Thanksgiving used to be my favorite holiday. You see, as a young person, I wasn’t the best cook. My repertoire was fairly limited.
But, I knew how to cook all the components in our traditional Thanksgiving feast, which included mashed potatoes, gravy, butternut squash, crescent rolls, roasted brussels sprouts, creamed onions, green bean casserole, sweet potatoes, corn, broccoli, stuffing, canned cranberry sauce, and lots and lots of pies. Oh yeah, and the turkey (tears in my eyes about that part…)
Then I became vegan, and the incredible sadness of having to witness so many wonderful, sentient beings being killed and their corpses being displayed on everyone’s Thanksgiving table just made me dread Thanksgiving. Not that I was worried about what I would eat. If you read my menu above, not much had to change (keep reading for more of that story). I did still enjoy getting together with my family, but having to look at the dead turkey was more than I wanted to cope with.
After a year or too, I got a brilliant idea of how I could go just for dessert. (I was good at making vegan pies, so I would bring dessert and all would be well.) But, I know my family didn’t get it. They were making things for me to eat…why didn’t I want to come for the whole day? Why would I rather go and celebrate with friends and/or strangers? (I had taken to going to a vegan Thanksliving celebration with my local vegan friends or to a sanctuary sponsored celebration, where the turkeys got to eat pumpkins and squash).
The past couple of years, I have settled into my own. I now prepare the Thanksgiving feast once again, and it is plentiful and delicious.
And anyone who wants to come share it with me is welcome. I make mashed potatoes, using soy milk and Earth balance in place of the dairy in my previous versions. I make mashed butternut squash with a dollop or Earth Balance or not—it’s delicious on its own. I make baked or roasted sweet potatoes with Dandies marshmallows and pecans.
I have even veganized my signature dish, “green bean casserole”, using a vegan mushroom soup (this was a little hard to find, but Whole Foods had an option in a pouch—I forget the brand), soy milk, and Trader Joe’s French Friend onions.
Don’t forget the lemon-thyme corn, sub Earth Balance for the butter, and the crescent rolls, courtesy of Immaculate Baking Company.
Stuffing is easy—use water or vegetable broth instead of chicken broth and Earth Balance in place of butter.
Creamed onions—I’m sounding like a broken record—sub Earth Balance for the butter.
Cranberry sauce—I even make my own now instead of buying the canned stuff. And for me, it’s still about the pies: apple, pumpkin, chocolate, pecan, and maybe a berry one.
My trouble now is wanting to make too many different dishes! I even forgot about all the vegan roasts out there now and the gravy!
Thanksgiving is all about celebrating everything we have to be thankful for and how fortunate we are in life.
For me, that means celebrating the best thing I ever did: become vegan. I have piece of mind, knowing that my celebration didn’t cost anyone their life. AND I have plenty of delicious food to eat.
If you need any recipes, pointers, guidance or ideas for a happy Thanksgiving, please email me (firstname.lastname@example.org). I have plenty of information to share.
Happy Thanksgiving! Happy Thanksliving!