Thanksgiving is a favorite holiday in my family since it’s one of the few times during the year where we can all get together and share delicious food, stories, and memories. And this year, I hope to share veganism with my non-vegan family members. A couple years ago on my first vegan thanksgiving I was surprised to see how easy it is to create a vegan version of the traditional thanksgiving food on the table. And this year, I am even more surprised to see many food options that are pre-made and readily available as vegan. So, without further ado, let’s look at what traditional vegan thanksgiving feast options are available in your local grocery store (and even available online, for those who don’t have too much free time to make a trip to the grocery store).
The first thing you think of when you think of Thanksgiving is the main roast, which in most households is a huge turkey and maybe even a ham. But for those of us who are vegan or vegetarian, it’s hard to find a good replacement for this. Luckily, there are good replacements out there.
I’ve tried Trader Joe’s Breaded Turkey-less Stuffed Roast with Gravy. This delicious roast is made of a soy-based tofu and stuffed with a cranberry stuffing mix and covered in crumbly breadcrumbs. This serves two people generously, or four people conservatively.
But if you want a larger roast then I recommend Tofurky’s Holiday Vegetarian Roast and Gravy. I found this at my local Safeway for $12, but you can also find it online in case none of the stores near you carry this.
Another classic thanksgiving dish is stuffing. And if you don’t have a lot of time on your hands to make this from scratch then here are a few options that are happily accidentally vegan.
Pepperidge Farm Herb Seasoned Stuffing contains no animal products, but be careful because a lot of their other flavors do contain chicken and/or chicken broth. And the Cornbread Stuffing Mix at Trader Joe’s is also vegan.
The directions on both these boxes do suggest mixing butter and water into the stuffing, but if you use vegan butter then this will make the whole thing vegan. The Pepperidge Farm stuffing is available on Amazon, and if you have Amazon Prime take advantage of that free overnight shipping. Also, another helpful hint, make sure to check out your local grocery chain’s brand of herb seasoned boxed stuffing because often they are accidentally vegan, like the grocery chain Kroger on the East coast has their own brand of stuffing that’s vegan.
If you do want to try your hand at making your own vegan cornbread stuffing, click here to find a great recipe at Trendeing.com.
And what family dinner doesn’t include dinner rolls?
I don’t know if you know, but Pillsbury’s Crescent Rolls are accidentally vegan. Just pop them out of the can, roll them up, and bake. It’s as simple as that! Plus, if you aren’t hosting thanksgiving dinner, offer to bring these over to thanksgiving dinner. It’s a nice gesture and no one will believe you when you say they are vegan.
Another side dish you can offer to make and bring to thanksgiving dinner are roasted vegetables.
At my local Safeway, in the vegetable section, there are pre-made butternut squash with thyme, carrots with dill, or fingerling potatoes with rosemary. You can either make these a little sweet or savory. For example, with the carrots and dill you can drizzle maple syrup and brown sugar on top and roast for 15-20 minutes at 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Or if you want them to be savory, you can drizzle olive oil, salt, and black pepper on top of the potatoes and roast for 15-20 minutes at 425 degrees Fahrenheit. It’s a simple dish that elevates any meal and is easily shareable.
Another Thanksgiving side dish that is always included is the cranberry sauce.
In most grocery stores you can find this sauce in a can. My go-to is Ocean Spray Whole Berry Cranberry Sauce. But beware of any of the jellied cranberry sauces since they may contain gelatin, which is mostly not vegan. You can find a lot of variety online that ranges from homemade jars of it to organic.
The only thing I had a very hard time finding a vegan substitute for are Boxed Mashed Potatoes. These packages of instant mash potatoes usually have butter, milk, and eggs in their ingredients. However, I do know a great and easy recipe to whip up some mash potatoes if you want to make a vegan version for the table. Click here to make garlic mash potatoes with shiitake mushroom gravy.
My absolute favorite finds this thanksgiving are the desserts I discovered that are accidentally vegan.
Both Sara Lee and Marie Calendar’s Cherry and Apple Pies are completely vegan. I couldn’t believe it at first, but after re-reading the ingredient list I could confirm that there are no animal products in these pies. And what goes best with pie?
How about some vanilla ice-cream? So Delicious soymilk vanilla ice-cream is a great option I found at Safeway. It’s the best price for the amount you get.
These products can be made for your own vegan Thanksgiving dinner, or if you are having thanksgiving dinner at someone else’s home you can offer to make and bring these vegan options. I recommend bringing your favorite vegan dish, whatever that may be, so in case there aren’t too many options you at least have your favorite food there. But feel free to make one, two, three, or as many dishes as you want. I think thanksgiving is all about sharing, and what better day to share your love of food and veganism than on a day that celebrates sharing thanks with friends and family.
This Thanksgiving, I wish you a wonderful Thanksgiving filled with love, compassion, and delicious vegan eats.