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Oct 2, 2006 07:13 PM

What do vegans eat on Thanksgiving?

What do vegans eat on thanksgiving? I can't believe they eat that Toferky. Solve my problem if you are a vegan.

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  1. Usually they end up eating the side dishes and buns.

    It's easy to make a stuffed squash without dairy. I've only had tofurkey deli slices which were so vile I would never try the bigger tofurkey. Last year I had a black bean tart from epicurious, but I'm vegetarian not vegan.

    1. I'm not vegan, but have cooked many vegetarian dishes for thanksgiving. They usually involve some sort of pastry as well as cheese - i.e. Mushroom and Leek Phyllo with Gruyere... could give you lots of ideas there.

      But minus the butter and cheese, its harder. Never touched Tofurkey before, seems scary. I did have a chickpea/eggplant tart that might be vegan if the phyllo is made w/o butter. Happy to post if you like. In a similar vein, have a recipe for fennel-scented spinach/potato samosas.

      However, I do regularly make a vegan gravy, which everyone loves and I really recommend. Here is a summary - the original recipe was from The Kripalu Cookbook but I have made some additions:

      Autumn Gravy (this only makes enough for ~4-6 servings)

      1/4 cup canola oil
      4 onions, diced
      1 3/4 cup water
      few sprinkles garlic salt
      1/2 t salt (to taste)
      fresh ground pepper
      2 T dried sage
      2 T tamari
      3 T nutritional yeast

      In a large, heavy skillet, heat oil and saute onions. Do this slowly until they get extremely caramelized. I think it usually takes 45 min or so - just make sure they are nice and dark (but not burnt), because this is where the flavor comes from. Add garlic salt, salt, pepper, and sage. Stir for a minute then slowly add water, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring constantly. Add tamari and nutritional yeast and simmer for 5 more minutes. Blend thoroughly in a blender. Reheat if necessary.

      1. A general guide from this ominivore who has hosted vegans for Thanksgiving:

        1. Don't try to replace the turkey with something that is turkey-like. Usually, they are awful or at best merely not-bad.

        2. Even for this omnivore, Thanksgiving is really about the vegetables and starches. My Thanksgiving table is always a celebration of cornucopia of New World gifts to the whole world: Corn, beans, peppers, squashes, potatoes, sweet potatoes, tomatoes - and chocolate and vanilla -- not to mention Jerusalem artichokes, avocadoes, peanuts, cashews, pecans, sunflower seeds, manioc/cassava (not my cup of tea) et cetera.

        The vegan aspect will be limiting to a certain degree, but here are ideas that you can think about.

        1. Instead of animal-based broth, you can make vegetable broths to intensify flavor and richness. Roasting can also bring out those flavors. Caution: some recipes for vegetable broth can be too heavy on carrots.

        2. Soups: there is a huge array of soups that can be prepared. You could serve in a pumpkin shell (gets me thinking of peanut soup).

        3. Salads: I like cold and and crunchy slaws to go with warm and gooey starches.

        4. Mains: think of making a risotto with dried porcini mushrooms and a good homemade vegetable broth. Grains and beans come to the fore here. Or vegetable terrines and similar formal presentations.

        5. Sides: the sky's the limit, but succotash is wonderful (I get the last fresh corn of the season to milk the cobs; add baby lima beans -- dried are the most silken and delicious -- and peppers and the corn cob milk). Gobs of things you can make with potatoes and sweet potatoes.

        6. Desserts: Lots of fresh fruit (apples, pears, clementines) are available: poach or roast. Add caramelized nuts. I'd forget most pastry as unnecessary.

        3 Replies
        1. re: Karl S

          This is sort of off-topic, but I think you (Karl S) posted an incredible vegetarian menu a little while back . . . any chance I could get the link to it? I remember it sounded incredible and that I wanted to try to replicate it . . . ! Thanks!

            1. re: Karl S

              Actually, that sounds amazing too! It wasn't the particular menu I was thinking of, but that works and I'm going to do it! Thanks!

        2. If I were vegan, I would eat butternut squash mash. I always sautee yellow onions with tons of fresh rosemary, then scoop roasted rosemary out of the skin and mash everything together with salt and pepper. I usually add gruyere, but even without the cheese it smells incredible.

          It would be good piled into a vegan pie crust as well and baked until golden on top and brown around the edges.

          1. Definitely no tofurky. It sounds horrible, looks scary, and there's as Karl S pointed out, Thanksgiving is definitely more about bounties of fall rather than turkey.
            I would definitely several dishes that feature corn, squash, and beans - the classic three sisters. Any bean soup or chili with vegan cornbread can be a good idea. Wild rice and gourmet mushrooms is a popular chioce. Pumpkin risotto is good too. My favorite is actually pumpkin ravioli with sage butter, I wonder if you can find a way to make that vegan.
            Cobblers are homey and wonderful dessert with no animal product needed.
            The IVU has some suggestions about this as well.

            1 Reply
            1. re: zorgclyde

              Re the cobbler:

              You might want to explore how to use coconut oil as a solid-at-room-tempeture fat for creating a satisfactory cobbler crust. (Normally, I try to replace solid fats with solid fats rather than with liquid oil. Coconut oil can be invaluable for this reason. And it's a lot better for you than chemical subsitutes for butter.)