The last time I (intentionally) ate a piece of meat was in November, 2010 just before Thanksgiving. I was at a gathering where someone served a food poisoning laced turkey pot pie. Needless to say, after being sick for days I wasn’t in the mood for Thanksgiving turkey when the holiday rolled around a week later. That was the final straw (I had had food poisoning several times) and I decided to give up meat. Since I was still recovering, I think all I ate was some rolls and stuffing. I became vegan less than a year later, and gluten free (by necessity, because of diagnosed gluten intolerance…not by choice) a year after that.
There are a lot of great vegan options available, such as Tofurky and Field Roast. Unfortunately, those aren’t gluten free. I am not much of a chef, and don’t particularly enjoy cooking, so here is my lazy version of a vegan, gluten free Thanksgiving meal. I live in a house full of omnivores, so I don’t really like spending much time in the kitchen on the actual day of Thanksgiving. I usually try to make everything the day before and reheat on the day of.
1. Protein: I love Beyond Meat because it’s one of the best tasting gluten free protein options out there. It tastes and looks like chicken (or as much like chicken as I would want it to…too close would gross me out) and can be easily thrown in the microwave right before the meal is served.
2. Gravy: There are actually a few vegan and gluten free gravy options out there. Be careful if you are gluten free, because many of the vegan gravies contain gluten in the form of added flour. I recommend Pacific Foods Organic Vegan Mushroom Gravy as a super easy option, as you just heat and serve.
3. Stuffing: This has always been my favorite thing to eat for Thanksgiving, ever since I was little. Forget the turkey, pile on the stuffing! There are great vegan stuffing options out there, and great gluten free options out there, but not so many vegan and gluten free options. Many of the gluten free mixes contain eggs. I made the mistake of trying one year to make it out of store bought gluten free vegan breadcrumbs, and ended up with a mushy blob. Now, I go to one of my favorite gluten free/vegan friendly bakeries (Sensitive Sweets) and purchase a loaf of bread a few days before Thanksgiving, which allows it to get stale. I then cube it, dry it in the oven until the outside of the bread is lightly crispy, and add vegetable broth, vegan margarine, celery, sauteed garlic, onions and mushrooms, fresh sage, rosemary, salt, and pepper. Then I bake it and it’s good to go!
4. Yams: I am a huge fan of yams. For Thanksgiving, I like my yam to be roasted in the oven, and then drenched with vegan butter, a little sprinkling of brown sugar, and vegan marshmallows (I recommend Dandies).
5. Cranberry sauce: A market close to where I live makes an awesome vegan cranberry sauce with orange zest. I buy it every year, and it goes wonderfully with the Beyond Meat and the Stuffing. Another great option is Pacific Foods Organic Whole Cranberry Sauce. Just be sure to get an orange and add some zest to make it perfect!
6. Pumpkin Pie: In the past, I have purchased ready made vegan gluten free pumpkin pie. I was thinking about making my own pumpkin cheesecake this year, but then I opted with pumpkin dip and some amazing Lucy’s Ginger Snap Cookies. They are light, crispy, perfectly spicy, and have chunks of chewy ginger in them. The pumpkin dip is easy; you just combine a can of pumpkin, vegan cream cheese, pumpkin pie spice, and powdered sugar to taste. You can find a great recipe here. Although you can make it healthier by eating it with fruit (apples are the best), I ALWAYS eat it with cookies!
7. Rolls: The gluten free/vegan friendly bakery (Sensitive Sweets) where I purchase my bread also makes awesome rolls just for Thanksgiving, perfectly savory and flavored with rosemary and garlic.
Whatever tasty vegan food you make this Thanksgiving, I hope you enjoy your meal with the company of family and friends. Happy Thanksgiving!