Being a Boulder vegan sometimes leaves folks at a loss. Lots of snack items around town and grocery stores that make it easy to cook, sure. But how do Boulder vegans have a tasty Thanksgiving?
Stuck somewhere between Halloween and Christmas, sometimes Thanksgiving gets swept up and passed over a bit when we get caught up in the chaos of consumerism. However, I think that Thanksgiving is a very important holiday to celebrate because it causes us to pause, come together as friends and family, and take stock in all that we have to be grateful for.
Alas, Thanksgiving is not exactly a vegan-friendly holiday when it comes to food traditions. The dishes come packed with dairy and meat, and, well, the main attraction is a giant bird! But this year, you’ll have no excuse, because I have several delicious vegan alternatives that use all the traditional fall favorites and don’t have the word “tofurkey” written anywhere on them.
Mashed potatoes, brown gravy and stuffing; some of the cornerstones for a Thanksgiving dinner and, when made the standard way, completely unsuitable for vegan consumption. However, I found a couple of recipes that eliminate the meat and dairy from all of these recipes so that you can enjoy traditions as much as the person sitting next to you.
Of course, who could forget a recipe for the perfect cranberry sauce?
Here’s where you’re going to have to deviate from the typical Thanksgiving Day plate. There are so many delicious alternatives to a tofu re-creation of turkey, that it would just be a shame to let them pass you by. Never fear though, fall is squash season, so you can gorge yourself on gourds to your palate’s delight. Here are a few recipes that fill the tummy and nourish the soul as well:
Tempeh Stew with Wine and Shiitake Mushrooms
Butternut Squash with Whole Wheat, Wild Rice and Onion Stuffing
All hail the sweet finale of a Thanksgiving Day feast! Pies abound in the kitchen and typically, none are vegan-friendly. But that doesn’t mean you have to sit the last leg out. Oh no, you can bring your own glorious meat and dairy-free versions of all of our fall favorites.
Double-Layer Pumpkin Cheesecake
See? There’s no reason you can’t leave the table feeling just as blissfully stuffed as the rest of your Thanksgiving Day cohorts. The rest of the day or evening can be spent watching football, playing games or just plain, good ol’ conversation.
If you want to take your Thanksgiving Day vegan practices to another level, there are a couple other suggestions:
Adopt a Turkey. Instead of eating one, why not contribute to saving a turkey at an animal sanctuary? This way, you’re not only avoiding meat consumption, but you’re also doing your part to help save a few more turkeys this year.
Make a gratitude tree. This is a great activity that anyone can take part in. At my house, on Thanksgiving, we go around the table and say what we’re thankful for. I like the idea of taking it a step further and writing down what we’re grateful to have and hanging it on a gratitude tree.
Stay home on Friday. Avoid the chaos of Black Friday and instead, sleep in, go for a hike or just enjoy a nice, relaxing day. If you like the idea of shopping this weekend, head downtown this Saturday for Small Business Saturday, where you can buy from local, sustainable businesses.
Whether you celebrate Friendsgiving, Thanksgivukkah or just plain old Thanksgiving, just remember that the most important part of the day is that you spend it with friends and family you love, being thankful for all of the wonderful things in your life.
PS: be sure to check out some of the leading Boulder vegan restaurants, too.