Planning a Vegan Thanksgiving: Appetizers

Whether you’re accommodating vegan guests for the holiday or bringing a single dish to a family gathering, there’s no shortage of meat-free platters to serve at this traditionally turkey-centric meal. Explore the many vegan options to be served with each course and discover the ease with which you can plan a cruelty free holiday meal that will leave your guests asking for seconds.

Commence your dining experience with one or both of these animal-friendly appetizers. Begin making PETA’s stuffed mushroom caps by preheating your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Melt 1 teaspoon non-dairy margarine in a small microwavable bowl, then add 1/3 cup of chopped pecans and mix to coat. Transfer pecans to a lined baking sheet and bake for five to seven minutes. Meanwhile, toast one slice of whole-wheat bread, then use your hands or a food processor to turn the slice into fine crumbs, yielding 3/4 cup of bread crumbs. Combine cooled, toasted pecans and 3/4 cup bread crumbs in a large bowl.

Drain 3 to 4 ounces of extra-firm tofu, transfer it to a medium-sized bowl and gently mash until only small crumb-like pieces remain. Add 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar, 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast, 1/2 teaspoon oregano, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.

Sauté 1/3 cup diced onion and 2 cloves minced garlic in 1 tablespoon olive oil until onion and garlic become soft. Add contents of the medium-sized bowl (tofu, vinegar, etc.) and cook on medium heat, stirring to coat tofu.

Transfer contents of the pan to the large bowl of bread crumbs and pecans. Remove stems from about 20 baby portobello mushrooms, and spoon the filling into the mushroom centers until heaping. Bake stuffed mushrooms on a lined baking sheet for 15 to 20 minutes.

For a simple but tasty vegan appetizer, throw together this quick bruschetta recipe from In a large bowl, combine 2 cups diced tomatoes (fresh or canned), 3 tablespoons olive oil, two pressed cloves of garlic, 1 teaspoon salt, 2 teaspoons minced basil and black pepper to taste. Mix well and let stand for one hour.

Meanwhile, slice about 12 1/2-inch-thick pieces of French bread. Toast both sides and serve with tomato mixture.

“Maria’s Bruschetta,”
Keegan Baur, “Best Dishes to Take to a Nonvegan Party,” PETA

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