Canadian Thanksgiving

Tips and ideas for celebrating the holiday with a plant-based meal

If you’re like me, it’s been a while since you had a real authentic Canadian Thanksgiving. And even longer since you’ve had one that involved meat items. I have now been vegan or vegetarian since 2015, so I can’t really remember the turkey but keep the pumpkin pie tradition strong!

My first Canadian Thanksgiving in Spain was for just me and my husband with my little guy on the way. So, I wanted to be sure that if nothing else my husband tried a pumpkin pie. With some effort, I was able to track down some Crisco pie shortening and canned pumpkin from Amazon UK. Amazingly, I made a delicious pie and figured I would go big the following year with fresh pumpkin. Well, it was terrible. It looked good, but after slowly chewing a small bite my husband asked me, “What do you think?” I laughed and said, “It’s horrible!” and we threw out the pie and later went for chocolate and carrot cake nearby.

However, I was able to find an incredible vegan cake and pie maker in a neighboring city that is now our go-to dessert lady (monveg.es) for most of our special events. She does an excellent job and is super easy to work with. I’ll do another post about her tasty creations one day.

Really, it’s all about giving thanks and gratitude for life. I would say with friends and family but if you’re alone, why not celebrate this cozy time of year with a feast for 1?

I have spent some of my most favorite, memorable holidays alone. There is something very peaceful about taking time for yourself and appreciating what you have whether it’s a little or a lot.

Mushroom salt and pepper shakers, jack o lanterns, colorful harvest tablecloths, or table runners add fall flare to any Thanksgiving table.

So for my first four Thanksgiving’s in Spain, I went as traditional as possible. Oven roasted potatoes, corn on the cob, carrots, parsnips, sweet potatoes, beets, and onions. Some years we had a mushroom gravy and tasty stuffing.

At least I thought the vegan stuffing was fantastic and couldn’t believe how well I had replicated the turkey stuffing of my youth. But, my Spanish husband could not understand the why or how of it-lol. I’ll wait until my son is older and try to introduce the concept of stuffing again!

Our meat alternative was marinated seitan with a pinch of autumn spices like cinnamon and paprika. We didn’t really bother trying to get a faux turkey alternative and just opted for a protein that’s always tasty, hearty, and on theme with the harvest vibes.

Other years we added a bit of Spanish flare with a cherry tomato salad, a variety of olives, and fruit. And of course, no real bounty is complete without a selection of vegan cheeses, crackers, and bread.

Last year, we made oven-roasted vegetables with a side of lemon pepper carrots. Vegan meatballs from Ikea and a seitan steak with marinated red peppers along with an incredible pumpkin pie with a maple leaf! from Monveg.es

We probably could have used some mushroom gravy, but all in all, this was a delicious thanksgiving meal.

This year we are thinking of going to one of our favorite restaurants for lunch and then coming home to a pumpkin pie and carrot cake Thanksgiving extravaganza. But, we shall see. Canadian Thanksgiving happens to fall on the Spanish holiday – National Day of Spain. So, my son and husband get the day off from school and work. This is great as it gives us more to celebrate about but might make restaurant reservations hard to get!

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