How to Make Your Thanksgiving Vegan-Friendly

The holidays can be challenging for those with dietary restrictions. Gatherings like Thanksgiving dinner involve loads of food, and a guest may feel uncomfortable asking you to change your dinner plans to accommodate them. Knowing how to make a Thanksgiving dinner that your vegan guests can enjoy is crucial.

People follow a vegan diet for many reasons. Still, whether a person is vegan for health reasons or simply as a lifestyle choice, it is essential to respect their dietary restrictions. Vegans do not consume animal byproducts, including meat, dairy, eggs, honey and even gelatin.

Dairy Alternatives for Thanksgiving

The good news is that it’s relatively easy to turn any dish into a vegan dish with a few minor substitutions, except for the Thanksgiving turkey. Dairy products like milk and cheese have plant-based alternatives that you can easily use in a recipe. These alternatives can include non-dairy milk like almond milk, coconut milk or oat milk. 

Meat Alternatives

There are even meat substitutes as well. Some meat substitutes come from vegetables, and others are specially-made meat alternatives that mimic the real thing. Many vegans also use tofu as the “meat” dish while cooking. If you’re unsure whether a meat substitute is necessary for your vegan guest, ask them about their preferences.

Egg Alternatives

The challenging part can be figuring out how to veganize recipes that include eggs. Many stores carry plant-based “egg” alternatives, but there are also several alternatives, some of which you might already have in your kitchen.

Use any of the following in place of one egg in a recipe:

–       ¼ cup unsweetened applesauce

–       One well-mashed banana

–        ¼ cup vegan yogurt

–       ¼ cup pumpkin puree

Try flaxseed if you’re cooking a savory dish and need an egg alternative that won’t sweeten up the meal. Combine 1 tbsp. flaxseed meal with 3 tbsp. water and let it sit for about five minutes. The consistency should resemble egg whites and be slightly thick while still runny.

Contact your vegan friend or loved one if you need help determining where to begin. Let them know you want to make your meal vegan-friendly and ask for any cooking tips or their preferences for alternatives. Chances are they will appreciate the effort and be able to help you make your Thanksgiving dinner both inclusive and delicious.

Written by Amanda Turko

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