Holidays As A Vegan

Imagine this: You’re sitting at your Thanksgiving table, and it’s empty. Well, it’s not actually empty. You just can’t eat any of the food. Before you rests turkey, mashed potatoes, pies, green bean casserole, and much more. Butter there, milk in that, meat over here—nothing you can have. You head to the kitchen to make your average daily meal of pasta and veggies. The holiday season has failed to bring tasteful plant-based food.

But then your mom calls your name from the threshold of the kitchen.

“There is something in the oven for you,” she says.

It’s the big rubbery ball of protein that you’ve always dreamed of, disguised as a turkey. Bigger and better, it’s not just a Tofurky… it’s a Tofurky Holiday Roast. Suddenly, you are drooling over this slimy and chewy ball that is the Tofurky Holiday Roast.

Seth Tibbott started the family-owned Tofurky company in 1980, and the Tofurky Holiday Roast was introduced in 1995. To many vegans and vegetarians, the holiday roast has become a staple of Thanksgiving.

I do not enjoy the Tofurky brand, because I think other brands, such as Gardien (which also has a much better holiday roast) represent fake meat better. Gardien has a better texture and actually fools many people when they try it. Tofurky tastes very processed and salty. Many plant-based eaters enjoy eating these on occasion.

Tofurky Holiday Roast.
Image courtesy of tofurky.com.

One reason many vegans and vegetarians stop eating meat is because they do not support the inhumane aspect of eating it. This does not mean they don’t like the taste of meat; it just means they do not choose to support the meat industry for ethical reasons. The factory farm industry is cruel to animals and significantly affects the environment. The fact that 150 gallons of water are used per cow each day in the beef industry is just one example of its environmental impact.

Fake meat brands are very popular with vegans and vegetarians and respected due to their meaty texture and flavor. Many brands are becoming more popular because of their incredibly close resemblance to meat. For example, the Impossible Burger is a fake meat product that looks, tastes, and even bleeds like a real hamburger. Even meat eaters enjoy this and think it tastes like real meat.

The Impossible Burger—made from plants. Photo credit: Impossible Foods.

With so many meat-resembling products on the market, the holidays have become much easier to think about as a vegan.

Navigating the holidays as a vegan can be difficult, but with these simple tips, this time of year will be much easier, and you will not have to find yourself at an empty table.

Tip Number 1:

Have Thanksgiving at your house or at a house where the host will let you bring your own dish. If you make your own dishes, there will be no awkward behavior at the table when you are eating a salad. If you are going elsewhere, bring a vegan dish for yourself and to share. .

Tip Number 2:

Find your favorite meat substitute. This could be anything from tofu to seitan to a Tofurky Holiday Roast. Having a meat substitute will not only make your holiday more enjoyable, you will have more options, and it will make you feel included in your meat-loving family. The Gardein Holiday Roast is one of the best meat substitutes. It comes in either two small cutlets or one large log. It is coated in delectable bread crumbs and stuffed with a flavorful stuffing. The texture is neither rubbery or chewy. For those who do not like a meaty texture, tofu, tempeh, or seitan are all great options to season well and roast as a main dish as well.

Vegan Thanksgiving Meal. Photo credit: TryVeg.com.

Tip Number 3:

Recreate your favorite dishes. Whether it is mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, or chocolate pie, you can make it vegan. For mashed potatoes, simply replace milk with unsweetened almond milk, and replace butter with a vegan butter substitute, such as Earth Balance. How about some green bean casserole? Instead of cream and butter, make a mixture of cauliflower and Earth Balance, along with any seasonings.

Two of my favorite food bloggers also have tips for meatless dishes for the holidays: Hot For Food and Avant-Garde Vegan.

About the author

Dusey is a Senior at Collegiate.