It’s the most wonderful time of the year again. Some save that line for Christmas, but I save that line for Thanksgiving. It’s hard to top a celebration where food is the focal point. Everyone looks forward to eating on Thanksgiving, but when you’re vegan or know a vegan, the day can take on an extra layer of difficulty.
Some find vegans obnoxious and others find their lifestyle admirable. In either case, I feel it’s best to look at your vegan friends and family the same way you look at those with food allergens. So here are a few things you can do for the vegan in your life this Thanksgiving to show them that you more than tolerate their existence.
Make Some (Good) Vegan Foods
There’s this joke about how vegan food tastes awful. I haven’t found that to be true, but that may be the case for your vegan. While vegan food on average tastes good, a lot of vegan food lacks a level of flavor intensity that most regular foods contain. Make it a challenge this Thanksgiving to prepare delicious vegan food options.
It’s easier than you think, especially if you go the route of substituting ingredients rather than coming up with a meal from scratch. If it turns out awesome, you’ll have impressed the vegan in your life and quite possibly given them a dish idea. Here are a few of my favorite vegan foods that are perfect for Thanksgiving.
Sweet Potato Corn Bread
Pre-heat the oven to 425 degrees.
Wash 1 large sweet Potato and toss in the microwave for 7 minutes. Poke with fork when timer goes off. If the fork slides through the entire potato with no resistance, then it’s ready. If the potato is still too hard or partially soft, microwave it for a few more minutes and poke regularly.
Mix 1 ½ cups of yellow corn meal with 1 cup of flour, 1 teaspoon of baking powder, 1 teaspoon of salt, ½ teaspoon of cinnamon and nutmeg. Add ¾ cup of almond milk, 2 table spoons of extra virgin olive oil and your peeled sweet potato all to the bowl and mix.
Grease a pan and pour the mix in. Bake for 25 minutes and check periodically.
Sweet potato corn bread is more on the moist side than regular corn bread, so when poking the dish, you may find traces of the mix sticking to your object. This is fine. 25 – 30 minutes is long enough for cooking the bread. I personally love to eat It cold, but it tastes great while warm too.
Build Your Own Salad Station
When I was a child eager to help with preparing Thanks Giving diner, my folks would give me the task of making the salad. In a large bowl I would mix cheese and berries and greens and nuts.
Take some of the edge off yourself this year and leave the cheese and other ingredients out of the salad bowl so that guests can prepare it themselves. It’s a quick way to give the vegan in your life some options.
Vegan Green Bean Casserole
I have made this dish for dinner before and I followed the recipe here. I’d like to add that flavor and crunch are two things I love when eating just about anything, so sprinkling fried onions on top takes this dish (and many recipes) a notch up.
And no, it doesn’t make the dish too onion-y by placing more onion on top the onion. It makes it all the better. Trust me.
Don’t Interview Them About Being Vegan
Honestly, this bit of advice is more for your own sake rather than theirs. Probing someone about their dietary choices, especially political ones, can lead you into a charged discussion. While I love the vegans in my life and have a diet (not the temporary idea of a diet but one’s long term eating lifestyle) very close to theirs, veganism is just as much a political stance as it is a diet.
Quite a few vegans talk about their life style as if it is superior to all others (and there’s quite a bit of science backing up the benefits of being vegan), and it can put a little tension in the air. So as always, follow the age-old dinner table discussion rules of refraining from talking about religion and politics. Plus, as someone with my own dietary regime, it can be a bit annoying to have my lifestyle constantly under analysis and scrutiny by those around me.
Everyone looks forward to the food on Thanksgiving. However, vegans and others with dietary restrictions can find this day particularly dull. Be a great host, friend, or acquaintance by having some vegan options at the dinner table this year. You might come to find you want to incorporate more vegan meals in your household year-round.
Lilith is a blogger with an emphasis in writing and reflecting upon social agendas that effect black women. When not at her computer writing she is more than likely still at her computer, programming. On the rare occasion that Lilith isn't at her laptop you can attempt to find her exploring the Chicago food scene or attending workshops in creative writing.