A Cruelty-Free Day of Thanks

Let me start by saying that this post contains ZERO judgment or graphic animal cruelty videos. We are all at different states of awareness and rather than taking an extremist route by showing you heartbreaking clips or breaking down the cruelty (how it’s done), I’m going to share heartwarming stories, videos, and celebrate the brave souls (both human and animal)….AND there will be LOTS of recipe links, so be sure to read to the end.

Thanksgiving is a difficult time for me, as it is for most plant eaters. While the day itself is special, as it reminds me of the wonderful memories growing up with my family and sitting around the table at my grandparents house, the main attraction and kitchen time was based around the turkey. It’s estimated that 46 million turkeys are killed for Thanksgiving alone. FORTY-SIX MILLION. While it’s been 25 years since I’ve eaten meat, I know it still remains a huge part of the holiday. Why a turkey symbolizes a day of thanks is beyond me. I get super emotional this time of year because I DO know the evil process about how they’re raised, treated, and slaughtered to eventually be sold in stores. Have you ever been around a turkey? A living, breathing one? You might be surprised to learn that they’re very affectionate, intelligent beings. I’m including some happy videos of them.

And for those interested, you can also help by donating money to the Farm Sanctuary’s Adopt a Turkey project.

VIDEOS:

 

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I’m not sure if any of you follow Violet’s Veg*n e-comics, if you don’t here is a heartwarming comic she did that I loved reading with Willow:

vegan Christmas story

Big Blue Sky (A Christmas Story)

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R E C I P E S >>>>

I PROMISE you, a holiday without meat is 100% possible and whether you’re hosting, going to a potluck, or if you’re bringing your own food (just for you) to a gathering of mostly omnivores, I’ve got you covered (appetizers, sides, mains, desserts, kid-approved). So let’s dive in! The animals and your body will thank you…

All of the recipes linked here are gluten-free, vegan, and soy-free; a lot of them are oil-free as well. I could have included A LOT more recipes and narrowing them down was really hard!

APPETIZERS:

Creamy Artichoke Spinach Dip (without the junk) >> Plant Powered Kitchen >> This dish has made it’s way to family gatherings a few times and it has ALWAYS been a huge hit. Lick-the-bowl-clean kinda good. And it’s kid-approved! Great with chips, crackers, veggies, or even on pizza or a quesadilla!

Below is an old pic from when we made it and spread it on top of gluten-free flatbread.

 

Dairy Free Spinach Artichoke Dip >> Primally Inspired >> Replace the chicken broth with veggie broth and you’ve got yourself a vegan and AIP dip! We’ve got a lot of ideas running through our heads for appetizers, but I’m thinking this one will make an appearance at Thanksgiving!

 

Vegan Queso Blanco Dip (Mexican White Cheese Dip) >> Veggies Don’t Bite >> One of my very favorite dips/sauces before I had to eliminate nuts. I promise you, dairy loving folks will go crazy over this! We paired it with just about anything and everything – heck, you can even give your mashed potatoes a makeover with this HEAVENLY recipe! Ooooh! Or serve it with some crusty bread!

Photo credit: Sophia @ Veggies Don’t Bite

Vegan queso blanco dip (white Mexican cheese)

 

Lemon Cranberry & Pistachio Cashew Cheese Ball >> The Plant Philosophy >>  Another appetizer that was a huge hit at two of our family gatherings last year! Willow picked off the cranberries and pistachios (our silly, selective eater) but devoured the actual “cheese” and paired it with some gluten-free crackers. SO. GOOD.

Here’s a pic we took of it from our Christmas Day gathering last year…

A Cruelty-Free Day of Thanks

 

 

Smoky Roasted Red Pepper Cashew Dip >> Veggie Inspired >> Yet another FANTASTIC and super simple dip that will have your guests going back for seconds or asking for the recipe! Excellent with fresh veggies, crackers (or chips), or bread!

