A Vegan Thanksgiving


Marcelina Kukawska, Creative Director/Reporter

There’s a certain stereotype that many individuals associate with veganism— kale, raw almonds, and pale, uncooked tofu. Pity arises at the thought of a vegan attending a Thanksgiving — “don’t come” is the best piece of advice a vegan will receive on handling Thanksgiving dinner. But why should this holiday be such a hassle for vegans? Afterall, the focal point of the evening is spending time with friends and family and expressing gratitude, not the turkey, right?

Veganism is undeniably growing in popularity, so it’s time for vegans to enjoy all the holidays that revolve around food — starting with Thanksgiving. Despite common belief, veganism isn’t some sort of niche, microtrend. In fact, as of January 2022, about 10 percent of Americans over the age of 18 have reported that they consider themselves vegan or vegetarian. What once was considered a radical movement is now rapidly spreading through the food market, with new plant-based products and derivatives appearing on numerous shelves in grocery stores and local businesses. 

There is so much potential when it comes to cooking a memorable vegan meal. The world is filled with flavors that are not limited to non-vegans. Root vegetables, such as beets, carrots, and sweet potatoes; the gourd family, which includes pumpkins and squash; and other autumnal vegetables like brussel sprouts are the building blocks of a delicious vegan Thanksgiving meal. These vegetables hold so much potential and can be prepared in thousands of different ways.

Finding vegan recipes is one of the most exciting parts of the holiday. Scrolling and flipping through the numerous possibilities and the elaborate dishes is a key part of the fun. Jessica in the Kitchen and Minimalist Baker are two vegan cooking blogs with some of the best Thanksgiving recipe round-ups. Additionally, many local libraries and bookstores carry vegan cookbooks that include a variety of unique recipes. 

Thanksgiving doesn’t necessarily mean cooking the dinner from scratch. Whole Foods caters many Thanksgiving dishes in various quantities, from “Feasts” to “Extravaganzas,” and the menu includes numerous vegan options. Trader Joe’s is another great option, carrying specialty veganized dishes that are traditionally found on the table during Thanksgiving, like roasts, pumpkin rolls and loaves, and vegetable hash. 

However, many would agree that it’s not Thanksgiving without a turkey. Turkey alternatives have been frowned-upon as conversations have sparked on social media and across food markets about the actual health benefits of meat alternatives. Heavily processed plant-based products can be intimidating, but there are wholesome vegan turkeys out there with cleaner labels than others. It’s unlikely that a vegan turkey will proportionally match an actual turkey nutrient-for-nutrient, but it will likely have more fiber and less saturated fat. 

It’s time for vegans to enjoy the holiday and have a positive Thanksgiving experience. Read more about going vegan here.