Seeing this post is making me SO hungry for next week!!  I’ll post an updated Thanksgiving feast next week!

I think the biggest misconception when people hear the word “vegan” is the idea that the food we eat tastes like cardboard (or it has to be a salad).  The plethora of foods out there to explore and indulge on are vast.  I think more and more are learning that as this lifestyle becomes more mainstream.   One thing I know is I LOVE to eat, I love food that tastes great, and I’m VERY picky about food as well.  If I can eat this way and feel fully satisfied, anyone can!

Vegan meals aren’t any more difficult to prepare, they typically consists of less prep and less ingredients.  It is a learning curve, just as learning anything new is, it takes time and practice, finding what substitutes work and what you prefer, but the best part, we leave our hearts and bodies feeling healthier (no cholesterol among a million other benefits), and our conscience feeling lighter.

Here’s a little glimpse into my Thanksgiving plate.  As usual, my eyes were much larger than my stomach. 😉  Being gluttonous doesn’t feel the same as it did in my “past life” (pre-vegan, even though I was vegetarian off and on for most of my life).  Granted, there were some fats used and some white flour (for the rolls and pie crusts), but we rarely cook with fat so having a little Earth Balance and olive oil, or indulging in a little white flour wasn’t going to hurt too much.  (Maybe cutting those things out will be my goal for next year.) 😉

The meal was 95-ish% organic/gmo-free and the total cost to feed 12 people was under $200.  I spent $130 at Whole Foods for all of the food (minus cranberry sauce ingredients, rolls, one tofurkey and two pies – all purchased by others).  This included enough leftovers for all 12 people for at least a whole extra meal and then some (I still have a lot in my fridge that will be/has been used for other meals).

My plate, clockwise starting at the cranberry sauce:

• Mandarin cranberry sauce

• Gardein Tofurkey

• “Ham”

• Tofurkey brand Tofurkey (had to taste and compare the different “meats”)

• (Pre-packaged) Dinner rolls (lets be honest, who doesn’t love the $1.50 packs of rolls we all ate growing up?!?) 😉

• Pear-pecan stuffing (minus the pecans this year)

• Corn

• Green bean casserole

and in the center:

• Mashed potatoes and Tofurkey brand gravy

• Balsamic roasted brussel sprouts

 

And for dessert:

Pumpkin pie and pumpkin tarts, apple tarts with a turbinado (raw brown sugar) crumb topping, chocolate cream pie and banana cream pie.  We topped them with the coco-whip (pre-made and found at Whole Foods, 2 containers for $4).  Amazing!!!

 

Pumpkin pie recipe:  http://thegreenforks.com/vegan-pumpkin-pie/

 

 The two cream pies were made by my girlfriend and link to the recipes will be added soon. =)

More info on the foods we made:

The “meat”:

On the left is the Tofurkey brand roast.  I prepped this the same as I do every year.  I roast it in a pan with vegetable broth and some Earth Balance, as well as some fresh sage and rosemary, basting every 20 minutes or so (total prep and cook time is about 90 minutes).  The pan is covered in foil.  The roast is always very moist and super delish.  We decided to try the Gardein brand one this year as well (prep and cook time is about the same).  It’s the one that looks lighter, on the right.  Note that the tofurkey loaves are always stuffed in the middle.  Helps keep them moist and flavorful.  The Gardein one was prepped the same way as the Tofurkey loaf, but then taken out of the liquid and uncovered to help the crumb topping that it is covered in to crisp a bit for the last 20 minutes or so.  In the center is a “ham” roll (prep and cook time is similar to the tofurkey roasts).  The flavor is very consistent with ham.  The texture is very “hot dog” like which is the one thing that was a little off-putting for me, but the kids seemed to enjoy it, of course.  The plum glaze was beautiful and very good and went so well with the flavor of the “ham” and all seemed to enjoy it, as well as the other two roasts.  All in all, the roasts were all winners.

Side dishes:

 Mandarin Cranberry Sauce:  here is a very basic recipe.  Substituting the sweetener with an apple honey (vegan), agave or a turbinado are options as well.  http://www.food.com/recipe/fresh-cranberry-sauce-with-mandarin-oranges-489691

 White potatoes (not peeled), whipped with Earth Balance, full fat coconut milk, salt, pepper and some garlic powder.  Simple, and delish!

 

Traditional green bean casserole, but using a simple homemade mushroom cream soup and unsweetened almond milk rather than canned soup and milk.

 

Whole Food 365 Brand Vegan Stuffing.  I dressed it up a bit by sauteing half of an onion, three stalks of celery and two pears (for two packages of stuffing), then mixing the stuffing with veggie broth, sauteed veggies and stuffing mix.  Turned out amazing and even turned stuffing haters into lovers.

 

Balsamic Brussel Sprouts:  I added the sprouts, salt, pepper, garlic powder, drizzle of olive oil and balsamic vinegar, toss and roast at 400 for about 15 minutes (timing depends on size)

Hope all had a wonderful Thanksgiving!  Happy Holidays!

Try some of these alternatives for your holiday dinners!  You won’t be disappointed, I promise!

Revisit – Thanksgiving 2014
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