Thanksgiving is kind-of a big deal. Ok, it’s a really big deal. In this busy go-go-go world, for many people, Thanksgiving is the one time of year when family (or friends) sit down at a table together and share a meal.
The heart of the Thanksgiving tradition is about family, friends, and gratitude—not the turkey so often found at the center of the table. In fact, when you really think about it, eating animals on Thanksgiving is about as far from the meaning of the holiday as you can get!
We invite you to start a new tradition this year and celebrate a vegan Thanksgiving.
If you’re eager to remove animal cruelty from your holiday celebration but you’re not sure where to start, don’t fret. You don’t have to change much to enjoy a considerate, compassionate vegan Thanksgiving—and we’ve laid it all out for you here!
If this is your first time hosting a vegan Thanksgiving dinner, start here, where you’ll find some very helpful tips for hosting a holiday party from seasoned vegans.
Craft Your Vegan Thanksgiving Menu
Whether you want to spend a day creating amazing smells in the kitchen or prefer to opt for store-bought everything, there are lots of vegan options for you. If you want to make life as simple as possible, watch this:
I tend to fall somewhere in-between—I buy store bought vegan stuffing mix, a vegan turkey roast, pie crusts, whipped cream, and ice cream, but I make much of the rest from scratch. Here are the recipes I’m considering using this year:
- Miyoko’s Creamery artisan vegan cheese with crackers, grapes, and olives (appetizer)
- Field Roast Celebration Roast or Field Roast En Croute (whichever I can get my hands on)
- Garlicky Mashed Potatoes with Chives
- Green Bean Casserole
- Rosemary Roasted Carrots
- Stuffing (I use an “accidentally vegan” store-bought mix and add veggie broth, celery, and onion)
- Simple Vegan Gravy (If you use this recipe, be sure to use “chicken” flavored vegan bouillon cubes or broth. Also note that many vegan roasts come with ready-made gravy packets.)
- Cranberry sauce (just 3 ingredients!)
- Vegan Dinner Rolls
- Vegan Pecan Pie
- Vegan Pumpkin Pie (with pre-made pie-crust—many are vegan!)
- Hot Spiced Apple Cider & Chilled Pomegranate Mimosas
If you’re lucky enough to live in a vegan-friendly city, you may have a vegan bakery nearby that offers freshly baked Thanksgiving pies. Or perhaps you even live near a vegan restaurant like Veggie Grill that offers entire vegan Thanksgiving dinners (be sure to sign up in advance)!
Finally, if you want to cook up your own vegan Thanksgiving feast on a tight budget, Toni from Plant Based on a Budget released a vegan Thanksgiving feast e-cookbook that you should definitely check out! It’s only $5 and includes recipes for mashed potatoes, gravy, stuffing, butternut squash mac n cheese, cranberry sauce, pumpkin pie, whipped cream, green bean casserole, and dinner rolls. Yum!
Choose Your Vegan Thanksgiving Meal “Centerpiece”
This could be a vegan turkey roast, or something more creative like a hollowed out pumpkin filled with a rice pilaf. If you go with the roast (they are quite delicious), you have many choices. You can make your own seitan roast (there are countless recipes online), or buy a vegan roast. Here are some of the most popular options:
- Field Roast Celebration Roast (my favorite!)
- Field Roast En Croute
- Tofurky Vegetarian Feast
- Gardein Holiday Roast
- Trader Joe’s “Turkey-Less Stuffed Roast With Gravy” (this is actually the Gardein roast)
If you’re unsure which to choose, watch our vegan turkey roast taste test video below!
Establish a Gratitude Practice
Take this opportunity to reflect (what are you thankful for?), express gratitude, and show kindness to others. If you have kids, this can be a great opportunity to teach kindness and foster goodwill. Here are 5 family gratitude practices and here are 5 ways to teach kindness to children.
Adopt a Rescued Turkey
No—not for real! Farm Sanctuary offers an ‘Adopt a Turkey’ sponsorship program where you can donate to support a rescued turkey at the sanctuary. They will send you an adoption certificate in the mail, picturing the rescued turkey that you’ve symbolically adopted. This is a great new tradition to start as a family. I adopt a turkey every year and place the adoption card on my Thanksgiving table.
‘Feed The Turkeys’ At Your Local Farm Animal Sanctuary
Many farm animal sanctuaries hold events around Thanksgiving where you can feed the rescued turkeys (instead of eating them). These events often include a vegan Thanksgiving meal, barnyard time with the animals, and sometimes speakers and other activities as well. They are typically family friendly and a great opportunity to introduce the kiddos to some new animal friends. Check with your local sanctuary to see if they have an event! Note that many of these events fall on the weekends prior to Thanksgiving.
Participate in a Tofurky Trot
Running a 5K (3.1 miles) race the morning after Thanksgiving is a popular tradition—so why not make your run do some extra good for animals? Tofurky Trots are 5K run (or walk) events initiated by Tofurky to help raise money for causes and spread the veggie love. You can gather a group of friends to trot for a cause you care about or run one by yourself. If you’re lucky enough to be in Portland or Los Angeles on Thanksgiving, join one of the big organized groups! All profits from ticket sales go to a select non-profit and trot entrants get a super cool tee!