Your Vegan-Friendly Thanksgiving Secret Ingredient
Because friends and family often bring expectations to the table, thanksgiving can be a difficult time of year for anyone. If you're hosting vegan relatives over the holidays, are new to being vegan, are trying to eat less meat, have heard about the many benefits of plant-based alternatives, or just want to try something different, it is not unusual to be intimidated by the holiday.
You might be surprised to learn that the lonely winter squash that arrived in your fall CSA box could be the ace up your sleeve this thanksgiving.
There are thousands of vegan-friendly recipes that use these sweet, orange-fleshed squashes, and the team at Kardish has collected eight of our favourites below. Your guests will find that the festive colours and flavours of these small gourds are perfectly suited to thanksgiving dinner, and they are surprisingly simple to prepare!
Keep in mind that if you stumble on a great recipe for acorn squash—but only have carnival squash or buttercup squash on hand—you should not be afraid to experiment! While squashes have a range of flavours and textures, you can almost always use sweet winter squashes interchangeably.
That said, if you aren't confident in the kitchen, and are concerned that you might accidentally substitute spaghetti squash into a pumpkin pie, Foodsubs has a handy cheat sheet for common winter squash varieties.
*Does your stuffing need to be vegan and gluten-free? Try substituting any thanksgiving recipe that calls for breadcrumbs with Silver Hills' Sprouted Grain Breads.
Improvising with non-vegan recipes:
You may stumble across a great vegetarian recipe for winter squash... that isn't quite vegan on paper. The three most common trouble ingredients you will find are going to be milk, butter, and honey. Luckily, these are also the three easiest ingredients to substitute in these dishes.
- Milk: For those who avoid dairy, we have more choices than ever! In savoury recipes, any unsweetened and unflavoured plant milk should work well as a 1:1 substitution for cow's milk—though you may get unexpected results using sweet milks flavoured with chocolate or vanilla. Try Unsweetened Coconut Almond Breeze, which tastes slightly smoother and creamier than almond milk alone.
- Butter: When it comes to substituting butter in a recipe, your two best options will be to use coconut oil or Earth Balance. Substituting coconut oil for butter will work reliably in savoury dishes, and a direct substitution will work for most Thanksgiving recipes. If have a recipe that requires a light pastry, try Earth Balance's Buttery Sticks.
- Honey: Recipes with winter squash will often call for a honey glaze to highlight the squash's own sweetness. Luckily, we carry several bee-free options for replacing honey. For fans of maple, try using a light maple syrup. If you are concerned that the maple will overpower or distract from the dish, blue agave syrup has a more neutral, slightly malty flavour.
A note on CSA Boxes:
Are you interested in a Community Supported Agriculture box to help get you through the winter season? You might not have known that our Glebe, Westboro, and Merivale stores are pick-up locations for Bluegrass Farm's CSA box , while our Orleans store is a pickup location for the Our Little Farm CSA Box. Both farms provide squash during the fall season.
Do you have a favourite variety of winter squash, or a vegan-friendly thanksgiving recipe that we didn’t mention? The Kardish team always reads replies to our articles on Facebook, Twitter, and the comments below.