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At some holiday gatherings, there is very little for vegans to eat. Thursday’s Thanksgiving feast, however, was not one of those parties! Literally, every time I blinked, a new vegan dish appeared.

Anthony Nelson, your new genie is ready. :)

Dishes included the incredibly easy, yet so delicious Vegan Magic Mushrooms, and my favorite Creamy Vegan Polenta

Without lifting a finger (or engaging in the aforementioned blinking), I could’ve easily made a meal simply from the vegan side-dishes my mom prepared. Oh heck, I could’ve easily made a meal from just the magic mushrooms alone! My family’s always been big on vegetables; therefore some of what my mom prepares for Thanksgiving has always already been vegan. And other dishes, such as the polenta she made, are easily veganized.

Mom also makes a broccoli dish that is vegan (originally my grandma’s recipe). As I said, I could have made a meal feast from just the sides. But I didn’t. No, I made my own vegetarian main dish to share. It was so good, it deserves its own post. (I’ll post the recipe tomorrow.)

Katie is the baker, photographer, and author of the popular blog Chocolate-Covered Katie. Her favorite food is chocolate, and she believes in eating a balanced diet that includes dessert every single day. More about Katie—> 
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  1. Stefanie says:

    That looks like a great vegan feast. It is always nice to have someone else do the cooking but I do not get that pleasure often. The only time is when I go out to eat but I do not dine out often. That polenta looks so good. I’ll have to try it soon.

  2. Erika says:

    I’ll admit when I was younger [like 8] I thought vegans were weird and vegan food was wierder. Boy, was I wrong! Katie, your vegan Thanksgiving looks delicious! 😀

    1. LOL thanks, Erika!
      P.S. I emailed you back :). Let me know if you didn’t get it, because my emails often go to spam.

  3. Tangy says:

    When I was heavier, I loved eating what everyone else made. Now that I have worked really hard to lose the weight and I’ve learned more about what healthy eating really is, it is really hard to enjoy what some people make. If I knew someone had the same nutritional standards as me I could enjoy their food, but now I just kind of wonder what really is in each dish! I love to cook and bake and try new things so I really am happy making most of my own food!

  4. lisa says:

    i have a problem eating what others make due to control issues. someday, i’d love to be able to eat my mom’s food or eat in a restaurant again without feeling anxiety or guilt about it.

  5. Ashlei says:

    I definitely prefer to make my own food because I know what’s going in it, but it’s nice to not have to cook sometimes and have others do it for you, or to eat out.

  6. eatandrun says:

    That all looks delicious! Excited for the main dish recipe :).

  7. yum those looks delicious! i like cooking my own stuff but certainly don’t mind if my husband wants to take the reigns as he knows i can’t tolerate gluten or dairy. also, re: pie situation…i think there is a fine line between being a zealot and being a compassionate recipient of home cooked food. i certainly don’t knock the tiny morsel of dairy found in that pie. you and your dad both win eating!

  8. Amanda says:

    I would’ve eaten the apple filling too! I’m not a vegan, but I still would’ve left the crust, because we all know that it’s the filling that’s the best part, right? 😉

  9. Moni'sMeals says:

    That looks great! Yum.

    I love cooking for myself and others. I am fine when others to cook for me but I prefer too way more. :)
    That almost vegan apple pie looks amazing.
    Have a great day!

  10. Allison says:

    What’s in the crust that’s not vegan? I made crust out of flour, sugar, salt, water and vegetable shortening. Way easy! I was all prepared to bring most of my own food to Thanksgiving at my Aunt and Uncle’s until they offered to make me a tofurkey and roasted vegetables. I almost always make my own food as it’s just me and my boyfriend and he hates the kitchen so it is always nice when someone who understands what vegans eat makes me some food. Not to mention how great it is when I don’t have to even look at the dishes much less do them.

