It's almost time for every foodie's favorite holiday! For most people, Thanksgiving is that one time of the year when families come together to sit at the table and share a meal. Feasting over turkey and traditional holiday sides, like green bean casserole and mashed potatoes, is a big deal; and if you live a vegan or plant based lifestyle, that alone comes with its own challenges. But with a little guidance and effort, you can survive this day and enjoy it (without giving up holiday classics)—and we're here to help with that!
Give Your Host a Heads Up
Let your host know in advance which ingredients are off-limits. Doing so will help your host prepare a few options for you, and you’ll avoid the most asked question: “Why aren’t you eating the food?” You can offer suggestions on making a recipe vegan but don’t expect your host to go out of their way and buy extra ingredients on top of their other grocery list. If your host isn’t already cooking vegan dishes, offer to purchase alternative ingredients and help with prepping the vegan dishes. Any host will love an extra pair of helping hands!
Make a List of Thanksgiving Dishes You Can't Live Without
Remember when you first went vegan and took the time to recreate all your favorite dishes? Pick the dishes you absolutely must have during the big feast. Since most gravy is made using drippings from the turkey, Amy's Ultimate Vegan Gravy is a great alternative. Who said you can't have a cheesy vegan dish? These Mac and Cheese Bites made with Amy's Vegan Mac & Cheeze make it easy to enjoy a holiday classic.
Bring Enough For Yourself and Everyone Else
Think about what you'll be eating to feel satisfied. If you'll have to take more than your fair share of sides to feel full, BYOF (Bring Your Own Food)! Ultimately, this day is your golden opportunity to make vegan-friendly versions of your favorite Thanksgiving dishes for everyone to enjoy. You don't have to cook a big entrée but bring enough for guests to try. Looking for a savory green dish to make? This Green Bean Casserole using Amy's Porcini Bisque is bursting with flavor and topped with stuffing and chopped almonds.
You Don't have to Tell People it's Vegan
Most people grab portions of everything being served. Let people taste your dish without any expectations. It's common for people to have preconceived notions about what should be served at Thanksgiving and a desire to keep long-held traditions. Again, use this opportunity to let your family and friends taste how delicious and satisfying vegan dishes are. A crowd favorite is Butternut Squash Sage Risotto with Candied Pepitas using Amy’s Butternut Squash Soup. Hints of lemon, garlic and sage pack an aromatic punch of flavor in every bite!
Keep Your Cool
The dinner table is not a place to be judgmental or preachy. There may always be one person who must joke or poke fun at the people not eating the turkey. Always remain calm as those jokes are just an outward manifestation of their discomfort. If someone insists on arguing, simply tell them that you would love to discuss this further at another time but right now, you just want to enjoy being with your family and friends. Who will argue after that?
Remember, It's Dinner, Not a Debate
Not everyone will understand why you choose to be vegan. If someone asks you why you are vegan, tell them. Whether it is to fight against animal cruelty, optimize your health, environmental reasons or all three, they can ask you more questions after dinner, and you can explain your position to them over some Pumpkin Pie. While it is important to show confidence, pride and happiness in your decision to be vegan, always remember to have fun and focus on dinner at the table.
Whether you are a guest or hosting your own dinner party, bring everyone to the table this Thanksgiving with the help of Amy's! From Vegan Gravy to Mac and Cheese, you won't have to miss your favorite holiday classics. If you are a guest, remember to converse with your host beforehand and offer to make your own vegan-friendly dishes. Lead by example and inspire a new approach to Thanksgiving dinner this year!