Let’s be honest. Holiday meals can be a challenge. When friends and family members come together for a food-centered holiday (C’mon is there such a thing as a NON food-centered holiday?) you can avoid some of the obvious pitfalls (politics), but it’s tough to avoid differences in food preferences or dietary needs.
If your niece, son, cousin or best friend has turned to a plant-based diet, there’s no need to stress! Consider it an opportunity to bridge a gap, create understanding and cultivate acceptance. These simple tips will help you put out a meal that welcomes everyone to the table with delicious dishes minus the drama. (And without twice the work!) When it comes to the OTHER stuff (politics), you’re on your own!
A simple definition:
Vegan: a plant-based eater.
Vegans do not eat any animal products.
When feeding vegans avoid:
Meat Poultry Fish Cheese Butter Milk
Yogurt Buttermilk Eggs Honey Gelatin
Some ground rules:
Mutual respect is important! If laying a table with a holiday feast is a demonstration of love for your family, let it also be a demonstration of judgement- free inclusion. Respect your guests who’ve chosen a plant-based lifestyle and expect the same respect from them.
You don’t get to make underhanded comments about their tofu and they don’t get to judge your turkey. As a matter of fact, invite your vegan guests to take an active part in creating the holiday feast and ask them to prepare a plant-based dish they can share with the meat-eaters at the table.
In addition to putting a turkey on the table, do provide a meatless protein option. There are a whole host of heat & serve plant-based roasts that make it simple to offer a lovely, delicious protein for plant-based eaters.
May we suggest...
• Field Roast Celebration Roast
• Field Roast Hazelnut Cranberry Roast en Croute
• Gardein Holiday Roast
• Berkshire Food Co-op Mushroom Walnut Loaf (order at berkshire.coop/feast Oct. 21-Nov. 24)
For a homemade option, try this Vegan Stuffed Acorn Squash recipe. Make enough for the non-vegans because they’ll love it too. (For side- dish-sized portions, quarter roasted acorn squash and mound some stuffing on top).
Vegan Stuffed Acorn Squash
5 Acorn squash, cut in half & seeded Olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
3⁄4 cup chopped celery
1 large apple peeled and cubed 2 cloves garlic, minced
2 1⁄2 cups cooked quinoa
3⁄4 dried cranberries
1⁄2 cup pecans, coarsely chopped 1 tsp salt
1⁄2 tsp pepper
1⁄4 cup fresh parsley
Coat inside the squash with olive oil, sprinkle with salt & pepper and roast, cut side down (we recommend using parchment paper) at 400 degrees for about 40 minutes.
In the meantime, in a large pot, sweat the onion and celery in oil until translucent. Add apple and cook until soft. Toss in garlic and saute for half a minute.
Add remaining ingredients except parsley. Stir and turn to low. Cook until warmed through (about 7-8 minutes). Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Stir in parsley.
Fill each acorn half with stuffing and garnish with parsley.
Some Side Dishes
For vegan mashed potatoes that EVERYONE will love, start with Yukon Gold potatoes. They’re naturally smooth, creamy and buttery tasting. Ditch the dairy. Use a vegan butter (not all butter alternatives are vegan! We recommend Earth’s Balance.) Skip the milk or cream. Add extra flavor with roasted garlic. Chances are, the oven’s already fired up, so wrap an oil-slathered head of garlic in tin foil and toss it in there until it’s soft and fragrant (about 45 minutes). Squeeze those soft, steamy cloves into your mashed potatoes and you’ll have an instant hit on your hands. Pro-tip: to satisfy dubious, down-in-the-mouth, butter-lovers, put a butter dish on the table and encourage them to add a pat to the top of their potatoes, if they’d like.
This classic Thanksgiving dish is a cinch to make vegan and KEEP delicious. Chestnuts are your go-to addition for a deep, nutty flavor. Keep your usual aromatics - garlic, onion, herbs. Add some mushrooms for earthy goodness, substitute vegetable broth for chicken broth and use vegan butter. Easy peasy!