    On a side note, do you ever get people who, when confronted with your choice of being vegan for the first or second or third time, ask a question like “wait, you can eat chocolate?”. It blows my mind how people can just eat things and have no idea what goes into them and yet they question whether vegans eat a healthy diet.

    End rant!

    1. Well, the first ingredient is partially-hydrogenated lard! (It was a Pillsbury refrigerated pie crust.) LOL I wouldn’t want to touch that even if it were vegan. But it doesn’t really matter, because I’ve always hated pie crust and never ate it anyway! :)

      As for your second question: LOLOL YES!! Oh my gosh, if I had dollar for every time someone asked me how I cold have given up chocolate to become vegan. They obviously don’t know about my blog ;).
      I feel your ranting pain too. When people ask me where I get my protein, I always ask THEM, “Where do you get your Vitamin A? Your fiber? Your leafy green veggie servings?”

      1. Tammy says:

        I know you two aren’t TRYING to sound condescending, but, as I’m sure you know, lots of people just eat milk chocolate, and even some dark chocolate has milkfat in it, so it’s not like people who ask that question are totally ignorant. Try to see it from both perspectives! And, Katie, you know that plenty of people who eat meat also eat lots of vegetables! I think we should all try to be understanding of everyone’s preferences. Just sayin’, hope that doesn’t sound mean.

        As for me, I like to be vegan one day and a meat-eater the next. Kudos to you for eating the pie your mom made.

        1. anna bilozi says:

          I TOTALLY agree, Tammy!

        2. Melissa says:

          Um. Here’s the thing… when people ask vegans about chocolate they normally have this “gotcha!” tone of voice, like they are just waiting to tell us no chocolate is vegan and that we’ve messed up by eating it. It’s the INTENT of a lot of those questions that are irritating. They aren’t curious, they are being the vegan police – and they are doing in in absence of knowing what they are talking about. Trying to “catch” vegans being non-vegan so they can go “oh, you’re not perfect either, you better than thou vegan!” isn’t very cool.

          Honestly, it’s a bit insulting to have an omnivore in your face about whether or not what you’re eating is vegan. If I’m eating it, it’s vegan. And yes I checked!

          Not ALL folks who ask it do so in this manner. Some are genuinely curious and you can tell by their tone/wording. I am not annoyed by them. :)

      2. Melissa says:

        Oh ew! Sorry… my reaction to lard in anything is abject horror. WHY?! A lot of my Great Grandmas’ recipes contain lard and I always make this face: O.o or this XP when I read the recipe cards.

        Seriously, Katie, with your mom being so wicked awesome(!) you should talk her into ditching the pig fat crust. My mom isn’t half as cool with vegan food as yours is but she’s made me vegan desserts before. :) Maybe you could make the crust and momma could do the filling? Then you don’t have to worry about possibly eating lard AND everyone else would have a healthier pie, too. 😀 Win win! Plus, pie crust is so easy to make and the vegan version doesn’t taste “weird”. I don’t really like crust either but I’d rather the little bits that inevitably fall into my filling aren’t non-veg.

        I’m so not trying to bash you (you know I <3 you!) but there is just no way in hell I'd ever want to even risk eating lard, ever again. *shudder* Mostly due to it being gross! Half the reason I'm such a "good" vegan is my weak stomach! LOL.

        1. Melissa says:

          Aw damn, I wanted to delete this post since I’ve been thinking about it since I made it.

          Rather than change your family recipe (sorry to suggest it) I think my solution would be to pull a serving of the filling aside and bake in alone in a ramekin! Then no icky crust (vegan or otherwise!) and more apple goodness. Totally WIN WIN. 😀

        2. Hey girl! Just got your email, and I’ll reply when I get a chance. :)

  11. i LOVE when I can make my own food- i take charge of the kitchen! that way I know exactly what’s in it and I can tailor it to my needs!

