I love the tradition of Thanksgiving, and the opportunity it creates for making delicious but healthy comfort food everyone can enjoy. This year will be more strained for many families, who may not be able to travel and gather together, but know there is light at the end of this tunnel, and in the meantime, let's build our immune systems with healthy plant-based meals.
If you are beginning your plant-based journey, you might feel overwhelmed with changing or altering your holiday menu. Remember, Thanksgiving doesn't mean giving up the traditional favorites such as stuffing, winter squash, green bean casserole, mashed potatoes/gravy, corn, cranberry relish, and more. Turkey need not be the center of this traditional meal; there is so much more to enjoy!
Think outside that "turkey box" and try your favorite nut, bean, or lentil loaf. You can even stuff some portobello mushrooms or throw some shish kebabs on the grill! Our taste preferences and memories tend to link turkey to the holiday, but don't be afraid to redefine that taste for traditional dishes into healthier options that everyone will enjoy.
If you are looking to fill the "turkey" void, you might consider a Tofurky or Tofu Rolls. You can usually find these options at Whole Foods, Trader Joe's, and/or a local health food market. While these foods aren't exactly free of oils and processed foods, they are often a great option for people who are transitioning away from meats and animal-based foods during the holidays.
Here are some tips to help you enjoy the holiday:
- If you are preparing the Thanksgiving meal, there are many traditional recipes that you can prepare from our list below.
- You also can try veganizing your favorite traditional recipes. Replace the milk with plant-based milk, try cashew cream instead of heavy creams, use flax meal and water as an egg replacer, and skip the oil and butter by sautéing and roasting using veggie broths, water, wine, or juice. Choose whole-grain bread and flours, and rely on herbs, spices, and condiments for that added burst of flavor.
- If you are eating with others who are not plant-based, you can prepare a couple of hearty dishes of your own and eat around the turkey. There are usually plenty of healthier side options.
- A holiday is just one day or meal so if you fall off the plant-based wagon with unhealthy food choices, remember that our bodies do a pretty good job of self-correcting. Get back to your whole food plant-based lifestyle with the very next meal. Many of us throw in the towel when we feel failure, but it's just one meal, so jump right back in and give your body the fuel it needs for healing.
Family Favorite Recipes