I Eat Plants: Vegan Shepherd’s Pie for Thanksgiving


Ooh, it’s almost Thanksgiving!

Feeding a vegan or vegetarian guest can be perplexing for many hosts.  It might be something you planned for, and you’re feeling like you’ve got this covered, or maybe your collage-aged child just announced they’re bringing their new significant other- and they’re vegan.

In any case, I’m here to help.

I’m going to my mom’s this Thanksgiving.  Since I help with the prep (I just don’t go near the turkey), we make all, or almost all, of the side dishes vegan.  Subbing Earth Balance vegan spread for butter, non-dairy milk for dairy, and vegetable broth for chicken broth goes a long way in a lot of dishes, and most people won’t notice.  My mom makes a separate stuffing and gravy for the turkey, and of course the turkey itself, I heat up a commercial vegan holiday roast, like that from Gardein or Tofurkey, both of which come with their own gravy, and everyone is happy.

Of course, this is my mom’s dinner, with just a few guests.  I do a lot of the side dishes myself, and my mom’s not a huge meat eater, so this works well for my family.

Maybe it wouldn’t work so well for your family, but you still want to do something for your vegan guest, so that they don’t feel left out.

I know a lot of people feel very strongly about having to have butter and cream in their Thanksgiving sides.  It’s the only time of year many otherwise healthy eaters indulge, and I understand that.  I’d implore you to think about vegan substitutions, but I think I have a compromise for you.

Vegan Shepherd’s Pie.

This works well as a main dish, and since there’s already mashed potatoes on top, your vegan guest won’t miss the non-vegan dish on your table.

The beauty of this dish is that you can make it a few days ahead of time (I make it once every few weeks on a Sunday and then pop it in the over mid week).  This also works well as a dish for a guest to bring.

Potatoes and gravy- what could be better?

Potatoes and gravy- what could be better?

I like Beyond Meat Beefy Crumbles for this dish, but there are several other brands of crumbles that would work just find, such as Gardein or Boca.  This dish also works well with lentils; in the directions, you would sauté the onions/carrot/garlic, then add the flour to brown, then the lentils with the rest of the ingredients before the corn and peas.

It may be messy, but it's delicious!

It may be messy, but it’s delicious!

Click here for the recipe.

Whatever you serve this Thanksgiving, I hope you have a happy and safe holiday!


About Author

I Eat Plants columnist Jodie Deignan went vegetarian in 2004 and fully committed to veganism in 2007. By day she’s a psychiatric nurse practitioner and by night she spends a lot of time cooking delicious vegan food for herself and her friends. She’s a bit of a picky eater, with a special distaste for mushrooms, seaweed, raw tomatoes, and eggplant, though she’s discovered along the way she’s a little more open-minded than she once thought. She blogs at The Picky Vegan.

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