The Ultimate Guide to a Vegan Thanksgiving

The Ultimate Guide to a Vegan Thanksgiving

Blog48_GuideVeganThanksgiving_pic2-300x200 The Ultimate Guide to a Vegan Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is a wonderful time to spend with those closest to us and reflect on all that we are grateful for in our lives. For many Americans, this holiday is also associated with parades, football, and of course, turkey. When thinking about some of our favorite traditional Thanksgiving staples—turkey, gravy, stuffing, and pumpkin pie, to name a few—the term “vegan” is probably the furthest thing from your mind. But you guessed it—all of your favorite Thanksgiving dishes can indeed be made vegan. Whether you’re hosting your own Thanksgiving dinner this year or are bringing a dish to someone else’s home, this guide will help you prepare vegan delicacies for all to enjoy. Keep reading to learn how you can make vegan turkey, vegan gravy, vegan stuffing, vegan mashed potatoes, vegan buttermilk biscuits, vegan cranberry sauce, and vegan pumpkin pie.

Blog48_GuideVeganThanksgiving_tofurkey-300x200 The Ultimate Guide to a Vegan ThanksgivingVegan Turkey

Extra firm or hard tofu could be the base for your vegan turkey. You do not want to use silken tofu for this recipe. Keep in mind that making a tofu turkey requires a lot of prep time, so you’ll want to give yourself at least a day, as you will need to press the tofu with weight overnight. Before baking the tofu, it can be helpful to boil it in some vegetable stock and then processing it in a blender. Crumbling the tofu and pulsing it in a food processor until smooth and then draining it also makes it easier to work with. The tofu should be completely dehydrated, otherwise, your fake turkey will get wet and soggy.

What flavors should I use in my fake turkey?

You could include onions, garlic, celery, rosemary, sage, parsley, thyme, mushrooms, miso, and tamari sauce in your recipe. Keep in mind that tamari sauce could make your tofu turkey taste salty, so if this isn’t what you’re going after, you can either omit it altogether or just lay low on the tamari sauce. You can brush your tofu turkey with balsamic vinegar, Dijon mustard, soy sauce, orange juice, and red wine, remembering that red wine will give you more of a meaty flavor.

What if I don’t want to use tofu?

If you don’t want to make a tofu-based vegan turkey, you can use seitan as your base instead. Seitan is a “wheat meat” made of vital wheat gluten. While tofu is known to absorb the flavors of whatever it is cooked in, seitan does so even better. It also has a much chewier texture than tofu, which meat lovers may prefer.

How can I make my fake turkey crispier?

For a bit of an extra crunch that resembles an actual turkey, you can coat your fake turkey with breadcrumbs or textured vegetable protein. You can also use arrowroot powder to achieve similar consistency.

What are some pre-made turkey alternatives?

We get it, this may be one of those dishes you want to leave to the pros. Some of the best vegan Thanksgiving turkey alternatives are Tofurky brand Stuffed Breast, Gardein Savory Stuffed Turkey, Field Roast Vegan Celebration Roast, Trader Joe’s Turkey-less Stuffed Roast, and Vegetarian Plus Whole Vegan Turkey.

Blog48_GuideVeganThanksgiving_gravy-300x200 The Ultimate Guide to a Vegan ThanksgivingVegan Gravy

There are lots of fun ways to make a vegan gravy to go with your delicious vegan turkey. The most important thing you’ll need is a good-quality vegetable stock. Since many store-bought vegetable stocks can be bland, you might consider making your own vegetable stock or compensating by going heavier on some of your ingredients.

One way to make your gravy vegan is by using porcini mushrooms, which have a meaty texture and flavor. In order to preserve all of the flavors (remember, you’ll need it for your broth), be sure not to strain out the mushrooms. If you wanted, you could use a stick blender. Be sure to brown the mushrooms. It is recommended to add some soy sauce, miso, and finely chopped onions as well.

What if I don’t like mushrooms?

Mushrooms will give your gravy a meaty texture and flavor. But if you’re not digging mushrooms, that’s okay. You could use onions instead, along with cornstarch, nutritional yeast, and soy sauce or tamari. If you want to get some of that meaty flavor without using mushrooms, just add a little liquid smoke while stirring. Caramelizing the onions is a great way to go too.

