Veganize my Thanksgiving

Because of my mother's health concerns, I'd like to veganize my Thanksgiving. I eat a mostly vegetarian diet anyway, but the vegan part has me more flummoxed than I thought I would be! Any suggestions would be highly appreciated, especially for main dishes and pies.

Stephanie G


Anitalectric November 9, 2011
BlissfulBaker I agree! Kathynyc has some of my favorite recipes on this site. @stephanieg Ophelia offers some great advice about handling the crust, but if you are feeling timid about working with pastry and want to take a shortcut, you can stop short of adding liquid to your crust mixtur---when it is at the pea-sized crumble stage, and just press it into a pie plate instead of rolling. Shape as you would a graham cracker crust. Then chill as normal. It won't be as attractive but it will be less fussy to prepare.
Couldn't B. November 9, 2011
I love making a mushroom strudel with filo dough. Very elegant and absolutely delicious, it would be a great vegan main dish for thanksgiving. I saute a variety of mushrooms with a little thyme, a splash of sherry and some caramelized shallots. When the mushrooms are cooked stir in a bit of tofutti cream cheese to give it some extra creaminess. Let the filling cool. Take a sheet of filo, brush it generously with melted earth balance or margarine. Top with another sheet and brush again. Repeat with a third sheet. Place the filling on one side of the filo (about 1 inch wide and 1 inch thick). Roll up the dough and place on a baking sheet, seam down. Bake at 350 until golden, about 30 minutes but it depends on the size.

If you are looking for desserts I have a whole collection of vegan desserts posted on my blog. Look under the "vegan" category in the recipe list.
Blissful B. November 9, 2011
I realize you asked for main dishes & desserts, but I fell in love with this vegan dip last year & highly recommend it as an appetizer while everyone's waiting for the rest of the meal to finish cooking: .. .. (don't let the cheese in the title fool you; cashew cheese is a dairy alternative)
susan G. November 9, 2011
This will be my 34th year of vegetarian Thanksgivings, and most of what we do is vegan. Sometimes we've just gone for ethnic foods that everyone loves, but usually we try to eat traditional foods without trying to be something else (like turkey, for instance). It's almost a cliche, but one of the most beautiful things to serve is a halved roasted squash, with a stuffing (put in cranberries, color is so appetizing), both cooked separately and combined in the oven to heat. Vegetarian Times magazine has a Thanksgiving menu every year, and we'll be doing some items from this year's, including a Farro Pilaf for the stuffing. There are so many wonderful choices, many old favorites and many more. is another resource with a special area for Thanksgiving. Of course FOOD52 -- the recipe search will sort for vegan, also a Thanksgiving tag. You'll all love it, whatever you do!
Ophelia November 9, 2011
Oil pie crust is good, a little more crispy than flaky, but altogether a good alternative to a butter crust (I use the moosewood recipe, but they're pretty much all the same, don't forget the salt). The only tricks I have for making it easier are don't forget to let it chill for a couple hours and then warm back up before rolling (chilling here allows the moisture to more evenly distribute in the dough) and do roll out the dough between sheets of waxed paper or plastic wrap.
I've found also that coconut oil works very well to replace butter and shortening in crusts, it acts a lot more like butter, but does tend to make your pastry taste a little like coconut (great for chocolate cream pie though).
Stephanie G. November 9, 2011
I would love the mushroom walnut loaf recipe! When you sub the other fats for butter, is the crust harder to work with? My crust skills are very beginner with regular butter and shortnening!
creamtea November 10, 2011
I would also love that mushroom walnut loaf recipe! Sounds delicious even for non-vegans.
Anitalectric November 9, 2011
vegan pies are the best! I also have a fun book I forgot to mention called The Vegetarian Times Complete Thanksgiving Cookbook. Lots of sides. My favorite one is stuffed portabella mushroom caps. Check the library.
Anitalectric November 9, 2011
My favorite part about Thanksgiving is filling up my plate with a variety of veggie "sides." With so much to choose from, you don't really miss a main. But if I have to have one, I'll make a walnut mushroom version of a meatloaf. I will have to post the recipe and link to it here.

As for pies, that is something I will be thing of a lot the next few week since I have to make hundreds of them! My best advice would be that you can sub butter in a short crust pastry for 3 parts non-hydrogenated vegetable shortening (I use spectrum or jungle brand) and one part coconut, safflower or olive oil. I also recommend you add some flax paste (1 tbp flax blended with 3 tbp warm water until gooey) to replace an egg...that makes it more pliable. So if you are making a double crust pie double that.

As for custard pies like pumpkin and sweet potato, the egg and milk in the filling are what help to hold it together. I use water chestnut flour (Chinese groceries have it) and full-fat coconut milk instead. I also strongly recommend you use fresh pumpkin puree and not anything out of a can. You will never go back. My secret: skip the sugar (carving) pumpkins and go for a lower-moisture squash like kubocha. You will have better texture, flavor and color. You can still call it pumpkin for nostalgia and nobody will know. Also know that if you do use a sugar pumpkin, the smaller ones will taste better.

I guess I have to post a recipe for that, too! Have fun.

SKK November 9, 2011
Love posts like this! Thank you, thank you.
Panfusine November 9, 2011
All the recipes I've shared on this site are vegetarian, albeit with an Indian infulence.. feel free to brwose through.
beyondcelery November 9, 2011
My sister-in-law is vegan and she'll usually bring a harvest loaf to Thanksgiving to supplement the rest of the dishes. You can find a lot of recipes for them, though I know she just buys it at Whole Foods. Beyond that, I suggest: 1) Make your own cranberry sauce (my recipe here: 2) Have some good homemade bread rolls available (here's my recipe that's vegan and gluten-free: 3) Use olive oil for mashed potatoes instead of butter and cream. 4) Vegan Buttery Sticks (from Earth Balance) is a great butter substitute for when you just need butter. 5) Here's my recipe for vegan pumpkin pie (no one can ever tell the difference, truly): Also, remember that you don't have to be fully traditional with your meal. Add a tagine of quinoa, with root vegetables, spices, currants, and nuts. Put hummus or baba ganouj on the table if you like them. Braise kale and serve it alongside a baked skillet of lentils, butternut squash, pumpkin, and parsnips. It's okay if things appear on the table you've never before associated with Thanksgiving. Next year, you'll have new "traditional" meals to pull from!
SKK November 9, 2011
Great ideas, Syronai! When you post I always learn something. And I love your vegan recipes are unprocessed foods. I have vegan friends who eat the most disgusting stuff because it says vegan on the label.
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