A vegan’s guide to Thanksgiving dinner

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Thanksgiving is less than two weeks away, and it’s about time to start planning your dishes! Wait, it’s your first thanksgiving without eating meat?

Whether you’re vegan, vegetarian, or just maybe a “flexitarian”, there’s plenty of alternatives to create in the kitchen without using animal products.

Veganism is the dietary practice of not consuming any animal products, so primarily no meat or dairy, but gelatin is a secret ingredient used in some dishes that is also an animal product.

Whenever the conversation of being vegan and what you’re able to eat during the holidays is introduced, most people question about what their entree will be. In 2019 there are now numerous substitutes for the turkey or ham entree.

Grocery stores, such as Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s, offer a variety of vegan friendly brands that are usually soy protein based.

Side dishes are arguably the best part of Thanksgiving dinner and there are many recipes that replicate your favorite dishes without the use of animal products. Mac and cheese, candied yams, collard greens and other fan favorite sides usually include milk, cheese, gelatin or a type of animal bone broth.

A plant-based baked mac and cheese can be equivalent to your mom’s cooking with the help of a non-dairy milk and nutritional yeast. Vegan cheese is commonly cashew or soy based. The taste will be different than what you’re used to with regular cheese but, your simple dish will be making a difference against the dairy industry.

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Side dishes like baked beans and collard greens, usually include pork, turkey or beef to add flavor, making it is easy to remove these animal products to make this dish vegetarian. Sometimes, these dishes are still cooked in animal bone broth, so be careful if you are following a recipe that is  catered towards vegetarians.

For savory casseroles like green bean casserole or sweet potato casserole, the ingredients usually include milk or eggs to bind them together. Using a recipe for a cream of mushroom that doesn’t include milk is easy with the help of vegan blogs and Pinterest. Sweet potato casserole is frequently topped with marshmallows. In order to find marshmallows that do not contain gelatin, check your local Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods.

When it comes to desserts, you can easily buy or bake a plant-based sweet potato pie, pumpkin pie, red velvet cake or any other traditional Thanksgiving dessert. Dairy products are the key ingredients that can be removed to make these desserts a vegan friendly option on the dinner table. Egg replacer powder, mashed bananas and applesauce are all examples of egg substitutions that can be used to create the perfect ending to your Thanksgiving dinner.

During this holiday season, if you’re vegan, vegetarian or just trying to reduce your animal product consumption, the one change that you make in a meal by removing animal products is making a difference, and you’re still satisfying your craving for baked macaroni and cheese.

To find these simple plant based recipes and more for Thanksgiving, visit the link to my Pinterest board.