 

Below you’ll see that we paired it with roasted potato wedges…

A Cruelty-Free Day of Thanks

 

Life-Affirming Warm Nacho Dip (an Oh She Glows recipe featured on Plant-Powered Kitchen) >> If you own the Oh She Glows cookbook, you can also refer to this recipe there. We’ve made this for a few family gatherings and it was always the first dish to be devoured. SO good!!!

 

SALADS & SIDES:

Delicata Squash & Persimmon Salad >> Cadry’s Kitchen >> This recipe would be a perfect addition to your Thanksgiving menu! I love how unique this salad is and while I haven’t made it yet, I DO LOVE all of the ingredients. Besides, you’ll learn more about persimmons if you read Cadry’s post…I know I did!

Look at how beautifully Cadry presented it! So festive!

Photo Credit: Cadry @ Cadry’s Kitchen

Fluffy Vegan Buttermilk Mashed Potatoes >> The Vegan 8 >> We made these for Thanksgiving last year and oh, my! Fluffy, creamy, and gone in a flash. And you guys…they’re oil-free! I searched my computer for the photos of these amazing potatoes, but could not find them! So, below you’ll see a photo from Brandi’s blog.

Photo credit: Brandi @ The Vegan 8

Vegan Baked Oil-Free Hushpuppies >> The Vegan 8 >> I honestly couldn’t tell you how many times we’ve made these…four? Maybe five? I guess that just goes to show how incredible they are! All of my family members (even extended family) went crazy over these dangerously delicious, almost melt in your mouth biscuit-y goodies!

A Cruelty-Free Day of Thanks

 

Vegan, Gluten-Free Garlic Chive Dinner Muffins >> The Vegan 8 >> Another amazing recipe by Brandi! They would go perfectly with pretty much any main dish or salad!

Photo credit: Brandi @ The Vegan 8

 

Green Bean Quinoa Celery Salad >> Canned Time >> This beautiful salad, created by Angela, looks so festive – you could serve it at Thanksgiving or Christmas. I can just imagine the lovely balance of textures here, too – between the crunch of the celery and tender quinoa, I bet this is incredibly satisfying!

Photo credit: Angela @ Canned Time

Oil Free Holiday Options - Green Bean Quinoa Celery Salad

 

Marriage-worthy Roasted Brussels Sprouts >> Cake Maker >> These are just like the title states…marriage-worthy. You WILL LOVE them!! We’ve made these SO many times and as crazy as this sounds, I think we’re making these for Thanksgiving AND Jenn’s recipe for brussels (you’ll see the recipe below). What can I say, we LOVE Brussels sprouts!

A Cruelty-Free Day of Thanks

 

Sweet Potato & Herb Savory Muffins >> Feasting on Fruit >> I have not made these yet, but they’ve been on my list to try. I REALLY wish I wasn’t following an AIP diet right now!!!

Photo credit: Natalie @ Feasting on Fruit

Sweet Potato & Herb Savory Muffins | Vegan, Gluten-Free, Oil-Free

 

Rosemary White Beans (Zoes Kitchen Copycat) >> The Vegan 8 >> We actually made a meal out of these earlier this year and Willow even enjoyed them! Insanely creamy, full of flavor, and guilt-free. This savory dish would be a great addition to your Thanksgiving menu!

Below is a photo of these beans paired with sauteed kale + avocado slices.

A Cruelty-Free Day of Thanks

Peas with Scallions and Dill >> Veggies Don’t Bite >> You guys. I don’t like peas, but we made these for Thanksgiving two years ago and I actually ate (and enjoyed) some! They pair perfectly with mashed potatoes or any of the loaf recipes I’m linking below under “Mains” – this is a simple, yet flavorful dish!

Photo credit: Sophia @ Veggies Don’t Bite

Peas with scallions and dill

 

Smoky Maple Roasted Carrots >> Veggies Don’t Bite >> I love how pretty this dish looks! Very autumnal and comforting. While I’m not making this for next week, I plan to try it very soon!

Photo credit: Sophia @ Veggies Don’t Bite

Smoky Maple Roasted Carrots with Lemon Thyme Drizzle

 

Scalloped Potatoes >> Cruelty Free Family >> I debated putting this recipe under “Mains” because I’m pretty sure I’d be content with just a giant plate of this. Haha!! OK, confession…I haven’t tried this recipe (yet), but who can go wrong with cheesy potatoes AND without the guilt!

Photo Credit: @ Cruelty Free Family

potatoes1

Grain-Free Sage and Pecan Stuffing >> In Sonnet’s Kitchen >> I pinned this recipe quite some time ago, but haven’t tried it yet. Since I know a few of you are watching your grains intake, I wanted to include it here! I’d totally make it this year if I could eat nuts!!

MAINS:

Vegan Oat-Free Spicy BBQ Lentil Loaf >> The Vegan 8 >> My Mom made this last year for Thanksgiving and it was amazing!!! No one missed the turkey and if they did, they certainly didn’t let on. I happily enjoyed the leftovers, too!!

Photo credit: Brandi @ The Vegan 8

Butternut White Bean Puree w/ Roasted Brussels Sprouts >> Veggie Inspired >> Here’s the other Brussels sprouts recipe I mentioned earlier! SO good!! While I haven’t tried them with the Butternut purée, I can attest to that delicious glaze that goes along with this recipe and of course the brussels – the red onions are the perfect addition!

Photo Credit: Jenn @ Veggie Inspired

Butternut White Bean Purée w/ Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Shepard’s Pie Stuffed Acorn Squash >> The Plant Philosophy >> I have not tried this recipe yet, but we are making it for this Thanksgiving! I love squash so much AND potatoes, so I’m pretty excited. We’ll be making a couple of minor adjustments for my portion to keep it AIP friendly…I’m pretty sure you’ll be hearing more about this recipe in my November Favorites post coming soon!

Photo Credit: Margaret @ The Plant Philosophy

Shepard's Pie Stuffed Acorn Squash | Vegan, Oil-Free | The Plant Philosophy

 

Vegan Thanksgiving Power Bowl >> Feasting on Fruit >>  While I personally haven’t tried this recipe yet, there is A WHOLE LOTTA YUM in one bowl! Literally all of your Thanksgiving favorites in one bowl! Potatoes, cranberry sauce, “stuffing”, lentils, and greens. I’m a sucker for food thrown together in a bowl. Perfect for those attending a gathering where you’ll be the only vegan.

Photo credit: Natalie @ Feasting on Fruit

Vegan Thanksgiving Power Bowl - FeastingonFruit.com

Creamy Autumn Pumpkin Pasta >> Strength & Sunshine >> I have been SO anxious to try this recipe created by my sweet friend, Rebecca! Look at how comforting and dreamy this looks! Who needs turkey when you can have a bowl of this deliciousness??

Photo Credit: Rebecca @ Strength & Sunshine

Creamy Autumn Pumpkin Pasta | Strength and Sunshine @RebeccaGF666 A Creamy Autumn Pumpkin Pasta recipe that brings you all the healthy comfort of the season. Gluten-free, nut-free, and vegan, this easy & quick, savory seasonal dinner will warm your soul from the inside out!

Vegan Cauliflower Lentil Loaf >> Strength & Sunshine >> Yet another Thanksgiving-esque recipe! If my gut could be friends with cauliflower, I would absolutely make this for next week’s gathering. Definitely check out her recipe!!

Photo credit: Rebecca @ Strength & Sunshine

Vegan Cauliflower Lentil Loaf | Strength and Sunshine @RebeccaGF666 A hearty plant-based dinner idea that will satisfy even meat-eaters! A Vegan Cauliflower Lentil Loaf that mimics the classic meatloaf with no meat, gluten-free, nut-free, and soy-free! Get all your protein and veggies in this healthy recipe!

 

DESSERTS:

Autoimmune Paleo Apple Crisp >> The Curious Coconut >> I LOVE this recipe and I know that I already talked about it in my October Favorites blog post, but I’m mentioning it again because this is what I’m bringing for dessert next week for our family gathering.

 

Gluten-Free Vegan Caramel Crusted Pumpkin Loaf >> The Vegan 8 >> My Mom made this amazing recipe for last year’s Thanksgiving and it was a huge hit!

