Give your turkey the day off: plant based alternatives for Thanksgiving dinner


Fall is in the air and my second most favorite holidays is this month.  Like everyone,  I am thankful each day of the year I thought of doing something a little different this year for our family dinner.  A plant based Thanksgiving dinner.  let see what you think of these recipes. 


There has been an emerging trend in 2019 towards plant based diets and finding alternatives to eating meat. The holidays are a great time of year to experiment with some new recipes to add a new flavour to the classic Thanksgiving dinner. 


1. Squash the Turkey: For a healthy and environmentally friendly option, replace the turkey with roasted squashes (warning- this might really shock your family at first but they will be calling you the next Jamie Oliver after the first bite). You can use your same stuffing recipe (replace any meat used in the recipe with mushrooms... so delicious with the squash).

Here’s how to do it: 

  1. Cut open the squash and remove its seeds and guts. Lightly drizzle the squash with olive oil, rosemary and sage and roast in the oven at 350°F for 30 minutes or until it is tender.
  2. Make the stuffing of your choice and instead of cooking it in the turkey,  cook your stuffing in a covered casserole dish to keep it moist.
  3. Once the squash and stuffing has finished cooking then put the stuffing in the hollowed out squash and serve, eat and enjoy! 

2. Thankful for steaks: No one can argue with you for giving the turkey the boot when you are serving steaks (portobello mushroom steaks, surprise!) Portobello mushroom steaks are so easy to make and you will save yourself a day of toiling away in a hot kitchen while periodically prodding a 20lb turkey.  Here’s how to do it:

  1. Buy as many portobello mushrooms as there are guests (plus a few more for seconds) and remove the core of each mushroom (save these to fry up for breakfast post Thanksgiving).
  2. Make up a simple vinaigrette or balsamic vinegar, olive oil, dijon mustard and minced garlic. Leave the mushrooms to marinate for a few hours.
  3. Broil the mushrooms in the oven on high for a few minutes each side and serve warm. Add goat cheese and pecans if desired.

3. Keep it saucy: If you want to keep your turkey this year but want to make a small change, try replacing your gravy with mushroom gravy. Here’s how you can make it yourself:

1/2 lb mushrooms (white or brown), sliced

1 Tbsp olive oil

2 Tbsp unsalted butter

2 Tbsp all-purpose flour

1/2 cup veggie stock

1 cup milk/ your choice of plant based milk (we recommend almond milk)

A pinch of salt and pepper 


  1. Heat a large skillet with oil over medium heat and add mushrooms once hot.
  2. Add the butter and flour, stir until there are no chunks.
  3. Pour in the veggie stock and milk, stir until thick then add mushrooms and season with salt and pepper.

Good luck on this new recipe and have a wonderful long weekend. 

Alison O’Toole

Alison O’Toole

CENTURY 21 Bachman & Associates
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