When someone mentions Thanksgiving, the first thing that comes to mind is probably a time for delicious turkey and gravy.
For vegetarians and vegans who celebrate Thanksgiving, that is not the case. The traditional Thanksgiving meal consists of turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, green beans and more.
Many vegetarians eat tofurky which is a “turkey” that is made out of tofu to be the main source of protein for a Thanksgiving dinner.
Tofu is a great substitution for meat because it is a great source of protein and it an extremely bland flavor, making it easy to absorb the flavors that you add to your “turkey.”
Not only is the “turkey” made out of tofu, but there are many substitutions for meat when it comes to Thanksgiving.
For example, instead of chicken pot pie, you can substitute that with pumpkin pot pie which has been a favorite of many vegetarians for many years.
“Most of the foods that we eat for Thanksgiving are traditional,” junior Savannah Jones said. “My family makes the normal Thanksgiving foods like mashed potatoes, stuffing, biscuits and more but anything we make is vegan.” Many students are vegetarians and have found several ways to enjoy Thanksgiving without the turkey.
There are a lot of options to choose from when you are avoiding turkey. “I have been vegan for about two years now and my favorite Thanksgiving food is apple crisps with a side of ice cream,” junior Han Le said.
Eating vegetarian on thanksgiving, as well as life in general, also has a lot of health benefits.
A normal turkey has 7,197 calories whereas a tofu turkey contains 290 calories. “I became a vegetarian three years ago, when I was in 8th grade and my parents became vegan five years ago,” Jones said.
Not only is the vegetarian turkey healthier but it’s much easier to cook. A tofu turkey takes an hour to cook while a regular turkey can take up to four hours. “I do not usually have a replacement for turkey so I eat side dishes,” Jones said. “I have tried tofu turkey but I have never had it for Thanksgiving.”
Being vegetarian or vegan, it can become difficult to find a premade dish. However, many local supermarkets advertise Tofurky so it is just as accessible as a regular turkey for everyone to enjoy their Thanksgiving.
“My dad makes everything that my family eats for Thanksgiving,” Jones said “We don’t really buy anything other than ingredients to make our own special dishes.”
For people going meatless this Thanksgiving, there is a plethora of foods that are available to have a wonderful Thanksgiving.
“I recommend mac and cheese with cashew cheese and eggplant bacon,” Jones said. “The recipe my dad makes is pretty good, but there are also some that aren’t good, you just have to find the one that you enjoy most.”
Some students grapple with the debate between meat and non-meat Thanksgiving celebrations. Many argue that the tradition of Thanksgiving is ruined when Turkey and other animal based products are replaced by vegan or vegetarian items.
“I just can’t see myself making the change,” senior Anthony Marnell said. “I’ve been eating the same Thanksgiving meal for all my life so I don’t really see the need for change.”
Whether the switch to a vegan or vegetarian Thanksgiving is for personal or health reasons, some students have seen change undergone in their tradition without the intention to do so. Either way, a Thanksgiving meal can be thoroughly enjoyed by all, whether it includes meat or not.