Vegan Feasting
November 27, 2010

Greetings, all! I hope this post finds you still stuffed and in the haze of a spectacular Thanksgiving meal. As I mentioned in my last post (and thanks to all of you who got so excited about the sweet & salty avocado dressing – it’s pretty awesome, if I do say so myself), I was lucky enough to spend Thanksgiving eve in the company of intelligent, thoughtful, and gracious vegan hosts. M and I dined with some fellow vegans, and they greeted us with a cornucopia of good food. To anyone who’s ever asked me, “what do vegans eat on Thanksgiving?” let me assure you: we do not go hungry. Check this out.

Vegan Skillet Cornbread

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Roasted Brussels Sprouts

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Celebration Roast and Tofurkey Roast

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Homemade Gravy:

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Front to back: salad (with the best candied pecans EVER), mashed potatoes, roast yams, vegan stuffing with tempeh sausage:

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More yams:

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And more potatoes:

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Stuffing galore:

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And my plate. I had tons of salad, brussels sprouts, yams, mashed potatoes, stuffing, and a slice of cornbread. I loved everything, but I think that the candied pecans in the salad (no joke, I loved), the sprouts, and both potatoes were the stars:

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If this wasn’t enough bounty, our hosts had also prepared a kaleidescope of desserts: homemade cookies, pumpkin cheesecake, pumpkin pie, and pecan pie from Vegan Treats, and chocolate covered strawberries:

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I had a couple of the (incredible) strawberries and a cup of this:

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My hosts have superior taste in java. And all things culinary.

This was my first Thanksgiving in vegan company: every other year of my life, I’ve been the sole vegan chef and diner. While that can be a great experience in its own right—because one has the chance to set a vegan example—it was also very special to spend a day of gratitude in the company of people who share my beliefs about animal rights.

My favorite part of the evening was listening to my host describe his vegan “turning point”—that moment when veganism ceased to be a concept he flirted with, but rather an imperative. All vegans, I think, can remember such a moment—it’s the moment we realized that none of the difficulties associated with veganism could outweigh its importance. It’s also the moment when we had an aerial vision of how veganism fit into our lives, and our lives fit into veganism. Looking back on my own “turning point,” it’s so clear that veganism was the obvious manifestation of my compassion for living beings, my psychological predispositions, my passion for health, my reverence for nature, and my personal tastes. I’m always eager to hear other peoples’ vegan narratives—their own recounting of the roads that led them to a vegan life—and there was no shortage of interesting storytelling on this night.

Good company, good food, and a great companion? Lots to give thanks for.

Hope you all had equally nice days. I would love to hear what you were up to for Thanksgiving this year. And stay tuned for an awesome new smoothie recipe tomorrow!


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  1. What a lovely Thanksgiving feast! I love what you said about your turning point and the obvious manifestation of that led you to veganism. I relate to all of your reasons and especially like “psychological predispositions” – although my diet isn’t comprised of 100% vegan foods, I find myself leaning more and more that way, based on many factors, primarily my personal tastes. I made a couple of vegan dishes to bring to my family’s Thanksgiving meal last week and everyone enjoyed them. 🙂

  2. oh my goodness, how did you even decide where to start when plating!!! everything looks fantastic. any chance we could get some recipes? ive been craving skillet cornbread and chili for a while, so i could definitely use a vegan recipe.

  3. I really enjoyed reading this. The food looks wonderful and has given me some ideas for Christmas. I have only been a vegan eater since end of September.

  4. Sounds like a wonderful thing to have thanksgiving in such nurturing, likeminded company – and with such abundance also!

    Back when I lived in CA, my raw friends and I would get together for Thanksgiving and had some delicious times: there’s something special about all being on the same food page sometimes.

    Thanks for sharing!

  5. Wow! It looks like you had an amazing Thanksgiving this year! This year was my first vegan Thanksgiving. I sponsored a turkey, and I hosted a vegan pre-Thanksgiving dinner for my omni friends. They seemed very impressed. I made a lot of dishes from Alicia Silverstone’s The Kind Diet. The food was great.
    For the actual day, I brought over some seitan that I marinated with herbs and chopped apples, and a vegan pumpkin pie that I bought at the vegan bakery on St. Mark’s. It was yummy!
    Some family members pushed me a little to eat the non-vegan fare, my uncle was busting my chops a bit, and it was also hard to explain myself since there is a language barrier between me and some of my relatives, but overall it went pretty ok. It could have been a lot worse, I’m sure! One thing that was kind of a bummer was that I could only eat my seitan and some salad. Practically all the veggies had butter on them. I was so glad I got my fix during my pre-Thanksgiving feast!
    One thing I liked was that my cousins were curious about veganism and what it actually was. Some of my relatives tried my seitan and pie and they quite liked it! I was glad that I could share something new and interesting with them!