An even simpler recipe combines whole wheat flour, nutritional yeast, onion powder, garlic powder, black pepper, low-sodium vegetable broth, low-sodium soy sauce, and yellow mustard. Blending all the ingredients and then putting it back on the stove to thicken can help you achieve your desired texture.

What if I don’t have vegetable broth?

If you cannot include vegetable broth in your recipe, you can use water. But you’ll have to compensate by using extra spices and ingredients. You could also use a non-dairy milk or vegan butter or margarine to get some of the fat that you would get in regular gravy. However, olive oil does not make a good substitute in this case, as you lose the flavor.

Blog48_GuideVeganThanksgiving_stuffing-300x200 The Ultimate Guide to a Vegan ThanksgivingVegan Stuffing

No turkey dinner is complete without stuffing. Let’s look at how you can make your stuffing vegan.

How can I substitute the meat in my vegan stuffing?

An easy way to make your stuffing vegan is by using lentils or mushrooms instead of meat. Both options will give you a crisp, meaty texture and flavor. You could also use both together. Similarly, you would use vegetable broth instead of meat broth. In addition to lentils or mushrooms, you could also include diced onions and celery, garlic, leeks, thyme, basil, and sage. Make sure you cook the vegetables until they are soft. Some people even include apples in their stuffing for extra texture and sweetness.

How can I substitute the egg in my vegan stuffing?

To make your stuffing vegan, you can use a flax egg (1 tablespoon of flaxseed meal mixed with 2 ½ tablespoons of water) for every egg the recipe calls for.

How can I substitute the butter in my vegan stuffing?

Instead of butter, you can use vegan butter, olive oil, or a combination of both. If you are using olive oil, make sure you use half the amount of oil as you would butter. Coconut oil would also work, but just be aware that you might get some of the coconut flavors in your stuffing.

How do I make sure my vegan stuffing is the right consistency?

First, you want to give your bread a day to dry out. Cube the bread and set it in a large bowl It should be dry, but not rock-hard. When you are ready to make your stuffing, pour most of the broth into the bread along with the remaining ingredients and mix with a wooden spoon. If it is too dry, add more broth and mix again. If it is too wet, add more bread.

Can I cook the vegan stuffing inside my vegan turkey?

This is up to you, but to ensure that everything comes out as intended, it is a good idea to cook the vegan turkey and the vegan stuffing separately.

Blog48_GuideVeganThanksgiving_potatoes-300x221 The Ultimate Guide to a Vegan ThanksgivingVegan Mashed Potatoes

How do you get the creaminess and fluffiness of mashed potatoes without any dairy? Your first instinct might be to use a non-dairy milk as a substitute for milk. After all, this works well in a lot of recipes. Vegan mashed potatoes? May not be such a good idea. For many people, the overpowering flavor of the milk will be more than apparent in your potatoes. As it turns out, you can just cook the potatoes in water. You’ll also want to use vegan butter. For garnishing, you can use roasted garlic, rosemary, parsley, scallions, salt and pepper, and chives.

What if my mashed potatoes are too dry without the milk?

If your potatoes are too dry, you can always add just a tiny bit of non-dairy milk. Just make sure it is plain and unsweetened, and make sure not to overdo it. Another option is to add extra vegan butter. Cashew cream can also give you the desired creaminess and moisture without the overpowering flavor. Adding in some cooked vegetables, like spinach can also add some moisture.

Can I use olive oil instead of vegan butter?

Extra virgin olive oil will give your mashed potatoes a similar fluffy texture, but keep in mind that the flavor will be affected.

Blog48_GuideVeganThanksgiving_biscuits-300x201 The Ultimate Guide to a Vegan ThanksgivingVegan Buttermilk Biscuits

Mmm, another fluffy, creamy delight that you can easily veganize. The first way to get vegan buttermilk biscuits is by simply using vegan butter instead of regular butter. You can also use cold, full-fat coconut milk as a replacement for the milk, as the high-fat content of coconut milk will make your biscuits soft, fluffy, and buttery. Refrigerating the coconut milk overnight and then blending it makes it even smoother and creamier, so it will be perfect to use in your recipe.

Can I get delicious vegan buttermilk biscuits without using so much fat?

