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Farm Spirit's Aaron Adams, on Vegan Thanksgivings, Earth Balance 'butter,' and Tofurky

Dear Eater, someone's bringing a vegan to Thanksgiving. What do I do?

Chef Aaron Adams of Farm Spirit
Chef Aaron Adams of Farm Spirit
Dina Avila/EPDX

Let's face it, the very idea of a vegan-friendly Thanksgiving is oxymoronic. Every year, vegans face the dilemma of sitting down to a dinner that's basically centered around a slayed bird. So, you just found out you're hosting a vegan... Now what? Aaron Adams, vegan chef at Farm Spirit in Buckman, shares his tips for how to accommodate a vegan for Thanksgiving.

On being hospitable to vegans:

"Hospitality is the most important ingredient to a successful dinner party," says Adams.

On the easy route:

"Right off the bat, why not just make all-vegan side dishes?" While many Thanksgiving fixings are already vegetarian, such as mashed potatoes and oven-roasted rutabagas, Adams recommends making them vegan by replacing butter with a plant-based fat, whether olive oil, grapeseed oil, or Earth Balance, the "buttery" spread.

On what meat eaters do with stuffing:

Be aware that, while shoving stuffing up the turkey's ass might seem appetizing to some, vegans find it appalling. So, if you're stuffing the bird, Adams suggests setting a portion aside and baking it separately.

On offering soup:

Adams recommends making a hearty vegan pumpkin soup, with spices, fresh herbs, vegetable broth, and filbert milk, which can be made at home with a little advance preparation. Make sure not to use animal-based stock: Chicken juice is simply not going to fly.

For the Tofurky replacement:

"Get a large Cinderella pumpkin; cut it open; fill with vegan stuffing; douse with vegetable fat; cover with foil; and put in the oven at 300 degrees Fahrenheit until a knife pierces it well. Then, take the foil off and let it blister."

On limited space:

"Even more fun than making a centerpiece is making a bunch of little dishes, such as stuffed acorn squash, quinoa pilaf, and roasted parsnips with apple sauce," Adams proposes. "Just cook a bunch of awesome vegetables in a creative way." Which pretty much brings us back to Thanksgiving side dishes.

Have more questions? Ask them in the comments and we'll track down the answers.

—Michelle DeVona

Farm Spirit

1403 Southeast Belmont Street, , OR 97214 Visit Website

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