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Let's be real - aside from the real reason for Thanksgiving, we're all just looking forward to spending time with family & eating some delicious food. (I’m already drooling just thinking about it!) But for vegans, it can be a stressful holiday. Most of the people at your gathering aren’t going to be vegan. Heck, you may be the only vegan there! So how can you take a traditionally meat-focused meal & turn it vegan? It’s simple, really! By keeping these 8 tips in mind, we promise you will still leave Thanksgiving dinner having eaten plenty of food.
Odds are the main entree is going to be turkey - there’s just not much getting around that. So, get to cooking & bring your own entree! You don’t have to have to make some big, elaborate dish. Just make enough for yourself & any other vegans that are attending. The other guests will probably end up choosing the turkey anyway - it’s tradition.
Sure, turkey may be the star of the show, but Thanksgiving dinner really is all about the sides. With my huge family, our counters are always overflowing with an unnecessary number of side dishes. So if you skip out on a main dish, you’ll still have plenty of options to choose from.
Think ahead & coordinate who is bringing what. Most of the time, if guests are given the option to choose between a non-vegan option & a vegan option, they’re going to go with the non-vegan dish. It’s what they’re familiar with, & people can be reluctant to new things. So bring something that no one else is bringing. If you aren’t competing with another dish, your guests probably won’t even know it's vegan. Seriously - have you ever had vegan meatballs? They’re AMAZING.
If you’ve been going to Thanksgiving with the same family members for years, you’re probably comfortable enough to ask them to make accommodations for you. A lot of dishes can be made vegan with just a quick ingredient substitution. (It really can be as simple as switching out the milk in the mashed potatoes or skipping out on the cheese!)
Don’t feel like you have to cook for an army. Take the pressure off & stop by your local grocery store to pick up a vegan dish. Not only is it easier on you, but it also shows your friends & family that eating vegan is easier than it seems! Remember - there are a lot of traditional Thanksgiving foods that are already naturally vegan like potatoes, cranberries, green beans - all the stars of traditional sides!
While hosting a Thanksgiving gathering may seem like a lot of work, it’s easier to coordinate the food & make sure there are enough vegan options. Talk with your family to see who wants to bring the turkey. If you’re in charge of the side dishes, you can easily make them vegan-friendly with just a few swaps of ingredients, while your friends & family probably won’t even notice the difference!
Who’s to say that Thanksgiving dinner has to be centered around turkey? Create your own traditions & eat whatever you want. If your extended family isn’t vegan, start an annual vegan Thanksgiving with your vegan friends. It takes the stress away from meat-filled potlucks & makes your Thanksgiving worry-free!
Take a second to remember what Thanksgiving is really about. It’s not about the food. It’s about being thankful for the life you’re living & the people in it. Use this holiday to catch up with extended family members & be thankful for the time you have with them.