Again, another failed search in finding last year’s photos!

Photo credit: Brandi @ The Vegan 8

 

Gluten-Free Pumpkin Cream Pie >> The Plant Philosophy >> This was my contribution for last year’s Thanksgiving gathering – it was soooooooo good!

A Cruelty-Free Day of Thanks

 

Pumpkin Fudge Brownies (Vegan & Gluten-Free) >> Veggie Inspired >> Pumpkin + chocolate! Need I say more? These look AMAZING!! I’ve been meaning to make them for my family, but I’m sure I would cry because I can’t eat them right now. *Sigh* My list is growing longer by the minute and when I can eat “normally” again, I’ll be wishing we had more meals in a day!

Photo Credit: Jenn @ Veggie Inspired

Pumpkin Fudge Brownies

 

Vegan Pumpkin Creme Brulee >> Feasting on Fruit >> This was one of our favorite treats from last year…I think I made it three or four times ❤ Huge thumbs up from all of my family.

A Cruelty-Free Day of Thanks

 

Pumpkin Cheesecake >> Unconventional Baker >> How incredible does this look?!??? Audrey is the queen of gorgeous treats. While I haven’t had this specific one, I can tell you that ALL of the recipes I have tried were nothing short of amazing. She offers up two variations (one with a baked crust or a nutty, no bake one) – both look divine!

Photo credit: Audrey @ Unconventional Baker

Pumpkin Cheesecake {Free From: gluten & grains, dairy, eggs, and refined sugars}

 

Vegan Cinnamon Roll Pumpkin Pie >> The Vegan 8 >> Cinnamon. She had me at cinnamon. And the beautiful photos. Good lord! I feel like there needs to be a day for just Thanksgiving desserts because there are A TON of drool-worthy recipes here.

Photo credit: Brandi @ The Vegan 8

 

Vegan and Grain-Free Pumpkin Pie Cups >> Feasting on Fruit >> Pumpkin pies in mini form? Yes, please! These look so perfect and wait until you see the ingredient list! So simple!

Photo credit: Natalie @ Feasting on Fruit

Vegan & Grain-Free Pumpkin Pie Cups

 

Gooey Pumpkin Spice Latte Chocolate Pudding Cake >> Oh She Glows >> You can’t go wrong with an Oh She Glows recipe. I have yet to try one I didn’t fall in love with – so while I haven’t made this one yet, I’m pretty sure I’d enjoy it.

 

Mini Sweet Potato Pies with Maple Cashew Cream >> The Organic Dietitian >> How adorable and delicious do these look???! Mmmm!!! I’m a fan of any mini treats! And with sweet potato!

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So there you have it!! LOTS of delicious, cruelty-free recipes that could “wow” your guests, friends, family. Something for everyone.

 

 Happy (almost) Thanksgiving! I hope all of you have a wonderful holiday with family and friends.

Peace.

Love.

Happiness.

Gratitude.

 

28 thoughts on “A Cruelty-Free Day of Thanks

    • Hahaha!!! Ooops! Thanks for taking a break to give this post a read 😉 There are SO many recipes to choose from and over these last two weeks, while putting this all together, I kept adding/changing our menu! And since there is only going to be five adults + a four year old at our Thanksgiving celebration, I need to remember to keep it simple! I can’t wait to see what you’re making – are you hosting? Hope you have a wonderful holiday! ❤

      Like

    • Right??? I wanted to add a lot more, believe it or not – so many creative foodies out there making plant-based recipes! Hahaha! Me too!! Can you imagine??? 🙂 Of course!! We truly enjoy your recipes, Jenn! Hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving! ❤

      Like

  1. Wow, you have made me seriously hungry. After I leave this comment, it’s time for lunch ASAP. Thank you for including my salad! Such a nice surprise. Also, I’m glad for the reminder about Kittee’s Brussels sprouts. I meant to make them when she posted the recipe, and somehow they slipped my mind.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Haha!!! I felt like I was in a constant state of hunger while putting this post together! You are so welcome – that salad is gorgeous ❤ Oh, you are going to LOVE those brussels sprouts…they're a favorite in our house and even Willow eats some, which says a lot. I hope you have a lovely holiday, friend! xo

