Veganize Thanksgiving, You’ve got this.
A plant-based Thanksgiving is a colorful, delicious, and “feel good” way to celebrate the season’s bounty. Doctor Lisa Thum, MD, and Recipe Developer, Megan Scott, have teamed up to share their nutritious, culinary secrets with us as we prepare to veganize Thanksgiving for our family and friends.
Four Ways to Veganize your Thanksgiving Spread:
1. Dress up your table with hearty vegetable side dishes:
a. A large bowl of mixed roasted root vegetables drizzled with a maple and balsamic reduction makes for a stunning presentation. Choose vegetables from a rainbow of colors to get the diverse health benefits of phytonutrients. The color pigments contain antioxidants that protect against heart disease, some cancers and the effects of aging.
b. For a minimalist approach, select one vegetable to roast. Whole slender carrots or halved Brussels sprouts roasted until caramelized make even the veggie-averse come back for seconds.
2. If your family enjoys a more traditional Thanksgiving spread, you can easily modify most classics to suit a plant-based diet:
a. For unforgettable mashed potatoes, enrich them with vegan butter and serve with mushroom gravy. The healing power of mushrooms lies in the essential nutrients they provide. They are the only vegetable source of vitamin D, and they are a rich source of iron. Packed with B vitamins, they help to turn carbohydrates into fuel that the body uses to produce energy and metabolize protein and fat. An added benefit is that mushrooms have lots of antioxidants to help fight inflammation and boost the immune system.
b. For sweet potato casserole, skip the marshmallows and top instead with a mixture of chopped pecans and brown sugar. The potency of pecans is in their ability to boost heart, bone, dental, and digestive health. Pecans are an abundant source of magnesium, contain antioxidant benefits, and help lower blood pressure and the risk of breast cancer.
c. To make a supremely savory stuffing, add some crumbled Tofurky Italian Sausage to your favorite bread or cornbread stuffing recipe.
3. Even the most outdated Thanksgiving classics can reserve a place at the table when you give them a fresh upgrade:
a. To build a better green bean casserole, blanch fresh green beans until just tender, then toss them in mushroom gravy made with vegan butter, fresh mushrooms, vegetable broth, and flour to thicken. Bake in a casserole dish with a healthy topping of caramelized onions or even coarse breadcrumbs instead of the usual fried onions.
4. For a beautiful finale, veganize your pumpkin pie.
a. Simply use cornstarch to thicken the filling on the stovetop and swap coconut or almond milk for regular milk.
b. Serve with whipped coconut cream for the ultimate, show-stopping Thanksgiving dessert.
c. Enjoy every bite, knowing that pumpkin is full of carotenoids that promote youthful skin and heart health. Pumpkin is also a great source Vitamins A, C, and E, which are important for vision and eye health along with enhancing the immune system to fight infection.
d. Just don’t forget to save the seeds to toss with your favorite spices and bake up into a tasty snack for later. Those seeds may be small but they are packed with antioxidants, minerals, and healthy fats that deliver a wide range of health benefits to the body.
The added bonus: Dr. Thum says, “When opting for a plant-based plate, you can still enjoy hearty portions and remain energized for the holiday festivities to follow, avoiding that classic post-Thanksgiving feast snooze.”
Enjoy your plantiful feast!