16 recipes for a kick-ass cruelty-free Thanksgiving

16 recipes for a cruelty-free thanksgiving

Ahhh, November! 

This month is full of anticipation of cooler Houston weather, pumpkin in everything, and-- at our house-- intense decisions about what food to make this year. 

Last year, my husband and I cooked for 12 people in a small kitchen in our apartment for 10 hours straight (we woke up early) to bring to life an ambitiously delicious array of meals. In our aim to impress visiting family members for the holiday season, we made every dish completely from scratch, and hand-picked some of the most amazing-tasting recipes from our searches of the web and our cookbook shelves. It made for a long day, and afterwards in our exhausted and drained state, we promised to never to attempt such a feat again. Read: this was the only time I was seriously jealous of anybody with two ovens. 

 One of the plates from last year. We didn't have enough room on the table for all of the food!

One of the plates from last year. We didn't have enough room on the table for all of the food!

But... it's a whole new year full of possibilities :) We've already taken stock of our mistakes, and formulated a new plan of attack for 2016. Get ready world. 

In hindsight, all of the dishes were ridiculously good, and our non-vegan relatives ended up pigging out. Even better, nobody had a turkey hangover. It was awesome!

Would we cook for hours again in a kitchen with barely any cooking space? No. 

Would we make any of these dishes again for ourselves? Um, yes yes yes. 

In fact, a pumpkin swirl cheesecake sounds amazing.

Below is our Thanksgiving Menu from last year. We cooked all of these meals (or a similar variation) in one day. For time-saving strategies, consider having family members bring a side from the list, or prep ahead of time. Looking back, we would have made the desserts the night before. 

Dig into the cruelty-free movement with this list of recipes that leaves the birds and pigs alone, but your belly nice and full!

Mains:

Vegan Turducken

No, this isn't made out of anything with fake meat. Nor is it the infamous Tofucken... but you get the idea. Roast a delicious root vegetable like a butternut squash or banana squash (if you can find one-- I called every grocer in Houston only to find out that a small farm in Plano was the only place to get one) with a filling made of spices, herbs, and marinated veggies, then wrap it as you would the traditional "bird: with some string. Makes for a good laugh, and tastes pretty damn good too. 

http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/vegducken

Caramelized Mac and Cheese

If you haven't had mac and cheese for Thanksgiving, you're missing out. Anything from minimalistbaker.com is going to be easy, delicious, and made with whole-food ingredients. She also has the added benefit of including gluten-free options for every recipe. 

http://minimalistbaker.com/vegan-caramelized-onion-mac-n-cheese/

 "Can I haz the macaroni?"

"Can I haz the macaroni?"

Root veggies with Scallion Biscuits

This dish took us a while to throw together, but it was SO. GOOD. You'll need a dutch oven, which is basically a large porcelain dish that can be used on the stovetop as well as baked in the oven. It makes a hell of a lot of food, and tastes great as leftovers. 

https://delishknowledge.com/root-vegetable-skillet-with-scallion-biscuits/

Ginger Apple Butternut Soup

What's our type of Thanksgiving without a warm cup of soup? Our recipe is from Delish Knowledge. She's a dietitian with a great eye for food photography, and we fell in love with her amazingly quick and easy dishes in the midst of the cooking chaos of the holidays!

https://delishknowledge.com/ginger-apple-butternut-soup/

Sides: 

Vegan Stuffing

You can't have Thanksgiving without stuffing! 

http://minimalistbaker.com/simple-vegan-stuffing/

The Best Damn (Vegan) Mashed Potatoes

YASSSS!

http://minimalistbaker.com/the-best-damn-vegan-mashed-potatoes/

Green Bean Casserole

My favorite dish ever! AND, no gross canned cream of mushroom. REAL MUSHROOMS FTW!

http://minimalistbaker.com/vegan-green-bean-casserole/

Festive Kale Salad

This recipe is from the Oh She Glows blog, one of the most popular vegan websites in the world! The full instructions and ingredients are not on her blog-- but a guest post details the process in the link below. Make sure you check out her books to get the full experience :)

http://carolyncreates.com/festive-kale-salad/

Farro Mushroom Risotto

This dish was a huge pain in our asses, no lie. If you're short on time, just remember that risottos are difficult to time correctly, and not for the faint of heart. If you're patient with the simmering, it's well worth the wait!

https://delishknowledge.com/farro-risotto-with-mushrooms/

Brussel Sprouts

Roast em in the oven with desired toppings, but don't leave these off the menu! This Oh She Glows blog post has 7 seven ways to prepare these gorgeous green little bulbs :)

http://ohsheglows.com/2015/11/21/mouth-watering-crispy-brussels-sprouts-plus-7-ways-to-flavour-them/

Cranberry Relish

3 ingredients, 5 minutes. Thanks, Isa!

http://www.isachandra.com/2010/10/3-ingredient-cranberry-sauce/

Dips:

Kale and Spinach Dip

To keep our family occupied while waiting for the main courses to cook, we made them some dips, which they proceeded to destroy. #worthit 

http://minimalistbaker.com/creamy-kale-and-spinach-dip/

Vegan Green Chili Queso

http://minimalistbaker.com/vegan-green-chili-queso/

Beverages:

Mulled Spiked Cider

It isn't a party without spiked cider, my friends. Try this recipe, or use the Google machine by typing "vegan spiked apple cider". You'll find some hits, I promise. 

http://www.glueandglitter.com/2015/10/30/mulled-apple-cider-spiked-or-unspiked/

Desserts:

Pumpkin Swirl Cheesecake

So, so good y'all. We had tons of pies last year (brought by family members), but this one was one of my favorites. Try using homemade pumpkin puree for a more "pumpkin-ish" fall flavor!

http://minimalistbaker.com/vegan-pumpkin-swirl-cheesecake/

Raspberry Ripple Coconut Ice Cream

I love ice cream, and this was the perfect way to top of a day of stuffing our faces. To avoid freezer burn, it's definitely worth it to buy an ice-cream storage container. And... an ice cream scoop. 

http://minimalistbaker.com/raspberry-ripple-coconut-ice-cream/

Whether or not you're vegan, the dishes above are sure to satisfy your holiday cravings. Choose love, choose health, and realize that you don't have to sacrifice taste or pleasure for a heart-warming meal that's good for the planet. 

Let us know what you think! Comment, share, and like below! 

 

 

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