There are only a few major holidays a year, thus making it a very difficult task for hosts to accommodate to all different dietary restrictions. For this reason, each year at least one of my non-vegan friends send out an SOS smoke signal enquiring how to make a vegan feast which includes a mock turkey. If this is not asked, many others will ask how to make a healthy version of a popular celebration dish. These questions never bother me, so ask away, it is the pleasure of a health/fitness blogger for certain to answer these types of questions.
To make it not just easier on myself, but to answer the constant question from just about all non-vegans is “what about the turkey?” As many see it, it is the main attraction on the dinner table. If my memory serves me right, it is actually questionable if this type of bird was served on the original feast day or not. But traditions are traditions and each year we all look forward to the turkey on the table for certain, including vegans.
Now you might be thinking to yourself, what do vegans eat in place of turkey? It is a bit strange to state we do not eat this animal, even on the coined day called “Turkey Day”. There’s so much more than just the turkey on the table for Thanksgiving though. My youngest niece just informed me it is now called “Mashed Potato Day”, since she has an addiction to this creamy starch dish throughout the entire year. Our family is a bit weird, I never claimed we were sane. My sister who actually eats animal meat loads her plate with Amish-style Egg noodles. There’s no rules, just enjoy what you love even if it’s pizza right? It’s the company and conversation which is important, not the food on the table. So let’s throw out nicknames for this holiday and enjoy the day in whatever way we please.
If you are having a vegan guest and wish to have a nice entree instead of salad (Oh please don’t just search salad to a vegan guest), then here are my suggestions for alternatives.
- Tofurky Feast (comes in a roast or full dinner): This is my husbands’ favorite vegan ‘turkey’ alternative. When this first came out there were a lot of fun jokes about a Tofurky dinner but now I feel as though it is becoming more acceptable. Our first experience with a Tofurky Roast was in Cleveland, Ohio purchased from Whole Foods Market, about 8 years ago. It was stress relieving to have something placed on the table just for us. My family does not make anything vegan, so it is a bit of a challenge to make double meals in one kitchen. Many of times we have made our dinner ahead of time and had to microwave it so as to not interrupt everyone else’ meal. With the Tofurkey roast though, it can go into the same oven as the turkey and takes no special consideration on our part. Another nice feature is not only can you toss the roast in the oven but you can toss your side dish of veggies on the side right in the same roasting pan. It is so easy to get everything prepared even your non-vegan family/friends will be amazed. This is our #1 choice.
2. Gardein Feast: This roast is very similar to the Tofurkey roast however the difference is in the cost category. Gardein always has the best tasting vegan option so I am sure this will taste good. This year is the first year I have seen it but we found it was double the price of our favorite Tofurky Roast so we purchased the least expensive one. If this is anything like the other chicken-free products, I am sure it is worth the price tag.
3. Field Roast: Personally I have not had the chance to test out this roast as the only available option in our stores last year contained Hazelnut (I’m allergic). Genki Husband had to take on the challenge to eat 3/4 of the roast himself last year. He said it was delicious but for the price tag compared to the other options he would probably just choose something else. Unlike the Tofurky roast, this is baked alone, without any vegetables. So if you are baking a lot of different dishes all at once, this may be a challenge to time things out. If you are planning on making all side dishes vegan, it probably would not be an issue with timing the oven schedule. Taste wise, Genki Husband would suggest it if you can fit the price into your budget. There are supposed to be a few other options for flavors this year but I can’t say I have seen more than just the pineapple one. But we live in a small area.
3. Vegan Wellington: This is a dish I have been wanting to test out in our kitchen for a few years. Timing has been difficult though seeing as we have been moving during two of them and also traveling to visit family members in different states than our own. This year I tested this out just on a normal weekend as a special treat for Genki Husband. I’m not going to lie, this does take a long time to put together. It’s not the steps just the time it takes to complete all the steps. It took me about 1.5 hours from start to finish. The results were very good, it makes two loafs and was more than enough for about 8 servings. We would make this again but probably double the amount of mushrooms and take out most of the oil since it was unnecessarily greasy.
4. Trader Joes’ Roast: Trader Joe’s makes a lot of great product lines however their vegan options are a little less than stellar in my opinion. The cheese does not melt and the turkey does not taste like turkey. The texture is similar to animal meat (which is important to new vegans) but the flavor is just not up to the level of the others listed. It is greasy and falls apart easily. I would say if you want to purchase a vegan turkey and have only this option, go for it. I would definitely recommend making your own vegan chickenless gravy to go on top though for added flavor. This might just be our opinion but for our tastebuds, we would prefer the other options. The price is good though.
A few other options that I found while searching for my ideas this year but have not tried are below: (I have no idea how these are but could be tasty.)
Seitan Stuffed with Walnuts, Dried Cranberries, and Mushrooms recipe from Fat Free Vegan.
Huge Christmas Sausage Roast from Mouthwatering Website
Seitan Roast by Vegan Yack Attack
Go outside the box and maybe try tofu lasagna by Peta
Vegan Vegan Meatloaf Cupcakes by Fork and Beans Website
There are endless options for Thanksgiving, just pick something you love and have it on this special day. The holiday is about spending time with your family and friends while enjoying good food. So whatever you have on this holiday, it will be special.