A Turkeyless Thanksgiving

photo by raceytay

i’m excited to talk to you about serving a plant based thanksgiving meal. i’ve told you this story before, but ten years ago when i told my family i was going to be a vegetarian the first question they asked was,”but what will you eat for thanksgiving?!” well, we’ve all come a long way since then, but it’s still one of the most frequent questions i get. since then, we’ve had years of delicious thanksgiving meals, sans the turkey, cheese and heavy cream.

years ago i heard someone talking about how many americans were emotionally attached to meat. hotdogs at ball games, hamburgers at cookouts, turkey at thanksgiving. for some reason, it struck me as odd. even kind of gross. i mean, i didn’t want to be emotionally attached to meat! i know there are lots of different feelings, beliefs and emotions surrounding food so my intention here is not to change or upset anyone, only to share with you the way we do things, why we do it and how it makes us feel.

so this year, you won’t find any turkey on our table, but instead a wholesome and hearty feast of plant based courses. they will leave us feeling fully satisfied, but not ‘over done’ and there will be no need to diet afterwards (well, maybe just a little). we’ll be energized after our meal, instead of exhausted and in need of a nap!

wait, what’s wrong with the turkey?

i love this article that explains how traditional thanksgiving turkey is different today than it was 50 years ago. today, 99% of all turkeys raised in the U.S. are the “broadbreasted white” variety, sometimes also called the “large white.”

these birds are raised in confinement in extremely crowded conditions on factory farms. they live in unnatural, uncomfortable conditions and are fed a steady diet of grain and supplements like antibiotics, rather than the grubs, bugs and grasses they would eat in nature. the breasts of these turkeys are so large that they are unable to even reproduce naturally! which means that without human intervention, this variety of bird would become extinct in just one generation.

but i still want turkey!

if you still want turkey on your table, you can find a heritage, organic or sustainable turkey, by visiting the eat well guide’s advanced search page and search for heritage, organic and sustainable turkeys in your area.

ok, give me a few veg recipes to try.

below are are a few of the scrumptious thanksgiving courses i highly recommend. i hope you enjoy browsing them and maybe trying a few!

main course: this is the trickiest course to fix veg and still make people feel like they had a filling fall feast. it’s easy though with these recipes!

vegetable wellington redux (no cheese). this is a decadent course that truly feels special!
- ultimate vegan lentil loaf – a tried and true favorite!
holiday stuffed pumpkin- a center piece that must be carved and stuffed!
miso sesame winter squash – delicious and beautiful!
- celebration roast – the ultimate in vegan sophistication, this roast is simple and delicious!
- pumpkin soup - one of my all time favorites!
- apple sage sausage stuffing - a must have every year!

side dishes and salads: it’s easy enough to prepare veggies for side dishes, but the trick to thanksgiving is using seasonal spices & ingredients that makes the meal feel really special.

the best kale salad - seriously. the best!
garlic mashed potatoes – with ingredients like rosemary and lentils, this is sure to be a hit!
my favorite biscuits – easy and delicious.
roasted fingerling potatoes and brussel sprouts (brussel sprouts are my favorite).
roasted pumpkin seed hummus don’t throw out the pumpkin seeds!
shaved cauliflower salad – light and yummy.

dessert: the best part of all!

baked apples stuffed with cinnamon date pecan oatmeal
- vegan pumpkin pie – i like to make the gluten free one, it’s so yummy!
apple cider float – yumyumyum.
coconut ice cream – my favorite plant based ice cream (doesn’t taste like coconut!).

>> be sure to also check out the new york time's archive of vegetarian thanksgiving dishes. they all look amazing!

 


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