If you’re vegan, as I assume many of you readers are, you know that finding ways to eat during the holidays is always a struggle. You also know that certain members of your family don’t understand or even respect your new dietary and ethical decisions. In the 21st century, for better or worse, many of us find the support we seek from our families in our friends. Enter Friendsgiving, a term that popped up somewhere around 2009 and exploded in popularity in 2015. We don’t know where it came from, but it’s an alternate way to celebrate Thanksgiving if you’re away from family, don’t get along with them, or just need some extra support.
Now being vegan, working on this year’s friendsgiving will probably find you buying recipe books and doing countless Google searches, trying to find as many possible ways to enjoy food how you used to without breaking your dietary restrictions. But you don’t have to do it alone, and you can still stay creative as you enter this holiday season.
Here are some recommendations for organizing the best vegan Friendsgiving you can this year. You can rest assured that you’ll be full and well fed, as well as joyful, surrounded by the support and community of your friends.
Some ol’ meal, different formula
As with all radical changes, they require more adaptations than fresh new starts. You don’t have to give up traditional thanksgiving meals in spirit — you just have to adapt them. For instance, I love pumpkin pie and green bean casserole. Heck, I love turkey. But now I search for ways to enjoy the same meals with different recipes — vegan recipes.
For instance, in place of turkey, I opt for a holiday roast by a brand called Gardein. This year I’ll also be making vegan butter rolls with a recipe I got online. It’s not about starting from scratch, it’s about changing how we do things. And this idea of life innovation follows me everywhere else. Since I started a vegan diet, I’ve made other healthy lifestyle changes as well, adapting every part of my life according to more ethical stances and healthy life choices.
Friendsgiving has the name “friends” in it, so everyone should contribute. I like to look at it the same way you would a potluck — everyone brings something for everyone. My friend Mandy is bringing the salad, and my friend Dave is bringing the vegan chilli, for instance. We plan on getting a group of about 8-10 of us, each bringing something different.
Additionally, if you set the rules to be vegan or vegetarian, you should trade recipes with everyone afterward. It’s a way to grow your list of options when trying to transition to this diet in a world where that’s not super encouraged. Definitely worth your time!
Moving Forward to Other Holidays and Get-Togethers
I studied sustainability in college and something I always think about is how bad the meat industry is for the environment. With every meal I make, I try to think of new ways to reinvent non vegan foods to better the world around me, and after studying for Friendsgiving this year I’m already thinking of how to adapt some of these recipes to my Christmas meals.
I’ll probably use the same vegan butter to make my boyfriend his birthday pastry coming up, and the vegan turkey for when my mom comes to visit on Easter. It’s a way we can share in some of the same things together while introducing her to something I find important.
What are your favorite vegan recipes for Friendsgiving and other holidays? Let me know in the comments below!
Photo taken by Helen Alfvegren, found on Flickr.