Easy Vegetarian and Vegan Thanksgiving Recipes

As the semester is dwindling down to an end, I cannot stop thinking about how my change in diet will affect me when I go home. I have been vegetarian for the entirety of this semester and have considered even going vegan. However, my family does not follow this particular diet. This can be a little bit alarming for anyone who is new to a plant-based diet. Most people instantaneously think of turkey and stuffing (both of which are not vegetarian) when they think about the holiday. Nevertheless, the internet is full of amazing plant-based Thanksgiving dishes.

  1. 1. Apple Cranberry Stuffing and Tofurkey 

    To begin, melt half a stick of butter (or vegan butter) on a skillet on medium heat. After this, add two cups of chopped celery and one cup of chopped onion to the pan. You need to stir this for five minutes or until the celery and onion have softened. Next, stir in two cored and chopped apples and one cup of cranberries. For this recipe, you need a slow cooker, which you will need to spray the inside with non-stick spray. Following this, add your vegetable stock, seasonings and stir. I would recommend parsley, garlic salt and black pepper as seasonings for this recipe. Next, add eight cups of bread cubes or croutons and the vegetable mixture from earlier. Lastly, cook your stuffing for three hours on low heat or until desired texture in the slow cooker. If you want to add tofurkey to this recipe quickly and cheaply, I recommend getting Gardein's frozen tofurkey cutlets.

  2. 2. Baked Mac and Cheese 

    To begin, you are going to boil the macaroni in vegetable stock. After the noodles are ready, drain the pasta and put in a stick of butter, and mix it. This can be easily substituted with vegan butter. I use Earth Balance's Original Buttery Spread. After the butter melts, add 3/4 of sour cream, which can be replaced with vegan sour cream. Next, season your pasta with paprika, onion powder, garlic powder and salt. Following that, you finally add the cheese. For this, you are going to want at least one each cup of cheddar, provolone and mozzarella. If you are going for a vegan recipe, Daiya has the best vegan cheeses, in my personal opinion.

    In a separate bowl for the custard, whisk together three eggs or Just Egg, one and one-half cups of heavy cream (or dairy-free heavy cream) and two cups of your choice of milk. In your pan, put down one layer of pasta and put your custard on top of that. Then, put another layer of pasta. To top off this dish, add more cheese and paprika to the top. Lastly, bake the dish in the oven for 50 minutes at 375 degrees.

  3. 3. Vegan Cranberry Sauce

    Personally, cranberries are my favorite thing on the Thanksgiving menu. Some canned cranberry sauces have honey in them. You can either cook this recipe on the stovetop or in an Instantpot. To begin, everything goes in: maple syrup, pure cane sugar, orange zest, orange juice, cinnamon, fresh rosemary and a little red wine. Besides one cup of cranberries—this is put in at the very end. After the cranberries start breaking down, you can then add them and mix. It may be a little discouraging about how runny the concoction looks at first, but when it cools down, it will have that cranberry texture, I promise! However, if it's a little thick, add some orange juice and store it in a mason jar.

While Thanksgiving might be "Turkey Day," I feel like these plant-based deserve a spot at the table as well. I cannot wait for my family to try these and see how they like them in comparison to traditional foods. In addition, I hope this article helps alleviate the stress that all my fellow vegans and vegetarians face as they go home for the holidays.