Vegan Thanksgiving: Turkey Alternatives To Have A Cruelty-Free Holiday!

Thanksgiving Dinner
Substituting turkey for a Thanksgiving feast does not mean eating boring and bland food. Here are 6 dishes and recipes that will make this an unforgettable, cruelty-free dinner! Shutterstock/Bochkarev Photography

Turkey is the centerpiece of most American dining tables on Thanksgiving Day, but for vegans it can be a little complicated as they refrain from consuming animal products. Luckily we live in a creative world and we have pleny of options and alternatives to have a delicous meal on the special holiday. After all, Thanksgiving is about everyone coming together and say thanks for what we have, appreciate each other and enjoy a nice feast. We have scrambled to find dishes and recipes to enlighten people that substituting turkey doesn't mean eating bland food. We are sure these alternatives will make our friends at PETA really happy and thankful in this special holiday.

Field Roast Stuffed Hazelnut Cranberry Roast: This roast is rich grain meat seasoned with toasted hazelnuts and rosemary. The stuffing is a sausage-style mixture of Field Roast, cranberries, apples and crystallized ginger. Vegan Essentials sells the 2lb roast which serves about 8 with a price of $24.99. One of the consumers of this product commented, "Had this for thanksgiving and it is so worth the outrageous amount of money. It's meaty and flavorful, great texture." The Anonymous user from Washington D.C. also said that "the only thing is that you need gravy because it gets dried out reeeally fast. The surface of whatever slice you have exposed to air will get seriously dry and pretty much inedible within 10 minutes. Also, the stuffing doesn't taste like hazelnuts but it's also not too sweet, which I liked."

Tofurky Vegeterian Roast: Another prepackaged meal is the tofurky roast, which is stuffed with breadcrumbs, brown and wild rice, veggies, herbs and spices. The Laziest Vegans In The World said, "The Tofurky roast is stout, compact and pleasantly plump. The taste of the roast is good and smoky. The middle part with the stuffing was also delicious. Unfortunately, I wasn't as enthusiastic about the texture. It was a little rubbery and should definitely be sliced thin." The packaged roast weighs about 2lbs and serves about 6 with a price of $15.99.

Gardein Stuffed Veggie Turkey Roast: Whole Foods is known to have this and it costs about $7.99 a pound. The roast is composed of soy, wheat, peas, beets and carrots. "the Veggie Turkey Roast could almost pass for succulent. It wasn't too rubbery or too porous, too salty or too bland. If, come Thanksgiving, you place a Gardein roast next to the turkey, you may not win any converts, but you won't be tempted to defect," Slate said reviewing the veggie turkey.

Pumpkin Ravioli With Sage Butter (Vegetarian): But not all Thanksgiving alternatives have to be "meat" as we can go on a completely different route and have the taste of the fall flavors for our great dinner. The Pumpkin Ravioli with Sage Butter is a favorite dish during this time of year. "The filling, a combination of sweet and savory with Parmesan cheese, pumpkin puree, salt, nutmeg and cinnamon, is unlike anything I've tasted," Stephanie Wise of HuffPost wrote about the dish. "Plop a dollop or so of the stuff into the center of a won ton wraps and seal it closed with a brush of egg wash and the swipe of a finger and you've just made ravioli."

Swiss Chard Casserole with Shiitake Mushrooms (Vegetarian): Another yummy substitute is this delicous casserole. The recipe calls for 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil and 1/2 pound of shiitake mushrooms with the stems discared and caps sliced. Food & Wine also used Kosher salt, 1/2 cup of panko (Japanese bread crumbs), 3/4 cup of Parmigiano-Reggiano, 10 large eggs, 1/2 teaspoon of cayenne pepper and 2 1/2 pounds Swiss chard with the stems discarded and leaves thinly sliced. Check out the recipe site to learn how to prepare it thoroughly to enjoy this Thanksgiving. "I love this casserole as an alternative for vegetarian guests, cut into small squares to serve as an appetizer, or simply served alongside a nice slice of roasted bird. The fried shitake mushrooms are a wonderful touch, lending a nice kick of flavor to the mild greens," Andrea from Relay Foods said about the casserole.

Vegan Lentil Shepherd’s Pie with Parsnip and Potato Mash: What if you could mix all the goodness into one pie? Gena Hamshaw from Food 52 has the perfect alternative with this dish. She suggests to "try cooking the lentils and prepping the vegetables one day in advance. On the day of assembly, mash the potatoes and parsnips early in the day, and sautee the veggies and assemble the pie later on, before dinner." A reviewer on the site suggests to season the dish fora tastier outcome. Edna's daughter said, "Season the lentil mixture well and season the potato parsnips mash too! I did not make it vegan and used plenty of butter instead of olive oil and half and half instead of non-dairy replacements. Also, the pie really did not brown until I put it under the boiler for about 10 minutes."

All this talk about food has made us hungry and try out some of these dishes. Tell us if you try any of this recipes or if you have any more alternatives for a turkey-less and animal-less meal. Happy cooking and Happy Thanksgiving!

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Maria G. Valdez

Maria was born and raised in Dominican Republic, where she began her career in journalism covering human interest stories, entertainment, beauty and wellness for a national magazine. She moved to New York City to study Musical Theatre, but went back to journalism after graduating in an attempt of becoming the Latina Carrie Bradshaw. She has an unhealthy obsession with JLo and claims to be Sofia Vergara’s long-lost daughter, and has tried a crazy amount of treatments to keep looking young. She became a Zumba instructor for fun.

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