If you're like me, and weren't raised vegan, there is just no substitute for real turkey meat, ham, etc. I gave up all those years ago and never turned back. But, since then, I have been having extreme "Turkey Anxiety" every year when it comes time to figure out what to make for Thanksgiving and Christmas.
I think a part of me (the competitive, WWE, open a can of Whoop-Ass part), wants to make the ultimate Vegan Roasted Something to successfully face-off with the carnivore's reigning champion- the Turkey.
Some of you might disagree, but it CAN'T be done.
In no way, am I promoting the feasting on our beloved gobbly creatures. In fact, I think it would be lovely to invite a turkey over for Thanksgiving to eat with us. But, I'm sorry... there's NO wheat gluten-tofu-tempeh-lentil-loaf-thingy that can come close to the deliciousness of dead animal flesh. Ugh, that does sound terrible- but it is the ugly truth (at least for those who used to eat it).
So... I say, "Why try?" Why am I killing myself to make some Frankensteinian experimental faux dead animal every year? As a good friend reminded me- why not enjoy the TRUE meaning of Thanksgiving and serve something I love, and would love to share. Why not be truly thankful for being vegan, and cook up some beautiful seasonal whole veggies, legumes, etc.?
Yes, I want to impress. Yes, I want to make something that'll get some "ooohs" and "awwws," but if it must be considered a "side dish" by mainstream society, then so be it!
I was considering making a vegan version of this: