Thanksgiving is almost here, and I’m finally getting my act together and working on some posts that will give you ideas of what to serve on this generally not very vegan friendly holiday. Over the next few days I’ll be posting some of my favorite things to serve and of course, to eat!
Last year we had several friends in town and decided it would be fun to get everyone together and make a huge all-vegan Thanksgiving meal. I was pretty excited, and I went crazy gathering recipes and planning out what to make. I didn’t want the meat-eaters (we were about half vegetarian to half non-veg) to feel that they’d sacrificed anything by joining us, so I pulled out all the stops. In the end, everyone had a great time and people were really complimentary of the food. It felt so good to show people that vegan food isn’t a sacrifice at all. People also talked about how they felt so much better after that meal than they do when they eat traditional Thanksgiving fare. (Meat = Indigestion, suckas!)
If you have a vegan coming to your Thanksgiving meal, or you’re vegan and need to bring something that you can eat, I hope to give you some good ideas over the next few days. Keep in mind that many recipes can be made vegetarian by substituting vegetable broth for chicken or other meat-based broths, and you can even use non-dairy milk or vege broth in your mashed potatoes, for example. Earth Balance is a great replacement for butter, and I promise you that no one will be able to tell the difference. Making these small substitutions really isn’t difficult, and it can go a long way towards making the vegetarian in your life feel welcome.
When we went home for Christmas last year we made a few of our favorite Thanksgiving dishes to bring with us to family meals. Ryan’s mom asked us to bring the gravy, so I made my favorite “poultry gravy” that we’d served for our vegan Thanksgiving. Not one person complained that it wasn’t as good as the “real” stuff, and I don’t think that most of them even knew that it was vegan. This is so easy to make, and the recipe makes a ton. I’m going to post both the huge recipe (that serves at least 10, with leftovers) and the smaller scale recipe that I use if I’m just making it for two.
In a large sauce-pan or stock-pot, melt the margarine over medium heat. Using a whisk, stir the flour and nutritional yeast until you have a thick paste (called a “roux”). Cook the roux over medium heat until it’s bubbly and smooth. Slowly add the broth while whisking constantly to avoid lumps. Add the poultry seasoning and cook the mixture until it bubbles and thickens.
If you like a thicker gravy, simple let it simmer longer. If you find it’s too thick you can thin it out with a little broth. Once it’s the thickness you like, you can add salt to taste, depending on how salty your broth is. (I sometimes also add a little onion powder or smoked paprika if I want to spice it up a bit.)
At this point I transfer the gravy to a small crock pot to keep it warm for the meal. You can also make this ahead of time and heat it in your crock pot on Thanksgiving morning.
For a smaller version, use the following measurements with the same instructions. Also note that I don’t add salt to this since I usually use a bouillon cube with sea salt, but taste and adjust your gravy depending on what products you use.