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Plant-Based Thanksgivings: Redefining Traditions and Recipes


November 30, 2023

Thanksgiving is a great time of year for coming together and expressing thanks to your friends and family, but this year, many are also looking to redefine the traditional Thanksgiving dinner. Plant-based diets have been gaining a lot of attention in recent years, and this Thanksgiving is no exception. This article will explore the rise of plant-based Thanksgiving traditions and recipes, as well as their potential benefits and drawbacks.

Now, even though Thanksgiving day has passed, many are still gathering with their friends and family for Friendsgivings! So continue reading for everything you need to know about transitioning to a plant-based Thanksgiving!

Image Credit: Ella Olsson

What is a Plant-Based Diet?

Many people associate the term “plant-based” with veganism, but that isn't necessarily the truth. A plant-based diet is any diet that focuses on foods derived from plants, including vegetables, whole grains, legumes, nuts, seeds, and fruits, with few or no animal products. But that doesn't mean that veganism is the definition of a plant-based diet.

There are many kinds of plant-based diets. Some people combine plant ingredients with animal products such as eggs or honey, while others exclude all foods that have animal products.

Image Credit: Ella Olsson

Pros of a Plant-Based Diet

Like every diet, there are both pros and cons to plant-based diets. But overall, there are many benefits of having a plant-based diet. From health advantages to environmental benefits, there are many reasons to include more plant-based foods in your diet. Listed below are some advantages to choosing a plant-based diet.

Improves Your Health

Overall, a plant-based diet is much more beneficial for your health than other diets because it is high in fiber, vitamins, minerals, and other essential nutrients. On average, a plant-based diet is also lower in unhealthy fats, cholesterol, and animal proteins than other diets. Eating a plant-based diet can reduce the risk of developing diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, and some cancers. Eating plant-based foods can also help maintain a healthy weight and provide more energy. Plus, since plant-based diets are typically high in antioxidants, they can help reduce inflammation and protect against stress.

Helps the Environment

Another advantage of plant-based diets is that they help the environment. And who doesn't want to help the environment, while eating good food? Studies have found that a plant-based diet can help the environment in a variety of ways.

Firstly, plant diets can reduce the amount of emissions that come from the production of meats as well as reduce the amount of land and water needed to produce the food. Plus, Plant-based diets also require fewer resources to produce and can help reduce water pollution from animal agriculture. Additionally, plant-based diets can help reduce deforestation, as fewer trees need to be cut down to produce animal feed.

Image Credit: Edgar Castrejon

Cons of a Plant-Based Diet

No diet is perfect and as mentioned there are some disadvantages to eating a plant-based diet. The main disadvantages of a plant-based diet include:

Hard to Maintain

One of the big disadvantages of becoming plant-based is that it can be hard to maintain your diet all the time. Although plant-based diets are becoming increasingly popular, vegan and other plant-based products aren't widely available around the globe. This can make it very difficult to stick to your plant-based diet.

Plus, in certain areas, eating out can be challenging for people with unique diets since many restaurants don't offer vegan and vegetarian options. And lastly, finding plant-based recipes can also be a challenge, as the recipes often require special ingredients that may not be readily available at your local grocery store or farmer's market.

Low in Protein

Another major disadvantage of plant-based diets is that they are often low in protein, which is essential for your body, especially your muscles. Plant-based proteins often lack one or more of the essential amino acids, so they can't provide the same level of protein as animal proteins. Also, plant-based proteins may not be as easily absorbed by the body, leading to less overall protein being used by the body.

Image Credit: Ella Olsson

Plant-Based Recipes:

Now it's time for the best part! Even though a traditional Thanksgiving meal contains a lot of meat (from ham to turkey), that doesn't mean that you can't have a plant-based Thanksgiving dinner. Keep reading for 3 easy and delicious plant-based Thanksgiving dishes!

Vegan Meatloaf

One of the dishes I ate for Thanksgiving was vegan meatloaf and it was delicious! Not only is a plant-based meatloaf much healthier for you, but they taste great. Vegan meatloafs are a simple and healthy alternative to traditional meat-based meatloaf.

They're made with wholesome plant-based ingredients such as lentils, mushrooms, chickpeas, or oats, and they are full of protein and fiber. Plus, plant-based meatloafs are pretty easy to make and can be served as a main dish for a plant-based Thanksgiving meal or any other occasion! Click on the link below for a vegan meatloaf recipe.

Vegan Meatloaf - Nora Cooks

Vegan Pumpkin Pie

Another tasty plant-based dish is vegan pumpkin pie. I baked a vegan pumpkin pie over the break and it couldn't have been easier. Vegan pumpkin pies taste very similar to “regular” pumpkin pies, just with tropical coconut undertones due to the coconut milk.

But overall, vegan pumpkin pies are a great alternative to traditional pumpkin pies. Not only is it free from animal products, but it is also often lower in calories and fat. To make a plant-based pumpkin pie you can use coconut milk, cashews, and maple syrup, which are all healthier and more nutrient-dense than traditional ingredients like heavy cream and refined sugar. Plus, plant-based pumpkin pie can be enjoyed by anyone, regardless of dietary restrictions, making it a great option for Thanksgiving!

Vegan Pumpkin Pie - It Doesn't Taste Like Chicken

Image Credit: Cove Johnson Rabidoux

Stuffed Squash

Lastly, stuffed squash is a filling and inviting plant-based dish. The combination of roasted squash, flavorful stuffing, and aromatic seasonings creates a warming and nourishing dish that will delight your taste buds and leave you feeling full. Plus, it's a great way to add more variety and color to your Thanksgiving dinner, while still enjoying a hearty and delicious meal.

Whether you're a vegan, vegetarian, or simply looking to try something new, vegan stuffed squash is a must-try dish that will impress your friends and family. Click on the link below for a stuffed squash recipe.

Stuffed Squash - Skinnytaste

Image Credit: Megumi Nachev

There are several reasons why people are making the switch to plant-based diets, such as health benefits, environmental concerns, and animal welfare. But no matter their reasoning, there's no doubt that more and more people are going plant-based, whether vegan or pescatarian, which is why it's important to consider the diets of your friends and families and to try new plant-based recipes. With the 3 plant-based dishes listed above, you can create a flavorful and satisfying Thanksgiving meal that everyone can enjoy and that doesn't rely on meat or dairy products. Let's get cooking!

Cove Johnson Rabidoux
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Cove Johnson Rabidoux is a writer whose work can be found on Teen Ink, The Teen Magazine, The Spearhead Magazine, the Hot Pot Magazine, Leaders Across the World, and on her blog titled Blue Pencil Writing. She serves as an editor for the Trailblazer Literary Magazine, Hot Pot Magazine, and Cathartic Youth Magazine, and more. When she is not writing her novel, Cove enjoys reading, traveling, and baking.