  12. A very wonderful looking feast indeed, Katie. Glad you enjoyed yourself.

    Like you, I prefer to do the hosting and cooking on most days. I like the control aspect but I also just LOVE to cook. Now and then though, I enjoy a bit of pampering by the hubby or friends/family and will gladly let them cook me up a thing or two. :)

  13. The apple pie filling doesn’t have any sugar? That is awesome; I’ve never even thought to make filling sans sugar. It would be awesome if your mom were so inclined as to share that recipe :)

    1. I’m sure she would! I’ll try to write it out for ya later today or tomorrow! :)

  14. Holy YUM – what a delicious spread!
    I love the fact that you ate your Mom’s pie anyway, Katie.
    Sometimes it’s not worth worth it be always absolutely perfect.
    I’m so happy you’ve had a great time with your family, love :)

  15. Where was I at this dinner?? Trying all those vegan dishes would have been incredible!

    I’m much happier cooking for myself. Even when I’m home visiting, I usually have a seperate dinner from everyone else (mainly because I’m the only non-meat eater)..but still.

  16. I’m so much happier making my own food but on occasion it’s nice to have others cook for you. It may just be me but I’m a control freak ha and like to control every aspect of my kitchen.

    1. abby says:

      oh no, i am the same way! i’m such a control freak!

  17. I love when other people cook for me. It can sometimes get tricky with my cow’s milk sensitivity, but sometimes the same meal I could make tastes better when made by someone else! :)

  18. Olivia R. says:

    Love this post! Apple pie looks good.
    I have a quick dilemma and I wanted to see if any of you vegans could help me out. I have a block (er, tube. from the asian grocer 😀 ) of soft silken tofu. I don’t know what to do with it! I don’t want a dessert, can I make ‘cottage cheez’ with it? Hm. Any help would be greatly appreciated :)

    1. Hey Olivia!
      I dunno about cottage cheese, but I do make something called “Cheefu” with silken tofu (but mine is silken-firm). Here’s the link:
      Otherwise, I’d suggest using it in place of sour cream in a recipe or cream in a soup recipe.

  19. All the dishes look amazing and cannot wait for the recipe for your main dish. :) I tend to cook my own food but sometimes it is nice to have some else cook for you.

  20. Elle says:

    Thank you, CCK! I appreciate that you’re modeling the attitude of not being a perfectionist about your food choices. I’m not sure what to call myself because “omnivore” doesn’t help me explain my daily food choices very well. I eat vegan 9 meals out of 10, or maybe closer to 19 out of 20. But I will gladly eat filet mignon, bison, lean pork tenderloin, fish, or cheese as an occasional indulgence. This is what feels right for me and I don’t have plans to incorporate more or less omni choices. I don’t claim the title vegan for obvious reasons, but it’s what informs that vast majority of my food choices. Hey, I think I just figured it out: “I eat meat and dairy as an occasional indulgence.”

    1. That’s the problem with labels, ya know? They’re so black and white.
      I like your label better :).

    2. V says:

      I eat mainly vegetarian (depending on the day!), but since I have dairy and egg allergies, I prefer to bake vegan. But I also allow myself to indulge in certain meats, like poultry or fish (occasionally pork, as my sweetie is a die-hard meat lover who loves to take over my kitchen when he comes over 😛 ). I’ve adopted the label “Flexitarian”! 😀

  21. Jessica says:

    Those magic mushrooms look incredible! I would never have thought to put vinegar in them, but I love cooked ‘shrooms. I like the family dinner sides, too, and it’s great that you and your mom work together to veganize some things and you eat around others. That’s the stage I want to get to with my family!

  22. I love cooking for others and just laughed the other night a friend’s place that I always spend most of the time in other people’s kitchens than in other parts of their apartments 😀

  23. susan says:

    What a great meal that your whole family could enjoy! And I can’t wait to see you entree.

    I like cooking for myself because, as you said, I know how I like things (example: I like 3x the amt of garlic that most people do), but I really enjoy going out to dinner and having someone do the work for me! My parents don’t cook much, but I like it when they do make things for me. Its the thought that counts and the loving gesture is what makes it especially tasty!

