Plant-Based Holiday Survival Tips

extras holiday recipes side dishes vegan recipes vegetarian recipes Nov 14, 2018
Plant-Based Holiday Survival Tips

As a we head into holiday season, festive stress is a real thing. The hustle and bustle of the holiday season, as wonderful as it is, can leave you with a case of bad nerves.

The last thing you need is a melt down over meat so here are three tips to help you survive Thanksgiving without it.

1. Focus on what you can have (not what you can’t)

The beauty of Thanksgiving is that the turkey is just one dish – not the only dish. There are plenty of Thanksgiving dishes that don’t include meat. Forget about the turkey and focus on all of the other goodies you can fill your plate with like sweet potatoes, dressing, casseroles, veggies, rolls and pies.

If your family puts bacon in everything…

2. Bring something yummy

Cook up an awesome plant based dish and bring enough for people to try. Turn your favorite Thanksgiving sides into plant based recipes by making easy swaps like using vegetable broth in your dressing (or stuffing, no judgement) instead of chicken broth. Reimagine canned cranberry sauce with this amazing recipe that is a guaranteed crowd pleaser. Bringing a few dishes will take the stress off of the host who has enough on their hands trying to manage a huge feast without having to worry about what the heck plant based means. You’ll be spared the awkward, “Diane I know greens are a vegetable but when you cook them with smoked turkey necks, they aren’t plant based” conversation. Plus you’ll know you won’t be stuck eating only from the relish tray.

(And speaking of greens, check out my recipe for bangin’ (vegan) collard greens.)

3. Keep a sense of humor

You will be on the receiving end of several jokes from your uncles about how you might as well not even participate in Thanksgiving if you’re not going to eat meat.

Look me in the eyes and repeat after me:

  • I will not turn Thanksgiving dinner into clapback season
  • I will not explain to someone as they are eating why what they are eating is killing them
  • I will not pull out my phone and insist everyone watch the Forks over Knives documentary

Thanksgiving dinner is not the time to try to convert others to a plant based lifestyle unless they are genuinely interested (and even then wait until after dinner to have the conversation). Let folks enjoy their food. Be respectful to the host and guests even if you’re getting teased. If you can’t handle things gracefully, maybe think about hosting your own dinner.

Instead of arguing about the dangers of meat consumption or being salty there weren’t enough plant based dishes, don’t let diet differences spoil the day. Remember the holiday is truly about gratitude and enjoying family and friends. So on Thanksgiving, lettuce give thanks for our many blessings (see what I did there?).


Never Going Back To The Can Cranberry Sauce


  • 12 oz bag fresh cranberries, washed
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 3/4 cup of agave
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1/4 tsp allspice
  • 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 orange, juice and zested


  1. Combine the cranberries, agave and water in a medium pot and stir to blend.
  2. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium heat.
  3. Reduce to a simmer and add the cinnamon stick, allspice and nutmeg. Stir and simmer for an additional 5 to 7 minutes. When some of the cranberries have burst (not all will burst) and sauce has thickened, add the orange juice and zest. Stir and allow to cool. Refrigerate at least overnight before serving.

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