Go ahead and offer two kinds of gravy. Mushroom gravy is rich, savory and easy to make ahead. If you prefer to make the turkey gravy and purchase the mushroom gravy, Pacfic Organic Mushroom Gravy is a heat and eat alternative that’s delicious and easy to find. You can also pre-order Berkshire Food Co-op House Made Mushroom Gravy (berkshire.coop/feast Oct. 21-Nov. 24)
This hotly debated condiment has fans on the jellied side and fans on the berry side. If you’re buying yours, it’s easy to please either camp and keep it vegan. Read labels and avoid brands that use gelatin. If you’re making your own, avoid recipes that call for gelatin or honey. May we recommend Pacific Organic Cranberry Sauce— it’s available jellied or whole berry. Also consider ordering ahead for Berkshire Food Co-op Cranberry Relish! (order at berkshire.coop/feast Oct. 21-Nov. 24)
Vegan Mushroom Gravy in 30 minutes
1⁄2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1⁄2 cup finely chopped onion
4 ounces baby portobello mushrooms,
finely chopped (1 cup)
1⁄2 cup all-purpose flour
4 to 5 cups high quality vegetable stock,
1 tsp soy sauce, more to taste 1⁄2 tsp kosher salt
1⁄4 tsp black pepper
Heat oil over medium heat in large skillet. Add onion and mushrooms and cook until well browned (8-10 minutes).
Sprinkle in flour and cook to golden brown (3-5 minutes). Whisk in vegetable stock a bit at a time until you have a smooth sauce. Simmer until thickened (2-3 minutes). Season with soy sauce, salt & pepper.
Can be made and refrigerated up to 5 days ahead.
It’s probably pretty easy to create a vegan-ized version of your sweet potato dish without anyone noticing the difference. Avoid eggs. Substitute vegan butter and non-dairy cream (store bought or try the simple cashew cream recipe here). If marshmallows are a must-have for your crew, we recommend Dandee brand for a gelatin-free option.
This incredibly simple nut-based cream is a game-changer when you need to please vegans AND non-vegans. It’s a great substitute for heavy cream in just about any kind of casserole. (including mac & cheese!)
Soak 1 cup of raw cashews overnight. Drain, but save the water. Put nuts, 1⁄2 cup water and 1⁄4 tsp salt in blender or food processor and puree. Add more water to reach your desired consistency.
Keeps in the fridge for up to 5 days.
Get your Pie-Orities Straight
Pumpkin pie is probably the easiest Thanksgiving dessert to make vegan-friendly. There’s no shame in starting with a store bought crust! We recommend Wholly Wholesome Organic Pie Shells. Try the recipe here for a simple and delicious plant-based pumpkin pie. Prefer to purchase ready-made? We don’t want to brag, but the Co-op’s pretty famous for our glorious vegan pumpkin pie. (Available with a wheat- free crust too! Order at berkshire.coop/feast Oct. 21-Nov. 24)
Easy Vegan Pumpkin Pie
1 (15 oz.) canned pumpkin
(not pumpkin pie filling)
1 cup canned, full fat coconut milk 1/3 cup maple syrup
2 Tblsp brown sugar
1 Tblsp pumpkin pie spice
3 Tblsp cornstarch
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
Mix all the ingredients in a blender and pour into a purchased, par-baked, vegan pie shell. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. Let cool then serve with a non-dairy whipped topping!
Making a little extra effort to embrace everyone’s unique food preferences is a great way to show you care, plus you (or Uncle Herbert) might discover that some plant-based alternatives are pretty darned delicious! Take a deep breath, no one expects perfection and hey, you know, we’re here for you if you need us!
Your Go-To Tools to Vegan-ize Your Feast:
We love cashew milk and oat milk because they’re soy-free and have a terrific, creamy mouth-feel.
Non-dairy whipped topping
Skip the cool-whip (yea, it’s non-dairy, but full of hydrogenated fats) and opt for So Delicious CocoWhip.
Long, slow cooking
Roasting in the oven or caramelizing on the stove top will coax the deepest flavors from vegetables.
We recommend Earth’s Balance.
Gelatin free marshmallows
We recommend Dandee.
A delicious seasonal sweeter!