Happy Vegan Thanksgiving

by Melissa West on October 6, 2010

This year, my dear, sweet husband, who knows me so well and understands so deeply what is important to me, arranged Thanksgiving so that I could host it, for the first time, in my own home. I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to cook, nurture, and serve my family with gratitude on this beautiful holiday.

My Thanksgiving will not involve a turkey because we are vegan both for health and humanitarian reasons. In the words of my dear friend Kelly Childs, we have much to be grateful for, “When we realize that we’ve all been given the gift of bodies that require no nutrients we cannot get from plant sources, we can become, ourselves, the change we want to see in the world. This is the heart and soul of the vegan revolution of love, joy, and peace that is beckoning and to which we are all called to contribute.”

I’m shocked by how many people are taken aback by my choice not to cook a turkey for Thanksgiving dinner. Colleen Patrick Goudreau suggests, “this holiday meal has become so centered around the consumption of turkey that people have completely lost sight of its original meaning.”

The people I’ve talked to are completely bewildered at what Thanksgiving dinner could be without a turkey or a ham. The question I’m faced with again, and again, and again is, “What will you have instead of turkey?”

Here, to answer that question, I wish to share with you my menu plan for our vegan Thanksgiving dinner this year. 


Polenta with 2-Tomato Topping from Quick Fix Vegetarian (pg. 31)


White Wine Sangria from the LCBO’s Food and Drink Magazine Autumn 2010 (pg. 179)

Main Course:

Salad: Red Graptefruit, Avocado and Fennel Salad from Raw food Real World (pg. 109)


Roast Portobello Mushrooms with Chestnut Stuffing and Quino Acorn Squash Risotto from LCBO’s Food and Drink Magazine Autumn 2010 (pg. 192 – both recipes will be vegan-ized)


Chocolate Pumpkin Pie from Eat Drink and Be Vegan (pg. 188)


In the words of Colleen Patrick Goudreau, “As we prepare our feast of seasonal fare, may we recognize that we can celebrate tradition while honoring our own values of kindness and compassion, and may we rejoice in the plenty we have without causing harm to another.” 

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