Yes, you can! Instead of butter, mix together a cup of cold, unsweetened almond or soy milk and 2 teaspoons of apple cider vinegar to thicken the milk. If you don’t have or don’t like apple cider vinegar, you could use lemon or lime juice instead. Plain old vinegar also works. This becomes your vegan buttermilk.

How can I make my vegan buttermilk biscuits nice and flaky?

For more flakiness, using vegetable shortening instead of vegan butter. You can also achieve flakiness with vegan butter, but you want to make sure it’s very cold. Chop the pieces of butter and disperse them throughout the mixture, being sure not to mix it in thoroughly. This way, it will melt in the oven, creating little flaky air pockets.

Pour some of your vegan gravy onto these vegan buttermilk biscuits and you’ll be good to go!

Blog48_GuideVeganThanksgiving_cransauce-300x200 The Ultimate Guide to a Vegan ThanksgivingVegan Cranberry Sauce

You might be thinking, “Cranberry sauce isn’t already vegan?” It turns out that most canned or store-bought cranberry sauces have gelatin—a protein obtained by boiling the skin, ligaments, tendons, and/or bones of animals, usually cows or pigs. Lucky for you, vegan cranberry sauce is easy to make at home. You just need cranberries (fresh or frozen), water, and sugar.

What if I don’t want to use sugar?

If you don’t want to use sugar, just use cranberries and maple syrup for a naturally sweet cranberry sauce. In another version of this recipe, you could add water and orange zest. Additionally, if you wanted, you could include ground cinnamon and fresh orange juice.

How can I give my vegan cranberry sauce a more jelly-like texture?

You can get a more jelly-like texture by using a fine mesh strainer to strain out the skins and a lot of the seeds. In addition to giving a more jelly-like texture, this technique will also remove some of the bitterness. You’ll get a little bit less volume this way, but you can make up for it by adding some more orange juice.

Blog48_GuideVeganThanksgiving_pumpkinpie-300x200 The Ultimate Guide to a Vegan ThanksgivingVegan Pumpkin Pie

And finally, some vegan dessert for your vegan Thanksgiving feast.

How do I make the pie crust vegan?

You can make the pie crust vegan simply by using cold vegan butter. Vegan shortening could also be used for a flakier texture.

Can I use a pre-bought crust?

Yes, you can. Just make sure that the pie crust is vegan by checking the ingredients.

How do I make the pie filling vegan?

You will want to use unsweetened, plain, full-fat non-dairy milk, olive oil or melted coconut oil, and cornstarch or arrowroot powder to hold everything together. You could also use silken or soft tofu as a base for your pie filling. When it comes to milk, keep in mind that rice milk might be a little thin, but could still work. Make sure that you use the full-fat version so that you get the right consistency and desired creaminess. Coconut milk is ideal because of its high-fat content. Full-fat coconut cream would also work. For any other kind of milk, you will need to use less of it. Using too much can make your pie filling too liquidy due to the low-fat content.

Does dairy-free condensed milk work?

For this recipe, you do not want to use dairy-free condensed milk, as it will make your pie too sweet and will not give you the right consistency and creaminess.

What are your thoughts on these recipes? If you’ve tried them, have others to add, or just want to learn more about vegan cooking and baking, you can talk about it all on Konversai. Konversai is the world’s first global-knowledge platform that connects providers of knowledge with seekers of knowledge on any topic of interest via live video. These one-on-one live video conversations allow for an authentic exchange in which providers can share what they know (and even make money doing so), no matter their level of expertise, and seekers can obtain personalized, tailored information on exactly what they’re looking for. Any and all knowledge, skills, and experiences, no matter how commonplace or obscure, has a place on Konversai, whether it be cooking or baking, wine and food pairings, coffee production, South American travel, hair and makeup, high school physics, parenting, Frisbee, windsurfing, guitar, opera singing, coding, grief counseling, relocation, startup life, and more. The only limit is your imagination. All users are encouraged to be both providers and seekers of knowledge on any and as many topics as they wish. Konversai’s mission is to democratize knowledge, put the human connection back into the heart of technology, and make the world better by enabling meaningful and authentic conversations that can improve people’s lives in the biggest and smallest of ways. You don’t want to miss out on being part of this movement! Join Konversai today!

Happy Thanksgiving to you and your loved ones from all of us at Konversai!

Written by: Pavita Singh 


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