Thanksgiving has always been one of my favorite holidays; sitting around a table of gratitude, eating food that everyone participated in making, having a chance to say how grateful we are for the blessings of the year.
I came from a family that didn’t express our feelings when we were growing up. We loved each other and there was lots of laughter and love felt but little or no verbal expression of that love. Then one year my husband suggested we go around and express one thing we are thankful for. It is one of the traditions I cherish the most now that both of my parents are gone.
Now our daughters are married and have given us grandchildren, our son is working with Youth With a Mission in Salem Oregon, and the tradition continues.
But the very best of Thanksgiving is the food. We have lots of dishes, you might be surprised how many. I come from a traditional Mexican background (never mind I found out I am not Mexican, LOL, but that’s for another post) so we serve pinto beans, Spanish rice, potato salad, mashed potatoes, sweet potato casserole, stuffing, green bean casserole, broccoli casserole, gravy, cranberries, homemade hot salsa and dinner rolls. People are always surprised at how many dishes we bring. But it is our tradition.
Making it vegan was a little nerve wracking this year. I wanted to make sure everything tasted just as good and that we didn’t “ruin” the tradition. So I researched and researched. I went to some of my favorite vegan blogs and also changed up some of our own family recipes to make them vegan and still delicious. It was a success! One of the comments was “This may be vegan but everything is delicious.” #gratitude.
A yet-to-be-converted omnivore surveying the options.
We stayed with a traditional turkey that my daughter brought and we made the Gardein roast. I researched that and found this was the most popular for flavor.
I found the following recipes for cheeses from the YouTube channel, The Mushroom Den.
Sweet Potato Cheddar Cheese Wedge
Creamy Herb Cheese Spread with Crackers
The first dish I veganized (Is that a word?) was our stuffing. It used to be flavored with broth from the meat of the neck I cooked in a small pot and chopped meat from the neck. I eliminated that and tweaked it.
I know this alone is not traditional stuffing, most grow up with savory stuffing, but I grew up with a sweet stuffing and we can’t imagine eating stuffing any other way. My mom who died suddenly didn’t leave me with the best recipe. I remember asking her on the phone how do I make it and it was a little of this and a little of that. This year I wanted to get it right. Our son said I finally did. He told me “Mom, it took 7 years but you did it”. Here is the result. Click on the link for the recipe.
Creamy Mashed Potatoes
This recipe is from the website My California Roots and you can find the recipe here. I modified it to make it more creamy by adding about 1/2-3/4 cup of non-dairy half and half.
Roasted Brussel Sprouts
This was a simple dish prepared by Bruce. You can find his recipe here.
Roasted Mediterranean Cauliflower
Homemade Bread Rolls
Sweet Potato and Marshmallow Casserole
This was a winner with the Thanksgiving Day crowd! If you are trying to back off of dairy on your holiday eating, this is a great dish to make for vegans or non vegan eaters! I used a classic sweet potato casserole recipe that I’ve used for many Thanksgivings and modified it.
Gardein Stuffed Vegan Turkey Roast
This was the only item we served that was not homemade. We knew that making a plant-based turkey substitute would be very difficult for our first time so I did some research and found this Holiday Roast made by Gardein to have rave reviews. Everyone loved it.
Homemade Mushroom Gravy
Homemade Pumpkin Pies
We featured two types of pumpkin pie, one, from Food Network, utilized tofu and we also offered an alternative from Minimalist Baker that used almond milk instead. Both were delicious but if avoiding tofu, go with the almond milk option.
Also pictured are some beautiful non-vegan cookies made by our daughter at Better with Love Bakery.
We loved our first Thanksgiving as vegans and look forward to trying new Christmas recipes. Watch for our vegan tamale recipes coming soon.