times that at this point, my guests weep (well, almost) if I don't include them. They look all fancy, but they're really easy to make. I promise!!
Also, be sure to serve some good bread. You can either purchase bakery bread or rolls (my daughter loves the Alexa brand of whole wheat rolls - available in the freezer section at health food stores) or you can make bread from scratch. We like to make this whole grain cornbread or these pumpkin rosemary biscuits.
Soups are also great to round out your feast! You can find many Thanksgiving-perfect soups in my books, but here's a great one from my blog - Ginger Lime Carrot Soup. SO delicate, nourishing, and delish!
Be sure to have some yummy veggies on hand too. Here's a recipe for roasted cauliflower (from my first book, RHIW) that actually won an award! And these Citrus Beets with Maple Orange Walnuts are perfect to impress your guests and dress up your table with their beautiful colors.
For the main event, we actually make a Tofurky roast. Yeah, go ahead and laugh, but it's good!! I mean, it's not homemade, but it's still really fun to unwrap a roast, season it up, and bake it to perfection. We like to baste ours with orange juice, tamari, and olive oil and include some trimmins too - whole garlic, onions, carrots, and chopped potatoes. Then, when the roast is done, you have all manner of goodness waiting to adorn your plate, along with some mashed potatoes... And all of it waiting to be topped with an amaaaazing gravy, such as Scrumptious Shiitake Gravy (a recipe from RHIW that I guarantee you and any of your guests, vegan or not, will freak out for!!).
For those of you who asked about stuffing, the Tofurky roast does have stuffing inside it. However, when I think of stuffing, I fondly remember what my grandma always used to make for the vegetarians in our family. She'd sautee up some onions and celery in olive oil, then add sage, thyme, and rosemary. She'd then add chopped stale bread (gluten-free folks, you can use a gluten-free bread here), vegetable broth, and bake it all in a covered dish til browned and firm. SO good, and especially sweet considering it came from my Gram. : )
Finally, you'll want some sweet treats, right??!! Um, YEAH! I have many recipes in my books for great festive sweet treats, including a healthy, fresh, delish take on pumpkin pie, but here are two from my blog. Orange Spiced Baklava is perfect for when you have a large crowd, as it makes a ton and impresses the beans out of everyone in the vicinity that you actually made baklava. Then, there's this apple crisp recipe that's very easy to toss together and makes a perfect counterpart as well!
All in all, I hope this will give you inspiration to create your own amazing, plant-based Thanksgiving feast. Happy Thanksgiving and enjoy!!!