By Kylie Hargrave
Elm Staff Writer
Thankfully my mother has always been supportive of my dietary decisions so a few years back we decided to try and tackle the vegan Thanksgiving. With the help of some substitutions and awesome vegan alternatives on the market, we came up with a killer Thanksgiving meal without the need for any killing.
First and foremost is the turkey. My two favorites are the tofurky vegetarian roast and the gardein stuffed turk’y. The first is more authentic in that you have to baste the turkey and add garnishes to bake it with, such as chopped veggies or spices. Therefore, you do have more control over it’s flavor, but, that being said, this option just isn’t as flavorful as the latter option. The meat is thick so the flavors you cook it with have a hard time soaking through and the stuffing in the middle is good but not great. It is a lot of fun to make though. The second is a lot less adventurous, but tastier and easier to make. It comes with two single serving stuffed turkeys that are breaded and filled with a very tasty filling. It may not be as authentic, but sometimes taste is just more important than the experience of making it, especially in a full kitchen where 10 different dishes are being made at once.
One of my favorite parts of Thanksgiving dinner has always been the casseroles. I could eat green bean and corn casseroles for days and days (and boy do I on Thanksgiving and the days following it when the fridge is full of scrumptious leftovers). Surprisingly,the dishes were quite easy to turn vegan, and no one in the family even noticed that they’d changed. Some even preferred the vegan green bean casserole. For both the main changes were using soymilk instead of milk. For the corn casserole, we also had to use my vegan butter as well which, admittedly, made it not quite as creamy but still extremely good. The last main dish that we made for me is some vegan mashed potatoes (my absolute favorite). All we do is use olive oil, vegan butter, and soymilk instead of the regular butter and milk and no one suspects a thing. While I do have to skip out on the homemade stuffing the slaved-over turkey, the good-looking sweet potato casserole with a beautiful pillow of melted marshmallows on top, and the customary cheese and crackers, I never feel limited and still find a way to stuff myself so silly that I can’t even move from my chair.
Even after eating enough for three people during the main course I still find a way to want some dessert. My two favorite vegan desserts are Hail Mary tarts, which are all-natural coconut-based tarts that come in flavors such as lemon and chocolate, and Amy’s vegan cakes, which come in chocolate and orange. For Thanksgiving, we always get a lemon tart and a chocolate cake for me. To make it even better, my mom came up with a little recipe using only peppermint extract, powdered sugar, and soymilk to make a delicious peppermint glaze for the chocolate cake.
Being vegan doesn’t have to take away from even the most meat-happy holiday, and, as I pat my food baby for the rest of the day, I can be thankful for the awesome alternatives in the 21st century that make saving little animal lives quite easy and very tasty.