Many of us have worked hard to let go of antiquated visions of Thanksgiving, redefining it as a day to celebrate thankfulness, kindness, and time with loved ones (even if that time is spent together virtually this year ... hang in there; it'll shift).
It’s clear that our beliefs and holidays can evolve, so why not apply those positive changes to the traditional holiday meal, too?
Whether you’re an omnivore, flexitarian, or fully plant-based, Thanksgiving is the perfect day to leave animals off your plate and start a new tradition.
For some drool-worthy inspiration, we compiled a list of 10 meat-free centerpieces for a truly epic, cruelty-free holiday feast.
This is a brand new item that just hit shelves at Whole Foods! We can’t wait to try this savory holiday roast, which is sure to sell out ... so get yours soon!
This fall-inspired lasagna is sure to become your new annual tradition. The perfect comfort food, this recipe serves two to six people, so double it if you’re serving a larger group (or if you just want more leftovers ... it freezes well!).
The Celebration Roast is made from grain “meat” seasoned with rubbed sage, garlic, and lemon juice—and stuffed with a rich, sausage-style stuffing. The Hazelnut Cranberry Roast En Croute is wrapped in a yummy puff pastry and has hints of ginger, cranberries, and apples. Like everything Field Roast makes, these roasts won’t disappoint.
Gardein’s holiday roast with cranberry and wild rice stuffing brings all the flavors of a traditional Thanksgiving meal together in one deliciously breaded loaf. BONUS: Gardein’s holiday roast comes with two packets of plant-based gravy.
Seitan is made from wheat gluten, and the texture and flavor can mimic meat eerily well. It's a great vegan staple, especially for those who are allergic to soy. This recipe from Tasty is perfect for any holiday and super easy to make! All you need is a food processor, an oven, and an appetite.
Why must veggies always be relegated to side dishes? This stuffed roasted butternut squash will steal the show as the centerpiece of the Thanksgiving table. We love that this dish can be prepared a couple of days beforehand, so on the big day you can simply pop it in the oven.
One cannot talk about a plant-based Thanksgiving without mentioning the OG—Tofurky. Since 1995, Tofurky has been selling its famous roast, which is made up of a blend of wheat and tofu, and filled with flavorful wild rice and bread crumb stuffing. We love cooking Tofurky with veggie broth, potatoes, onions, and carrots.
Whenever meat-free food goes mainstream, it’s a beautiful thing. As seen on marthastewart.com, this decadent Veggie Shepherd’s Pie is proof that you don’t need animal products to create classic comfort dishes. To veganize the recipe, use a plant-based butter such as Earth Balance or Country Crock Plant Butter.
Last but definitely not least, we present to you the Veggieducken! This centerpiece is a real conversation-starter that will steal the show at your outdoor, friendsgiving potluck. It's sweet potatoes stuffed inside leeks stuffed inside a banana squash, with stuffing between each layer, and it's about to change your Thanksgiving for good.
As a difficult year is (FINALLY) coming to a close, Thanksgiving is the perfect time to create a new tradition by trying out one of these vegan dishes and extend our worldview of compassion to what's on our plate.
And since you're already thinking in this direction, now is a good time to remind you that beyond being part of the food system, animals suffer in cruel experiments for beauty products. But you can ensure you’re not contributing to animal suffering by not only eating cruelty-free, but shopping cruelty-free, too.
***Kim Johnson is a writer and social media strategist with 10 years of experience in the nonprofit sector working for animal protection organizations.