Over the years, I have had to learn my own vegan holiday recipes. It all started when I was 12 and decided I wasn't going to eat animals anymore. My first Thanksgiving I just scowled at the turkey and ate everything else.
In fact, that's how about 12 of my Thanksgivings went; I avoided meat and enjoyed my meal. When I went vegan, I had to start making my own food or convince my mom to change a few things, "Try this [Earth Balance] butter instead of that one. And can you please use soy milk instead?"
Over time I've developed my own favorite vegan holiday recipes and I want to share them with you.
Thanksgiving is truly one of the hardest times to be a vegan. There is just so much history behind carving an enormous turkey and overeating. For me, it's only gotten harder to watch someone cut through the side of a once-breathing animal who was farmed to have extra meat in all the right places for human consumption. For others, when you've eaten turkey for years, it can be hard to imagine the holiday without it.
One of the great joys of the vegan world recently is the Tofurky Roast. This thing is honestly amazing-- it's fake turkey that comes in a big ball that looks like a tiny turkey. It's stuffed with a wild rice stuffing, and it comes with tofurky gravy, and appropriate sides.
The tofurky roast can be seasoned the same way as a regular turkey, and I truly can't tell the difference. My boyfriend, who was an avid turkey eater for almost 30 years, loves tofurky and seemed to have little trouble at his first Thanksgiving without the big guy. Tofurky is one of the best vegan holiday recipes that you don't even need to prepare yourself!
Several typical Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter dishes can easily be adjusted to be vegan, and no one would be the wiser. However, in my family, I have to make my own sides. So, for the 4-5 people who eat the same way as I do, we get together and have fun making out own little sides.
The yam and sweet potato are actually totally different vegetables, but we confuse them really easily. Yams are smaller, sweeter, and have red or purple flesh. Sweet potatoes have a few varieties, but the one that we call the yam has an orange flesh and the ends come to a point on the outside. True yams are difficult to find in the grocery store.
So, typically this dish is made with sweet potatoes. They are yummy and healthy! This is a great vegan holiday recipe that you can use anytime.
6 sweet potatoes (you can get a mixture of the different varities at the store)
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 Tbsp. non-hydrogenated non-dairy butter
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
3/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
3/4 tsp. ground allspice
3/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
2 tsp. grated orange peel
salt and pepper
Use a fork to put holes in the rinsed sweet potatoes, then put them on a baking sheet. Bake at 400 degrees until tender, about 40 min- 1 hour.
Put the cooked sweet potatoes in a bowl (peel them if you desire), and mash with a potato masher.
Add all the spices and season to taste.
You can mash these to your desired consistency. Some people like to use an electric mixer to get them really creamy.
These mashed potatoes are so easy to make and so fragrant from the garlic that I make them often when it's not Thanksgiving.
Rinse the potatoes to remove any dirt. Cut them into quarters. (Some people prefer potatoes that are peeled, but I like the texture and vitamins in the peel.)
Steam the potatoes and garlic cloves until the potatoes are fork-tender.
Remove them from the heat, strain the water, and then pour the potatoes back into the hot pan.
Add the non-dairy milk and butter (if you like a buttery mashed potato) and begin mashing with a potato masher until you reach desired texture.
Add salt and pepper to taste.
Enjoy this great vegan holiday recipe.
These are yummy Jewish pastries that are easy to make without dairy and egg products. The dough can be made up to two days in advance and chilled. This vegan holiday recipe comes from The Joy of Vegan Baking by Colleen Patrick-Goudreau.
1 cup non-hydrogenated, non-dairy butter
1 8oz. package non-dairy cream cheese
2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 tsp. salt
1/3 cup non-dairy sour cream
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tbsp. ground cinnamon
1 cup walnuts, chopped finely
1/2 cup raisins, chopped finely
1 cup strawberry jam
Use a food processor to combine the butter, cream cheese, flour, salt, and sour cream. It helps if you cut the butter and cream cheese into small pieces first.
This will turn into a crumbly dough. Shape it into 4 pieces and roll into flattened balls, and then chill each in plastic wrap for at least 2 hours.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Combine the walnuts, sugar, cinnamon, and raisins in a bowl and set aside.
Flour your counter top and roll each of the dough balls into a 9-inch circle, and then spread the jam on each circle.
Divide the sugar, walnut, and raisin mixture evenly among the dough circles and press it lightly into the jam to stick.
Cut the dough like a pizza (using a sharp knife or pizza cutter) into 12 even slices.
Roll the wedges from the wide end to the small point and place the roll-up with the point side down on a cookie sheet.
Bake for 22 minutes, or until lightly golden brown. Cool on a rack. These can be stored in the freezer for up to 2 months.
Sometimes vegans struggle with the holiday season, but they don't have to. Share your story of what you do to celebrate the holidays in style, whether you do it the "normal" way or you have a different celebration.
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