Thanksgiving is just about here. You know, that one day a year where we break out our stretchy pants and stuff our faces until we’re on the verge of suffocation. More importantly, the day is about giving thanks surrounded by the ones you love. As we crowd around the dinner table with our family and friends, those who desire a vegan Thanksgiving often are left with little to no options. Nearly all the dishes are laced with chicken stock or turkey which are obvious no-nos. Of course, no one should be obligated to cater to those who stick by a plant-based way of eating. At the same time, it wouldn’t hurt to find a happy medium and include vegan dishes along with the staple, non-vegan ones. I scoured the internet for scrumptious recipes both carnivores and herbivores can pig out on this Thanksgiving. They are jam-packed with nutrients for a less guilty indulgence. Enjoy!
Number Five: Oven-Roasted Brussel Sprouts
It seems like many people either love Brussels sprouts or want to secretly slip them into the trash can. If you happen to be a part of the former group like me, you should check out the recipe for these oven-roasted Brussels sprouts. It might be a simple side dish, but it packs a ton of flavor and nutrients. The slight sweetness and tanginess of the balsamic vinegar complement the warm, rich taste of the sprouts. Plus, polyphenols in this variety of vinegar hinder oxidation of the cholesterol that blocks arteries, LDL cholesterol. And let’s not forget all the health perks found in Brussels sprouts- 247% of your daily value of vitamin k (in only one cup mind you), high amounts of fiber, and large doses of folate, just to name a few.
Number Four: Vegan Pumpkin Pie.
There is one thing turkey eaters and veg-heads can agree on: No Thanksgiving is complete without pumpkin pie. This vegan pumpkin pie recipe not only appeals to vegans but also to those with celiac or gluten sensitivities as it requires gluten-free flour for the crust. While pie is generally far from a health food, it’s worth noting that pumpkins are loaded with vitamin A, which supports immunity along with eye and teeth health. Also, this recipe, in particular, calls for a mix of cloves, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg, all of which have strong anti-inflammatory properties. So go ahead- don’t feel guilty about that second slice, your body might just thank you for it!
Number Three: Lemony Green Beans.
Green beans often make an appearance at the Thanksgiving table, however, normally in heavy, dairy-drenched casseroles. Lemony green beans serve as a refreshing break from all the other weighty sides. Rather than soaking in butter, lemon juice and grated lemon rind (which actually carries 5 to 10 times more the vitamins than the juice) coat these flavonoid-rich veggies that decrease heart disease risk. Plus, this recipe requires fresh green beans rather than canned ones. No vegetable is worse than green beans from a can, yuck! Move on over greasy, unhealthy casserole- delicious and nutritious green beans coming through!
Number Two: Sweet Potato Casserole With a Crunchy Nut Crumble.
Speaking of casseroles, this take on the comforting classic offers a whole host of health advantages minus the refined sugar you’ll find in other sweet potato recipes. One really neat trait sweet potatoes possess is their low-glycemic ranking, scoring an average of 70 on the glycemic index. In other words, these taters won’t spike your blood sugar because their sugars enter the bloodstream slowly. Any sweet food that won’t give me a major sugar crash is for me! Just when it couldn’t seem tastier, the nut crumble loaded with healthy fats from pecans, almond flour, and coconut oil layers the top of the casserole, providing a crispy contrast from the soft sweet potatoes: talk about yum!
Number One: Wild Rice & Mushroom Stuffing.
Who said stuffings had to include bread? It definitely wasn’t someone who has encountered this not-so-traditional but far heartier wild rice & mushroom stuffing. Swapping out white bread filled with empty calories and using fiber-rich wild rice that helps your digestion is a brilliant move alone. But the recipe doesn’t stop there. Mushrooms clearly play a key role in this meal, which does a great service to our well-being since they’re rich in iron and aid in preventing breast and prostate cancer. I could spend hours going over each health benefit all of the ingredients in this side dish provide. Nevertheless, I won’t do this because my mouth is watering too much and I prefer to spend that time cooking this heavenly dish.