Vegan Friendsgiving not just for vegans

Thanks to a variety of ingredients and options, vegan Friendsgivings can please a crowd


Gracie Mena

Friendsgiving dishes included a green bean casserole, sandwiches, garlic mashed potatoes, and much more

The end of the year-holidays call for our inner-cook to come out and prosper. The only downside to typical holiday feasts is the feeling that you will gain 10 pounds from how much you just ate. Although if you are eating a plant-based meal, this feeling will not occur. You will feel full, but full of nutrient dense food.

Recently, 4 of my friends and I had a vegan Friendsgiving where everyone brought a vegan item to make up the tasty feast. I baked vegan stuffed turkeys, Mikayla Farber (12) brought garlic-mashed potatoes, Alivia Reed (11, Hempstead) brought her own green bean casserole, Taylor Hahn (11) brought pumpkin pie with seven-layer coconut ice cream, and my sister Makaley Mena (12) baked some small sandwiches. We had the Friendsgiving a day or two before Thanksgiving, and my sister and I decided to host it at our house. This potluck turned out to be the best meal I’ve ever had!

The turkey I wanted originally was the Tofurky roast, but since none of the Hy-Vees in Dubuque had them that I could find that day, I went with the Gardein breaded, stuffed turkey I found at the Hy-Vee on Locust Street. This stuffed turkey was filled with cranberries, quinoa, peppers, and more. These take only about 30 minutes in the oven to bake. After they were cooked, I cut them into smaller slices to be distributed evenly. The texture was very nice and firm and chewy with great, savory taste. Even my meat-eating friend Taylor, thoroughly enjoyed the vegan turkey.

After the Friendsgiving, when I was doing some research, I found that you can order the large tofurky roast with gravy from the Locust St. Hy-Vee via their website, even if it isn’t available in the store. I will have to give this a try for Christmas!

My vegan friend Mikayla made mashed potatoes with a burst of flavor. While the potatoes were boiling, she sautéed cloves of garlic, vegan butter (margarine), and green onion. When the potatoes were blended, she added in all the ingredients she sautéed and some Italian seasoning. This combination makes for amazing garlic-butter potatoes!

Alivia’s recipe was not from a recipe she found, but a simple, healthy one she made herself. She just mixed flour, plant-based milk (almond or soy both work), chopped mushrooms, and seasonings of her choice. Then she mixed it in with the green beans and some crispy onions then baked it all together. It was delicious! I have also made a vegan green bean casserole, but with an online recipe. If you need a recipe to follow, I highly recommend you go to for a simple green bean casserole recipe.

Taylor came with my sister and I to the Hy-Vee on Locust where she bought a dairy-free pumpkin pie that took 1 hour in the oven. She also bought a pint of vegan coconut seven-layer ice cream from the Ben and Jerry’s brand.

If you are looking for other vegan desserts for the holidays, you can get vegan cheesecakes from a vegan dairy company, Daiya. These can be found at the Hy-Vee on Locust ($6.49). You can also use online recipes to make specific desserts for your Christmas dinner. Other options include buying cupcakes or cheesecake from a local cupcake shop called Frosted & Filled. It is a little shop on Locust that offers the best vegan desserts I have ever had! Their cupcakes are $3 each, and you can preorder some (12 for $36). They also sell cheesecakes, but the ones from Hy-Vee are $6.49, while from Frosted and Filled they are $25 for about the same size. But, Frosted and Filled also offers 25 vegan cheesecake bites for only $18! There are many vegan desserts you choose from for upcoming holiday feasts.

For the mini sandwiches Makaley made, she got some day-old bread for 75 cents from Jimmy John’s and a full baguette from Panera Bread. These were cut up into smaller sections to make the sandwiches. Makaley bought some vegan lunchmeat from the brand Tofurky ($3.79 for 5.5 ounces) and some vegan cheese by the brand Follow Your Heart ($4.99 for 10 slices) to make them. She also added some vegan chipotle mayo that can be found at most Hy-Vees in Dubuque. After they were put together, she cooked them on low heat in the oven until the cheese was melted. This made for come crispy, warm, and delicious sandwiches.

Vegan feasts are very possible, affordable, delicious, and easy. You can cook these things for yourself in an hour or less! I will for sure be reusing some of these simple recipes for my Christmas dinner and you can too. There are many options online that you can make for yourself for a nutritious holiday dinner.