Plant-Based Thanksgiving Alternatives

By Aimee Jodoin, Kentwood Branch

On a day when we gather to eat copious amounts of extravagant food, it can be difficult to find ways to be environmentally conscious. Avoiding paper plates and single-use silverware are easy targets. Using your leftovers to make shepherd's pie is another great way to limit waste.

But there is more to being eco-friendly than being zero-waste. Making sure our food is coming from sustainable sources is important on a day when activities are centered around food preparation and consumption. A major way to do this is to make plant-based alternatives to Thanksgiving classics. When planning your holiday meal, consider these vegan options, opens a new window!

Mashed potatoes, sweet potato casserole, green bean casserole and stuffing are easy recipes to veganize. For any recipe that calls for butter or milk, plant-based alternatives will suffice. Cashew or pea protein milk are great for thicker, creamier textures. Mushroom gravy makes a delicious meatless alternative to gravy. And coconut cream is a versatile replacement for ingredients in desserts like pumpkin pie.

Now, when it comes to the most traditional part of Thanksgiving, the turkey is hard to replace. If you don't mind shirking tradition, there is almost always enough food in the mix to go without it, but if you can't imagine Thanksgiving without the bird or something like it — and I don't blame you — there are some decent alternatives on the market, opens a new window. Tofurky, Field Roast, Trader Joe's and Gardein all make roasts that are great slathered in mushroom gravy. Check out the results of this vegan roast taste-test, opens a new window for more info.

I can understand if the idea of passing on the turkey gives you FOMO on the comforting Thanksgiving traditions, but to be honest, in my 10 years of being vegetarian/vegan, I have found that foregoing the bird altogether does nothing to diminish my holiday cheer. In fact, even if we were eating pizza or Chinese takeout, I would still feel thankful to be sitting around the dinner table surrounded by family.

What is your favorite plant-based Thanksgiving recipe?