November 24, 2021

Benefits of a Vegan Thanksgiving

The Pilgrims may not agree with a vegan thanksgiving (back in 1621, I’m guessing, this was the least of their problems), however, historians believe the first Thanksgiving included many fruits and vegetables including onions, beans, lettuce, spinach, cabbage, carrots and perhaps peas, corn and blueberries, plums, grapes, gooseberries, raspberries and, of course cranberries. Perhaps the Pilgrims were onto something, anyway.

Vegan Thanksgivings have been around (remember Tofurkey?!). With more people choosing a healthy vegan lifestyle, it’s more widely accepted to avoid the turkey and try some new dishes. I guarantee you won’t even miss the turkey.

Why a Vegan Thanksgiving

Before we get into what to serve at a vegan Thanksgiving, let’s talk about why. Most people don’t understand how easy it is to go vegan and how many great food options there are, and yes, plant-based diets have plenty of protein, despite the meat industry’s advertising to convince us otherwise.

Awareness of proper food-based solutions is critical and a key component to confronting major health issues, according to the authors of a groundbreaking, science-backed book, Mastering Diabetes.

“Studies show that eating a diet high in fatty foods can cause fat particles to build up inside our cells,” The authors state. “These fat particles interfere with insulin’s ability to move sugar out from our bloodstream and into our cells. Instead of powering our cells, the glucose remains in our bloodstream, eventually leading to diabetes. A plant-based diet is low in fat, which allows insulin to function properly.”

In addition to taking on diabetes (and other health issues), veganism also confronts climate change.

Sixteen-year-old climate activist became a global sensation fighting climate change. Less known is that she follows a plant-based diet. “You cannot stand up for human rights while you are living that lifestyle,” she said.

The bottom line–vegan diets are better for you, better for the climate, and therefore better for the world.

Reliable Sources agree that Veganism:

  • Treat or reverse other current health conditions by avoiding processed meat vegans have lower rates of cancer, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, strokes, and even Alzheimer’s. They also lower your risk for heart disease and type 2 diabetes, which truly proves what I have been saying “food is medicine.”
  • Helps you enjoy a healthy BMI and have less body fat besides being higher in fat, meat can also contain chemicals like growth hormones
  • Saves the planet. Each day, a person who eats a vegan diet saves 1,100 gallons of water, 45 pounds of grain, 30 sq ft of forested land, 20 lbs CO2 equivalent, and one animal’s life.
  • Confronts world hunger. Humans worldwide are negatively impacted by the demand for meat. 50% of grains worldwide are being eaten by animals in the industries… while 82% of children living next to livestock are starving.
  • Meat, eggs and dairy products increase the likelihood of disease, as they are often the carriers of bacteria, antibiotics and toxins that cause serious health problems.

Vegan Thanksgiving Food Ideas

As you think about your upcoming Thanksgiving meal–perhaps especially since the times being what they are, large family gatherings may not be in your best health–consider experimenting this year with a vegan menu.

I’m not a chef. I don’t create recipes or host a vegan cooking show (though it would be fun!), but I do pull from resources just like you do, online, with easy to follow instructions that I can make.

Here are some you might consider this year.

Roasted Fall Squash Salad

Author: Maura Mark @Healingwithinreach

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 35 minutes

Total Time: 65 minutes

Yield: 4 servings as a side dish


3 Whole Small Fall Organic Squash (approximately 1 lb each)

3 Tablespoons Olive Oil

1 Tablespoon Ground Black Pepper

1 Tablespoon Ground Fennel Seeds

4 Sprigs Thyme

Salt to taste


1 medium shallot


8 Cloves of Garlic Peeled

2 Tablespoons Dijon Mustard

2 Tablespoons Lemon Juice

Salt to taste

6 oz. Olive Oil


4 Tablespoons Chopped Parsley

6 – 8 oz. Vegan Ricotta – I like Kite Hill Brand

Toasted squash seeds and optional toasted slivered almonds


Pre heat oven to 400°. Cut the Squash into natural shaped pieces, you can leave the skins on small organic squash or peel it if that suits you better. When cleaning the squash save the seeds in a small bowl for the toasted seeds. Toss all the pieces in a mixing bowl with the remaining ingredients for roasted squash then place onto a parchment lined baking sheet and bake in 400° oven until golden brown and cooked through. Let cool at room temperature.


Adjust Oven heat to 300°. Once all the seeds are removed from the squash, rinse them under water and remove all the squash pieces from each seed and pat dry with kitchen towel. Toast the squash seeds with salt and pepper on parchment lined baking sheets until golden brown. Optional: separately toast ½ c. of slivered almonds and add both seeds to garnish the salad.


Peel Shallot and slice into 1/8 inch rings then place in small saucepan. Sauté with a little water or broth just until translucent. Set aside.


Place the garlic cloves and oil into the smallest pan you have, gently simmer the oil until the cloves of garlic are cooked and soft then place into the fridge to cool. Once cooled, separate the garlic cloves from the oil. Place the garlic cloves, dijon mustard and lemon juice into a small blender and puree until smooth. Slowly emulsify the oil into the vinaigrette base, season with salt to finish.


Toss the squash pieces in a mixing bowl with the garlic vinaigrette and chopped parsley. Arrange the squash on a serving platter, place small spoonfuls of ricotta on top followed by a generous sprinkling of the almonds, squash seeds, and shallots. Enjoy!


  • 3 tablespoons | 45 ml olive oil
  • 1 large clove garlic, minced
  • 6 cups | 300 grams stale, gluten free + vegan bread cut into bite sized chunks
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt


  • 1 tablespoon | 15 ml olive oil
  • 3 large stalks celery, chopped
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 large carrot, diced
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoon thyme, chopped
  • 1 tablespoons sage, chopped
  • 1/2 cup | 65 grams walnuts, roughly chopped
  • 2 cups | 480 ml vegetable stock



  1. Pre-heat oven to 400° F/200° C. Lightly grease a large baking sheet.
  2. Spread the chopped bread pieces across the baking sheet. Add the minced garlic to the bread, drizzle in the olive oil and then toss the bread in the mixture to coat.
  3. Transfer baking sheet to oven and bake for 10-15 minutes, or until the bread is crispy and golden. Turn the sheet halfway through to ensure even cooking.
  4. After removing the croutons from the oven, keep the oven on but reduce the oven temperature to 350°F/175° C


  1. Warm 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large pan or skillet on a medium-low heat. When the oil is warm, add the chopped celery, onions and salt. Sauté for 3-4 minutes until onions soften.
  2. Add diced carrots and garlic to skillet, cook for another 2 minutes. Stir in the pepper, chopped herbs/walnuts and turn off heat.
  3. Lightly grease 9 x 13 roasting dish. Add the stuffing mixture and the croutons to the roasting dish, toss to combine. Add the chicken stock to the stuffing mixture before tossing again. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed.
  4. Transfer the roasting dish to pre-heated oven and bake uncovered for 30-40 minutes. If you like your stuffing on the dryer, crunchier side cook closer to the 40 minute mark. If you prefer stuffing with a little more mush/moisture cook around 30 minutes.

Recipe adapted from Bon Appétit

If you try these, please take a picture, post to Instagram or Facebook and tag me @drsherrigreene. I’d love to celebrate your healthier approach to Thanksgiving with you!

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