How to have a very vegan Thanksgiving

Whether you agree with Thanksgiving’s history or not, we can all agree on one thing: stuffing our face holes with mashed potatoes. I mean, really, on what other day can you ditch your diet and stuff your belly in the name of ‘Merica? Whether you’re a level-99 vegan, or you just want to give a turkey a break this Thanksgiving, here’s a few tips to make sure you have a very vegan Thanksgiving.

1. You don’t have to eat faux turkey.

Vegetables Wellington (The Ultimate Vegan Plant-Based Holiday Roast)
Image via J. Kenji Lopez-Alt

Although the faux turkey biz has come a long way in taste and options, you don’t need to limit yourself to vegan turkey for Thanksgiving’s main dish. From this savory butternut squash recipe filled with wild rice and onion stuffing, to this filling vegan holiday roast, your options this season are bountiful.

However, if you do want a more familiar dish as a centerpiece, stop by your local grocer for vegan turkey alternatives usually made from soy or wheat protein. Check out Peta2’s post for some of the top turkey alternatives, like Trader Joe’s Turkey-Less Stuffed Roast.

2. Anything omnivores can make, you can make vegan.

avocado, fruit, seed, food, healthy

Fancy your grandmother’s mashed potato recipe, but not a fan of the heaping spoonfuls of butter and cream? Just use a vegan equivalent.

In place of milk, try cashew, almond, flax, soy, coconut, or hemp milk. Almond and soy milk are the easiest to find in grocery stores. If you’re using vegan milk in cooking, opt for a flavorless kind — vanilla mashed potatoes shouldn’t be a thing.

Need a vegan egg substitute? Use an avocado, banana, or more when baking. This handy little chart might help.

Butter? Check. Creamer? Mashed beans, avocados, and more work wonders.

Cheese? While there are tons of vegan cheese alternatives, many shredded, Follow Your Heart’s Vegan Gourmet Mozzarella is my all-time favorite. Watch out for “lactose-free” cheeses that aren’t necessarily vegan because they contain animal proteins such as casein, like the brand Almond Cheese and some kinds of Go Veggie.

3.  When in doubt, join a vegan potluck or start your own!

If you want all the delicious spoils without slaving over the kitchen all day, join Tampa Bay’s 10th annual ThanksVegan feast from 1:30-4:30 p.m. at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Tampa for giant vegan potluck celebration. Just pay about $20 at the door, or bring your own vegan dish to share with 8+ people and pay on $7.

If you’re not fortunate enough to be in Tampa for ThanksVegan, look for meetups in your area, or start your own!

4. Rock the side dishes.

Vegan mac ‘n’ cheese
Image via Jamie Oliver

Side dishes are the best part of Thanksgiving. (This is not up for debate.)

Here are a few of my favorite classic side-dish recipes perfect for the holidays:

Vegan Mac ‘N’ Cheese from Jamie Oliver

Vegan Mashed Potatoes from Tablespoon

Simple Vegan Stuffing from The Minimalist Baker

Vegan Chickpeas Gravy from Skinny Ms.

3-Ingredient Cranberry Sauce from Post Punk Kitchen

Hasselback Apples from Oh She Glows

5. Sign this petition.

Turn Thanksgiving on its head by signing this petition that urges Tyson, one of the largest if not the largest poultry producers, to adopt a meaningful animal welfare policy.

6. Make a new notch in your belt.

With so much good vegan food this Thanksgiving, you’re going to need it. Better yet, who needs pants? If the Tampa weather wants to pretend it’s still summer, I’m wearing a dress to the table. Or maybe a Snuggie; are those still a thing?

What’s your favorite veg dish for the holidays?

Image via Paige Butterfield (

Review — Chipotle Sofritas: Holy guacamole, flavor, and sodium

Image via Paige Butterfield (
Image via Paige Butterfield (

Note: I was paid in “So-free-tas” to review this product on my blog. However, all opinions about the product are my own.

The Veg Verdict — Sofritas


At about $6.50, you can get enough food for lunch and dinner (and with my nutrition review below, you probably will want to split it up that way … )


It’s Chipotle. Meaning, quick food with a “you-pick” style in a clean environment. The service is fast, but if you come in around lunchtime you might want to bring a tent — the lines are massive.


Flavorful with a little kick from the adobo, Sofritas are little nuggets of joy throwing a fiesta in my mouth.


Organic Tofu (Soybeans, Calcium Sulfate, Water), Roasted Tomatoes, Onions, Bell and Poblano Peppers, Chipotle Chile, Rice Bran Oil, Cumin, Garlic, Oregano, Black Pepper, Tomato Paste, Red Wine Vinegar, Salt.

I can’t tell you how happy I am that I recognize all of these ingredients, including organic tofu to boot! You go Chipotle.


With 555 mg of sodium in just one serving of Sofritas, you’re over a quarter of your daily intake of sodium.

Top that with guacamole for an additional 375 mg, and god forbid you get salad dressing at a whopping 850 mg of sodium.

However, the Sofritas do provide 8 grams of protein and 17% of your daily intake of both calcium and iron. The above-average sodium content won’t be as abominable if you stick to brown rice (195 mg sodium) instead of white rice (345 mg of sodium). Skip the chips to dodge an extra 520 calories and 420 mg of sodium — yikes. (Then again, this is easier said than done.)

// Chipotle Menu //
Look for the green “V” for vegan options, including all of the beans, veggies, tortillas, salsa, guacamole, and chips.



Image via Paige Butterfield (


Before the other day, I’d never tried Sofritas. Why? Probably because I’m a creature of habit. And probably because I’m cheap; by getting a Veggie Bowl, I save a few cents and get free guacamole. (And I’m all about that guacamole. I’ve been known to frequent Chipotle just for their guac, that is, until they shared their super secret recipe)

However, after trying the little nuggets of braised tofu, Sofritas might be my new habit.

The Sofritas themselves are flavorful, with ingredients like chipotle pepper, dried onion, garlic, tomato, and cumin. It’s no wonder that the word “Sofrito” means a fragrant blend of herbs and spices used often in Spanish, Portuguese, and Latin American cooking.

However, once you pile on all of the toppings, like guacamole, salsa, and veggies, it’s difficult to distinguish the different flavors. In fact, my Sofritas Bowl tasted a whole lot like the Veggie Bowl I usually get, except slightly better because it was free. However, the Sofritas wins based on the fill-me-up factor, so that I didn’t scarf down the entire bowl in one sitting. Which, I had no woes about doing previous to my nutritional intake inspection.

Ah, the nutritional information. The ingredients are wonderful — outstanding, even. I’m impressed that a quick food-service was able to say “no” to the trending “unnatural this” and “additive that” to create real food with real ingredients.

However, Chipotle’s use of salt is borderline barbaric. Like I described above, a Chipotle meal (whether it be burrito, rice bowl, or salad bowl,) really shouldn’t be consumed in one sitting. Brown rice is always a better choice over white because it’s less processed and has less salt, and it’s best to say “no thanks” to the chips. But, if you’re anything like me, you’ll pretend you didn’t see the nutritional information and continue scooping up your meal with as many chips as it takes. Extra guac, please.

What’s your favorite Chipotle combination?