      Like

    • Yes!!! ❤ That's how it starts…showing them that plant-based isn't boring and pretty much anything can be veganized. It's all about healthy swaps 🙂 And goodness, you've got a lot of those on your site! xo

      Like

    • It was my pleasure! While I was typing this post up, I was reminded about just how much I love that queso dip of yours…give me that a bag of chips and I’d be one happy camper 😉 I’ll look forward to the day when I can eat that again! Thank you so much, mama! Same to you – I hope everything is going well – I’ve been keeping you and your family in my thoughts. LOTS of love ❤

      Like

  2. Wow! What a post! There’s so much in it – videos, a children’s story, tons of delicious-looking recipes – it’s a one-stop post for a fantastic Thanksgiving. I hope you had one, or are having one, a fantastic Thanksgiving I mean – has it been yet? Or is it still coming? Hope you enjoy(ed) it 😀

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  3. What a feast this would be, wonderful picks Mandy! For not just a cruelty free thanksgiving but a healthy one too 🙂 Thank you so much for including a couple of mine, and wishing you a lovely Thanksgiving ❤

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    • Can you imagine if you had a gathering SO big that all of these dishes were there? Including the desserts? MMMM, it was SO hard to put a stop to adding recipes…I could have added tons more and more of yours…you have a lot of Thanksgiving-like treats. I hope you have a wonderful holiday with family…I can’t wait to hear/see what you make. Love to you, friend! ❤

      Like

    • If you lived closer, there would be an open invitation to come over! Ah, wouldn’t that be amazing??? Lots of love to you, sweet friend! XO ❤

      Like

  4. Oh my gosh woman, I’m drooling all over the place, thanks a lot, LOL!! Wow, I’m so incredibly touched and honored you included so many of mine! I remember you and your mom making so many of these last year and the others as well and I’m so very grateful that you shared all of these with your readers. Thank you!! I have made Sophia’s white cheese dip and can attest to how delicious it is! I’ve made it multiple times actually and now that I think about it, it’s time again, lol! Everything looks so good on the list and you did a great roundup! Happy Thanksgiving my friend! I will talk to you soon over email! xoxo

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    • Hahahaha! Well, my dear, you have SO many wonderful recipes, most of which I can vouch for their deliciousness, so it was a given that I’d be linking lots of your stuff here! I can’t tell you how bummed I am now that the holidays are upon us and I can’t eat grains or nuts…because that means I’m not making one (or more) of your creations. My list is insanely LONG now and it’s going to be a struggle when the day comes and I can eat “normally” again! Decisions, decisions!!! 😉
      Right? That white cheese dip is heaven. Thank you, friend! I’m wishing you a wonderful Thanksgiving and give that sweet, beautiful family of yours SO much love from me! XOXOXO ❤

      Like

  5. What a wonderful post Mandy ❤ I love the turkey videos! And all the recipes, oh my goodness. I'm saving a bunch for my Christmas cooking,
    xo and i hope you have a lovely Thanksgiving
    Tara

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  6. Wow, what an amazing lineup of great holiday recipes! I wish I had seen this before Thanksgiving, I would have been much more well-equipped! I appreciate and can relate to your sentiments about being vegan on Thanksgiving (and the holiday season in general)… yes, it can be so challenging and saddening to think about the unnecessary treatment of animals for the purpose of people “giving thanks” during their turkey dinner. I always feel my heart getting heavy during the holiday season as well, feeling as though there’s nothing I can do to help. But, every day that we choose a plant-based diet, we are helping in more ways than we realize! Just have to remember the positives. 🙂
    I hope you and your family enjoyed the holiday! ❤

    Marne

    Like

  7. Loved seeing all these recipes! I bookmarked a few of them for the holidays! The videos you posted i’ve seen one of them and loved it so thanks for sharing!

    Like

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