  6. Woah! That is the most veganly bountiful Thanksgiving I have ever seen!! Wow….heavenly…I was the sole vegan one this Thanksgiving, again, but I am also in charge of most of the cooking, so I made the best vegan pumpkin pie I’ve ever attempted, and it was the star of dessert, which made me happy. I was thankful for being home again after traveling around the world a lot recently. For my family, my cousin who came, and the cold weather.

  7. Choc strawberries, coffee, tons of desserts, great company, and of course all the other food…and sharing it all w/ like minded people…WOW how awesome for you! So happy that you had this special day and special time!

    And as much as it’s “fine” to be the sole vegan or in charge of preparing food that you can/want to eat year after year, it must be SO NICE to be in the company of others who fully embrace and understand your life choices as they are walking similar life paths.

    Gosh, awesome!

    Have a glorious week, Gena!


  8. after a year of vegetarianism (okay the occasional fish still.. i quit smoking that way too, the occasional social cig with friends for a few years.. but it worked! i haven’t smoked in 10+ years!), i had a (one) bite of real turkey, because my brother smoked it, and because turkey used to be my favorite meat. The smoke flavor was good, but it was dry as sawdust! I will NEVER miss eating turkey again. I hope, if i ever break down and have that cheeseburger i keep thinking about, it’s just as bad. But honestly, as good as it sounds at first, when i think about putting it into my mouth, i just think YUCK. YAY Progress!!!! 🙂

  9. Great eats, I’ve never tried the Tofurkey roast and actually considered picking one up at Trader Joe’s, maybe for our Xmas gatherings. Yum, this post has ignited my cravings for cornbread, haven’t had it in ages and must make some soon. 🙂

  10. i’ve been having weird cornbread cravings, need me tigons a good recipe! also been craving roasted brussel sprouts, so jealous of your feast right now

  11. Looks incredible, Gena! My Thanksgiving wasn’t vegan, but some sides you might have enjoyed:
    Roasted brussel sprouts with balsamic and fennel seeds (you MUST try this), stir-fried Chinese green beans with garlic, roasted sweet potatoes and butternut squash with cider and maple syrup, frisee salad with roasted beets.
    Happy Thanksgiving!

  12. Chocolate dipped strawberries are such a delicious and underrated dessert. And easy. Note to self – make these more often.

  13. that looks amazing yet i still remain scared to try tofurky! i just can’t wrap my head around the imitating meat idea you know? i know some vegans who don’t eat that stuff at all and others that practically live on it. however, omg chocolate dipped strawbs are perfection!

  14. It looks truly inviting.
    I’d like to try that Celebration Roast and Tofurkey Roast, Homemade
    Gravy and those strawberries. I think this is the healthiest Feast ever.

  15. As much as all the food pictures had me drooling, I loved reading your paragraph about “turning points”. I guess it rang especially true for me because I recently had a vegan turning point (after about 10 years of veganism – I’m a little late, I guess!) and you’re right: it’s good to come to that realisation that veganism is a part of who we are and what we believe in, as ethical consumers but also as chefs and avid eaters. So, I guess the whole point of this ramble was to say thanks, because reading that really made me smile. 🙂

  16. This was my first Thanksgiving in the company of other vegans, as well! In all years past, I, too, was the sole vegan chef and diner at the Thanksgiving table. This year, I was so fortunate to be invited to a vegan Thanksgiving potluck with my friends, the “Bold Native” filmmakers. Abundance is an understatement! There was so much food that I didn’t even try half…I probably didn’t even try 1/4 of the dishes!

    Today, I went to a vegan Thanksgiving leftovers potluck, which was also wonderful and brimming with delicious food.

    I’m so happy for you and M that you were able to share the holiday together, giving thanks for each other the whole time, I’m sure.

  17. Ooh mashed potaters with skin! That’s how we like them. What a spread! Lucky you! I’d love the recipes for the skillet cornbread and the pecans too.

    Happy Thanksgiving!

  18. That looks like an amazing feast! I’m glad you got to share Thanksgiving with some other vegans. Last Thanksgiving was my first as a vegan and my family did a 100% vegan meal. It was awesome and fun (and delicious).

    I remember my vegan turning point. I had been eating vegan for a couple weeks after reading The China Study and was starting to acclimate to the idea of eating a vegan diet for health reasons. I was reading an essay on that asked why it was socially acceptable to be vegan for health reasons but not for ethical reasons and I started wondering why I felt that way and I started unraveling my personal moral convictions that I hadn’t even known I held from my cultural upbringing that said veganism was weird. I realized that I agreed with ethical veganism and I’ve never looked back.