Hosting the Thanksgiving dinner this year? You have my sympathy. It’s always stressful trying to come up with a special holiday menu for a large group but people are not shy anymore about stating what they can’t and won’t eat. There is certain to be at least one person at your table that is not eating gluten, carbs, salt, sugar, oil, dairy, or animal products. Maybe someone is diabetic, or following the Keto diet, or just a picky eater. What a challenge!
Preparing a healthy vegan meal can meet most of those requirements (except the keto diet) and has the added benefits of being environmentally responsible and humane. If not going totally plant-based, at least incorporate a few vegan dishes so that everyone can have a delicious meal. Here are some suggestions and resources, although googling “vegan thanksgiving” came up with 20,000,000 posts. We’re clearly not the only people with this on their mind!
The easiest way to do a vegan/vegetarian meal is to just order one! Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods will prepare a whole meal for you. If you want to make it homemade, it’s easy to "veganize" recipes. Substitute vegetable stock for chicken stock; Rice, almond or soy milk for dairy milk; vegetable margarine for butter, etc. Those are simple things that most people wouldn’t even notice if you didn’t point it out. When you think about it, the typical side dishes are vegetables anyway – squash, green beans, mashed potatoes and cranberries. So if you don’t add any meat, or meat-based stock to them, you already have plenty of vegan food for all to enjoy.
Looking for a main dish idea? Look no further than Tofurky, a seitan roll with stuffing; Gardein has a stuffed “turkey” as well as a holiday “roast;” Quorn has a vegetarian (not vegan) turk’y, Harvest Celebration has a field roast and Vegetarian Plus has gone all out and has a whole turkey (looks like the real thing complete with drumsticks). These are all options for those of you who don’t want the work involved in creating your own centerpiece dish.
If you are willing to try your hand at a new recipe there are many fantastic ones to try. I have wonderful recipes for a vegetable nut loaf with mushroom gravy, pumpkin filled with bread stuffing, puff pastry loaf with lentils and more. Email me and I will share! It doesn’t take much skill, just a good recipe and willingness to try something new, to make a delicious cruelty-free meal.
For those of you who would rather be surrounded by like-minded vegetarians, there is a vegan pot-luck on Thanksgiving Day, 4 p.m. at Monroe Hall, 1400 West College Avenue in Santa Rosa. Details can be obtained at https://www.meetup.com/northbay-vegan/events/255279229/. Everyone are welcome to attend.
Whatever you choose – to buy a ready-made meal, to home-make a delicious veggie dinner, or to join others and share the bountiful plant-based offerings, here’s wishing all of you a wonderful, cruelty-free thanksgiving holiday!
No More Lost Pets – free microchips and pet ID tags for residents of Rohnert Park and Cotati City. Stop by the shelter during our open hours with your pet to get one! The shelter is open Wed. 1-6:30, Thur.-Fri.-Sat. 1-5:30 and Sun. 1-4:30 p.m.
Fix-it Clinics – Free spay and neuters for cats; and $60 dog surgeries (up to 80 lbs.) for low-income Rohnert Park and Cotati residents. Call 588-3531 for an appointment.
Mickey Zeldes is the supervisor at the Rohnert Park Animal Shelter. She can be contacted at email@example.com.