  24. You food all looks so fantastic it makes me want to go out and buy all of the ingredients!!!!

  25. Food looks delicious! I prefer to make food for myself mainly because I have such unique and complicated food needs and choices, LOL :)
    But it is nice to have someone make me something every once in awhile!!


  26. I’m okay with having others cook for me, but I definitely like to know what’s in my own food!

  27. Becky Rogers says:

    Hi Katie,
    I love your blog. You have such a kind heart. I was wondering if you could help me with a dilema I’ve been having. You see, I’m a new vegetarian and I was wondering if you ever felt awkward at holiday parties? Like parties where you’re the only vegan and not everyone knows about your special diet. I love animals and don’t want to give in and eat meat ever again, but I’m not very outgoing and hate being the center of attention. How do you deal with being different at holiday parties like this one?

  28. Fi says:

    Like you, I know what i like and how I like things,sobi cook for myself mostly! I don’t mind restaraunt cooking tho! Mmmm polenta, I’m on a bit of a polenta kick at the moment, I love making polenta fries or baking chunks of if in the oven! It’s a real comfort food. Xxx

  29. I cook for myself pretty much all the time unless I’m visiting my mom. But the one thing I LOVE having other people make me is salad! I’d just love someone else to do all that chopping!

  30. i think theres something to be said about cooking together! sharing ideas and creativity can lead to something much greater than anticipated!

  31. I cooked a turkey for scott, the one time a year i cook meat for him. 99% of the time he’s a vegan at home b/c i am doing the cooking! i posted about it on Friday on my TGiving food/recipes post (again). I always have to remind ppl he is his own person and he’s not vegan. I catch a TON of heat on my blog b/c I posted meat (out of like 1000 posts, I think 2 or 3 have had meat on them) but whatever. It’s what I made, he loved it, bought me a dozen roses AND another floral arrangement…he loved it that much that I cooked for him.

    So I am happy to cook for others how they wish to eat and be a short order cook. With food allergies, diff dietary paths, vegan, not, GF, not, raw vs. cooked, cant please everyone in the house so i dont mind cooking separate meals…most of the time :) Sometimes they must eat what i serve LOL

    Great meal, great pics, lovely post, Katie!

  32. Everything looks so good! I was vegan earlier this year, and I was stressing out about what I was going to eat at Thanksgiving. (I might have been thinking a little too far ahead…) I’m a vegetarian now, so I was able to eat a lot more of the Thanksgiving feast, but your dishes would have been great to serve to vegans, vegetarians, and meat-eaters like :)

  33. Ashley says:

    Oh man, all of that looks soooo good! I wish I could redo my Thanksgiving and include all of it. :)

    I loved your thoughts on a ‘perfect’ vegan diet and it makes me happy that you still ate the pie. Like you said, some things just need to be “don’t ask-don’t tell,” especially when it’s made by someone you love. For example, my mom makes AWESOME tortilla soup, and she knows it’s my favorite. I visited her for the first time in months and she had a pot hot on the stove for me when I got there. It was the first time she’d cooked for me since I had become a vegetarian, and I guess she forgot that chicken stock was made out of well- chickens. But since she put so much thought into it, I ate it anyways. She’s my mom, and I didn’t want to hurt her feelings. But the next time I visited, I helped make the soup and recommended we use vegetable stock instead and she realized what happened and quickly apologized. It was just as delicious and now she always makes it with vegetable stock- even when I’m not there! 😀

    And my mission this week is to try some of your magic mushrooms. Yum!

    1. Aww Ashley, I’m so happy to know there’s someone out there who feels like I do! My mom made me “vegan” chocolate chip cookies once, and didn’t realize there was dairy in the chips. I ate them, but I made sure to stock her pantry vegan chocolate chips for the future! :)

  34. I usually make my own food, but I am quite happy when my mother cooks for me.
    There’s something extra special about Mom food.

