Cruelty Free Thanksgiving Dinner

Hello friends. A very long time ago when I was a teen, I decided to go vegetarian. My first Thanksgiving without turkey gravy was torturous! I made it through the holiday but fell off the wagon the following year and started eating poultry again. This was in the early 80s and in my naivete, I believed there weren't any good options to celebrate the holiday without harming another living creature. Fast forward to now...I have been vegan for 5 years after being a vegetarian for over 25 years and the world has changed quite a bit. There are so many amazing options available in the store along with recipes by amazing chefs like The Gentle Chef.

Our household is a mixed home--we have vegans, vegetarians and the lone meat eater. For Thanksgiving, our entire menu is vegan except that my husband prepares some chicken or turkey for my step-son. I absolutely guarantee you that these recipes will satisfy you regardless of your dietary preferences. You will find that it is very easy to celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday in a cruelty free way--without harming the animals or harming your own body. Enjoy!

"Turkey"

We purchase the Field Roast Celebration Roast with Traditional Bread Stuffing and Gravy. We crave this year round...it is that good.

You can't go wrong with anything made by Field Roast. Tofurkey has some options as well, but I prefer the texture and flavor of the Field Roast products.

One year, I made a seitan "turkey breast" from The Gentle Chef. It was pretty darn good, but I was the only one in the family that was vegan at the time and it was a huge "breast". If you like to make things homemade, this is a great option and not very difficult to make.

Mashed Potatoes

We make two versions. The standard mashed potatoes and made by boiling about 5 pounds of potatoes that have been cut into 1 inch cubes. Once the potatoes can be pierced easily with a fork, drain the water and save a cup of the water that the potatoes were cooked in--it will be a little starchy. Hand mash the potatoes and add a stick of vegan "butter" (I like Earth Balance). You can then add a little of the potato water until the potatoes are the consistency that you like.

My favorite version of mashed potatoes is a recipe that my mom always made. I learned recently that it was shared with her by her friend Donna. Here is the veganized version.

Gravy

So, as I mentioned above, gravy was the toughest thing for me to give up. There are actually some great dry vegan gravy packets that you can purchase at the grocery store for when you are in a rush. This recipe is not at all complicated and it will literally knock your socks off--it is that good! None of your guests will miss the "real thing" when they are presented with this.

Vegetable Side Dishes

I really can't resist making a lot of sides. Vegetables are the star of the show in our house.

My daughter loves this simple carrot dish. Tarragon is anise-flavored and used a lot in French cooking. I can't resist pearl onions, peas and dill and this dish is a hit with me. We also make a roasted cauliflower.

Stuffing

I am from Pennsylvania and we call it stuffing. Those in the South might call it dressing. I keep it simple with this recipe. You can really use any brand of packaged stuffing mix, just read the ingredients to ensure it is vegan. The next day, you can make stuffing croquettes. 

Cranberry Sauce

I never really liked cranberry sauce until my friend Laura gave me this recipe. This is quite good! 

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