While Thanksgiving may look a bit different for us all this year, that doesn’t mean you can’t take a day to cook some delicious traditional food on this holiday and try to find some things to be grateful for in this very hectic time. Thanksgiving has some controversial beginnings, as the story around the holiday began in the Americas between the Plymouth colonizers and the local Wampanoag people shared a dinner after the harvest. This was in the early stages or colonization, when the foreigners first came and started to take over land, displacing native people, and brining disease along with them as they plowed their way across the country. In a parallel trend, the coronavirus is still highly prominent in our county and world right now, so please to all of those who are planning on traveling please be mindful about spreading disease and take the necessary precautions to prevent the spread of this terrible virus unlike the colonizers.

On a more positive note, the traditions around Thanksgiving have shifted into a holiday filled with gratitude for what we have and giving thanks for friends and family. Coming together for a meal (whether in person or virtual) is one of my favorite things to do and I can’t think of anything more quintessential than the traditional family Thanksgiving (and Christmas) dinners. As someone who has transitioned from eating meat to being to vegetarian to mostly vegan, I’ve gotten creative over the years in finding vegan alternatives that everyone in the family enjoys.

To start of with our side dishes (many of which I think are more important than the main dish) we have: 

Mashed Potatoes

cream, dairy product, milk, mashed potatoes, ravioli, dumpling, dairy, sweet
Helena Lin

It’s really easy to make mashed potatoes vegan, I love minimalist baker’s vegan version using vegan butter. If you want to make them extra creamy use a splash of dairy-free milk (soy, almond, etc). Be sure to season them! Salt and pepper is classic but adding a bit of garlic powder really elevates the dish. 

Balsamic Glazed Brussel Sprouts 

sauce, sprouts, vegetable
Dyan Khor

Easy and delicious, slice as many brussel sprouts as you want to eat into halves or thirds and coat lightly in olive oil and drizzle balsamic vinegar over. Salt generously and bake at 375˚F for 25-30 minutes. Top with toasted cashews and nutritional yeast. 

Radicchio Asian Pear Salad 

Mackenzie Laverick

For this salad you need a head of kale and a half of a radicchio cabbage. Slice into strips, add a fourth a up of chopped fennel, two diced Asian pears, a half a cup of dried raisins or cranberries, and coat in the dressing of your choice. I like using a simple sherry vinaigrette for this one. Other fun add-ins are roasted pecans or roasted delicata squash!

Caramelized Sweet Potatoes 

Mackenzie Laverick

Some of my favorite side dishes are all the roasted sweet potatoes, squashes, carrots, and so on. While often candied yams are made with butter, it’s really easy to make the vegan version using DF butter and maple syrup.

Dinner Rolls

Mackenzie Laverick

Every year my family makes these clover leaf buns where we use whatever roll or bread recipe we want and then shape them into three small buns fused into one when baked, with one special four-leaf clover bun where the person who blind-picks the bun gets first pick of dessert. You can use whatever bread recipe you want, a really good vegan roll recipe is this one by Pies & Tacos. 

Tofu Turkey Roast

While I haven’t made From My Bowl’s tofu turkey roast yet, this does look a lot like the real thing! In the past, I’ve made maple-glazed tempeh, smoky tofu, vegan “chicken” patties, or roasted chickpea patties as alternatives for turkey on Thanksgiving. 

Vegan Stuffing

cereal, sweet, rice, wheat, oatmeal, meat
Rachael Guerra

To go with, or in, your turkey alternative, try making this vegan stuffing recipe complete with lentils, onion, celery, bread, and spices. 

Mushroom Gravy

mushroom, vegetable
Jocelyn Hsu

To top it all off, serve some vegan Mushroom gravy for a “meaty” alternative that still has a robust flavor and similar texture.

Apple Pie

apple pie, sauce, pastry
Jocelyn Hsu

Ahh dessert, arguably the truly most important part of the holidays. While the classics range from apple to pecan to pumpkin and beyond, apple will always have a special place in my heart. Especially when served with DF ice-cream. The filing of the apple pie is normally vegan, but its the crust you gotta watch out for. Make this easy vegan apple pie via Tasty’s recipe, or use your classic pie recipe and just sub vegan ingredients for the butter and milk!

Pumpkin Pie

Mackenzie Laverick

Another classic, pumpkin pie! While slightly crumbly, Minimalist Baker has a really good vegan and gluten-free pumpkin pie recipe. Top with coconut whipped cream and enjoy! (And make sure to eat it the next day for breakfast.) Happy holidays y’all.