It’s that time of year again, when everyone is preparing for that special day when it’s perfectly acceptable to gorge on turkey, mashed potatoes, and pie – what’s a vegan to do? As someone who’s been a strict vegetarian for more than 10 years, I can tell you Thanksgiving is one of the most awkward occasions on which to be a herbivore. I’ve picked up a lot of tricks over the years that make the holiday more bearable, and I’m going to share them with you.
Tofurky is pretty self-explanatory – it’s a tofu-turkey. Whenever I’m going to my parents’ house for Thanksgiving, I like to bring one of these with me. I don’t really do it for my sake as much as I do it for my mother’s; it makes her feel like I’m “actually eating something.” I also happen to like it a lot, so that doesn’t hurt either. The only downside to Tofurky is that it will get you a lot of, “What’s that?!”
I’ve noticed people love to put butter in and on everything on Thanksgiving: in the mashed potatoes; in the corn; in all the vegetables; on the dinner rolls. You may or may not have control over the butter/margarine, but if you do, I strongly suggest you pick up a dairy-free margarine like Smart Balance or Earth Balance – just make sure it actually says “vegan” on it, because not all dairy-free margarines are actually vegan.
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On Thanksgiving, I usually suggest we let everyone butter their food as they please after it’s prepared. That way they have the option of real butter or margarine. Either that, or I convince the chef to use vegan margarine instead of butter. If you don’t feel comfortable asking your host to do either of these things, I still suggest bringing your own container of vegan margarine so you can have it for things like buttering dinner rolls.
Eat a Big Breakfast
It’s never a bad idea to plan for the worst. The person who invited you over for Thanksgiving might tell you there will be plenty for you to eat, when in actuality you end up nibbling on peanuts and carrot sticks most of the day. It’s better to be full and have lots of options, then to be starving and have next to none.
Host Thanksgiving at Your House
If you can actually convince anyone to come over to your house for Thanksgiving, this will be your best strategy. Hosting Thanksgiving turns the tables, gives you the home court advantage, and puts the menu in your full control. However, if you can get away with doing this, just remember not to abuse your power, or you’ll never be able to get away with it again.