  35. Namaste Gurl says:

    Your vegan feast looks amazing– so glad you had a vegan and family oriented thanksgiving :)

  36. BroccoliHut says:

    Um, can I come to your house for the next holiday? Everything looks delish!

    1. Yes, please do! I need to meet my twin someday ;).

  37. Claire says:

    Oh my word it all looks delicious! You might have persuaded me to have some magic mushrooms at dinner 😀 I prefer to make my own food, mainly because I eat a lot earlier than my family so I know I’m not inconveniencing my mum by asking her to make me dinner 2 hours earlier – let’s face it, mums have better things to do than make dinner all day! On the other hand I LOVE cooking for others – I somehow manage to get roped into doing a lot in the kitchen at Christmas. When do you put your Chritsmas tree up? I’ve got another two days to go and we’re all getting terribly excited!
    Oh and glad you had a good Thanksgiving. 😀

    1. Haha I eat earlier than my family too! I’ll call my mom at 9pm sometimes and she’s like, “Oh we’re just having dinner.” I usually eat around 5 or 6, so I’m thinking, “Dinner?? It’s almost bedtime!”
      Usually we put our tree up in early December. But my sister likes to help, and she lives in Boston, so this year we took advantage of her being here for Thanksgiving and already put it up :).

  38. Vogelstar says:

    Mmm know you think the savoury dishes are less interesting but I disagree, they look delish. Keep them coming. Ps you have me on a polenta kick now

    1. Thanks! I’m thinking of doing a weekly “Savory Sunday” thing, so I can post all my savory recipes… they’re building up!

  39. Sonja says:

    Ha ha this is funny — Im using a library computer right now which has a filter that censors any references to sex or drugs. I clicked on your link for the Vegan Magic Mushrooms and got censored! lol, I’ll have to check this recipe out at home!

  40. Jaime says:

    This is why I lump myself in with the “flexitarians.” I would be vegan if I could, and most of my meals are vegan, but my husband is a devout carnivore, as are both families, and I feel terrible turning down food when someone worked hard to make it! But at the very least, I make sure that the meat and eggs we buy were raised as responsibly and humanely as possible. One reason I dislike meat so much is feeling so bad for the kind of conditions the animal had to endure, and the method of their demise–but I really don’t feel too bad eating an unfertilized egg from a happy chicken in a backyard flock, or having some honey from my SIL’s bees, since I know her husband takes care of them like they’re his babies, and he’d never let them have insufficient food. It’s really only the commercial practices that absolutely disgust!!!

    1. So so true… I have a distant cousin who calls herself a vegan, but she lives on a farm and consumes the eggs from her own chickens. While that wouldn’t “technically” be vegan, people have to remember that the whole reason to be vegan is not because someone wants to fit into a definition! It’s to cause as little suffering to others as possible :).

  41. Judy says:

    I felt bad for you that you had to give your dad the pie crust. You’re SO clever in the kitchen that I’m sure you already know about this type of pie crust, but my mom’s crust that she always made is vegan and delicious:
    1/3 cup oil of choice (I use canola or corn)
    2 T water
    1/2 t. salt (or less)
    1 cup + 2 T white flour (works great also with ww pastry flour)
    (For sweet pies I’ll add 1 T sugar for extra crunchiness and flavor.)
    That’s it! These quantities are for one single crust pie. It goes together so easily, like a mix. The only difficulty is that it is more delicate to handle, and that I can work around since it’s so much healthier and so much tastier than most traditional pie crusts I’ve ever eaten. I prefer this one. You roll it out between pieces of waxed paper, and loosen each side before placing the pie pan, inverted, over the dough and flipping it to get the dough into the pan. Just takes a little practice, but it’s really so easy. Just thought I’d offer that to you in case it’s helpful. Thanks so much for your blog!!!