It's that time of year again! Holiday parties, sweet treats, potlucks, all wrapped into cultural traditions and festive foods! Navigating the party foods might be challenging for some individuals with dietary needs (celiacs disease, lactose intolerance, peanut allergies) or people that choose to follow a plant-based lifestyle. While it can be intimidating to go to food-related events that do not cater to your specific needs, do not stress! The best thing to do is bring a dish (or two) to share! Know who your audience is and what kinds of foods will be offered, and then pick a recipe or two that caters to your needs and that others might be interested in trying! You could also take a "classic" dish and modify it (see recipe ideas below) using substitute items. My friends and I would also add, that you shouldn't tell anyone your dish is vegan or whole, plant-based! Let them be surprised of how tasty plant-food really is! I have been living the plant-based lifestyle for well over 10 years now; I've become more confident about attending social events and making food arrangements. It is just a skill you develop as you adjust to lifestyle changes.... And the best news for those following a plant-based lifestyle, MORE and MORE people are continually joining the trend and adopting a more plant-focused, ecofriendly lifestyle!!
This past weekend, I attended a friend's Thanksgiving party that was entitled "Vegansgiving" (There is even a hashtag "Vegansgiving" on Instagram and Twitter). It was a chance for all plant-based eaters to come together and feast on flavorful and homemade, plant-based dishes! While others may continue to question just what do "vegans" or "plant-based" people eat at an event our society has deemed as "Turkey Day", I would like to say that we eat just like everyone else. Infact, we eat more normal than most people might presume (there is nothing abnormal about wild rice, lentils, vegetables, squash...) We don't eat "weird" food. We eat fantastic and wholesome foods that are pleasantly tasting and nourishing for both the body and the planet!
Here was our "Vegansgiving" Menu:
1. Walnut Lentil loaf: my contributions to the meal! It tasted like stuffing! ** I did make a substitution and used tomato paste instead of ketchup and blended an apple instead of using apple butter. Highly recommend this recipe!!!
2. Homemade Seitan stuffed with mushrooms and leeks. It tasted like a "Tofurky." If you have celiacs, this is not for you do to the gluten. Not familiar with Seitan, learn about it here: About Seitan.
3. Spiced Carrot Soup with Roasted Chickpeas and Tahini was FABULOUS!
4. maple-sriracha glazed brussels sprouts over wild rice was flavorful!
6. For dessert.... Pumpkin Cheesecake, of course!
It was a phenomenal dinner! Everything tasted so "Thanksgiving-ish" and there was no animal products necessary!
For my family Thanksgiving, we will be featuring several plant-based menu options:
1. Fresh fruit
2. Pumpkin soup
3. Tofurky (and possibly the homemade Seitan)
4. A dish my mom makes with butternut squash, wild rice, cranberries, apples, and cinnamon
...and I am sure that wont be it!
If you are looking for some more creative plant-based spins on traditional and not so traditional dishes, check out a few of the links below!
Main Dishes and Sides:
This year remember to be THANKFUL for the food you have to eat and a body to nourish well... and the opportunities you have to share in community, friendship, and good health!!
Cover photo credit: Lida Rose