The holiday season is a time of tradition and comfort – and feasting on hearty delicious food. Holiday tables are typically anchored by a roasted turkey and/or ham and set with a cornucopia of other animal-based food products. But holiday feasts also serve up a troubling reality: animal agriculture and our consumption of animals is detrimental to the health of our planet and our lives.
In fact, animal agriculture is responsible for more greenhouse gas emissions than exhaust from all modes of transportation on the planet combined.
But you can also tap a growing range of vegan foods – that is, foods in no way derived from animals – that can make for a satisfyingly festive meal with considerably less impact on the environment, and also offer some personal health benefits.
From the Sustainable Fairfield Task Force, here are ideas for “sustainable” holiday roasts, baking ingredients and drinks, all available locally.
Sustainable roasts are delicious and abundant. Some popular options (and where to buy them) are:
· Breaded Turkey-less Stuffed Roast with Gravy – Trader Joe’s
· Field Roast Celebration Roast – Whole Foods, Target, Food Bazaar
· Field Roast Hazelnut & Cranberry Roast – Whole Foods, Target, Food Bazaar
· Field Roast Sage & Garlic Roast – Whole Foods, Target, Food Bazaar
· Tofurkey Plant-Based Roast & Wild Rice Stuffing - Stop & Shop, Target, Whole Foods, Big Y Supermarket, Gala Foods
· Tofurkey Plant-Based Ham Roast with Amber Ale Glaze - Stop & Shop, Target, Whole Foods, Big Y Supermarket, Gala Foods
· Tofurkey Everyday Ham Roast - Stop & Shop, Target, Whole Foods, Big Y Supermarket, Gala Foods
· Whole Foods Meatless Plant-Based Roast with Gravy – Whole Foods Market
Sustainable Baking Substitutes
You don’t need to avoid favorite family recipes that include animal-based ingredients. Many baked goods can be produced with easy, convenient substitutes.
Butter: You can use vegan butter, available at all major grocery stores, exactly as you would regular butter. Common substitutes are:
· I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter: It’s Vegan
· Country Crock Plant Butter
· Earth Balance Buttery Spread
Eggs: Eggs act as a binding agent in most baking recipes. Some of these alternative methods work better than others depending on the type of recipe. (Google can help with questions.)
· Flax Egg: Mix 2.5 Tbsp flaxseed meal and 1 Tbsp hot water, then stir and let sit for about five minutes; won’t act as a leavening agent, so use only for moisture.
o Common Flaxseed Meal Brands:
§ Trader Joe’s Organic Flaxseed Meal
§ Bob’s Red Mill Golden Flaxseed Meal
o Pro Tip: You can also use the same process and ratio for chia seeds if flaxseed meal is not available. Both are super healthy and work well!
· Applesauce Egg: Applesauce acts as a great moistener and, like chicken eggs, does not change the flavor of your baked goods; works best for recipes that use egg mostly for adding moisture. Use ¼ cup of applesauce to equal 1 egg.
· Mashed Banana Egg: Take ¼ cup ripe banana and mash it up to equal 1 egg; also works best for recipes that use eggs as a moistener.
· Baking Soda and Vinegar: For recipes like cake that need to add fluffiness; mix 1 tsp of baking soda with 1 tsp of white vinegar to equal 1 egg.
· Vegan Egg Replacer: For a literal replacement for egg, these alternatives work exactly as you would expect:
§ Follow Your Heart VeganEgg
§ JUST Egg
Chocolate: Plenty of “accidentally vegan” chocolate options are available at nearly all grocery stores; simply opt for buying baking chocolate or chips that do not contain any milk ingredients.
· Trader Joe’s Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips – Trader Joe’s
· Enjoy Life Baking Morsels – Dark Chocolate or Semi Sweet Chocolate – Target and most grocery stores
· Nestle Toll House Allergen Free Semi-Sweet Morsels – Target and most grocery stores
Sustainable Holiday Drinks
Sustainable, animal-free drinks remove the guilt from every sip. And you can save Santa the extra cholesterol by offering up some oat milk instead of dairy!
· 365 Almond Nog – Whole Foods Market
· Almond Breeze Almondmilk Nog – ShopRite, CVS, Stop & Shop, Whole Foods Market
· Friendly Farms Almond Nog – ALDI
· Califia Farms Holiday Nog Almondmilk – CVS, Stop & Shop, Whole Foods Market
· Trader Joe’s Almond Nog – Trader Joe’s
· Trader Joe’s Non-Dairy Oat Beverage Maple Favor – Trader Joe’s
· Trader Joe’s Non-Dairy Oat Beverage – Trader Joe’s
· Chobani Oat Milk – ShopRite, Whole Foods Market, Stop & Shop, Target, Rite Aid, CVS
· Trader Joe’s Chocolate Peppermint Almond Beverage – Trader Joe’s
· Silk Oat Yeah Oatmilk – ShopRite, Stop & Shop, Whole Foods Market
· Silk Soy Milk – ShopRite, Stop & Shop, Whole Foods Market
Swiss Miss Non-Dairy Hot Cocoa Mix - Target
· Califia Farms Almondmilk Creamer – CVS, Stop & Shop, Whole Foods Market
· Califia Farms Almondmilk Creamer Nog – CVS, Stop & Shop, Whole Foods Market
· Califia Farms Keto Creamer – CVS, Stop & Shop, Whole Foods Market
· Trader Joe’s Cocoa Peppermint Almond Creamer – Trader Joe’s
· Silk Almond Creamer Dark Chocolate Peppermint – Stop & Shop, ShopRite, Whole Foods Market
· Silk Crème Brulee Almond Creamer – Stop & Shop, ShopRite, Whole Foods Market
· Coffee Mate Natural Bliss Almond Milk Creamer – Stop & Shop, ShopRite, Target
· So Delicious Almondmilk Creamer – Whole Foods Market, Rite Aid, Stop & Shop
Finally – if you occasionally like to spike your eggnog – keep in mind that brewmasters, winemakers, and distillers may include animal ingredients in their products directly, or they might use them in the processing and filtration, according to barnivore.com.
Want to drink responsibly AND sustainably? You can check out barnivore.com’s Vegan Alcohol Directory to see if your drink is vegan-friendly.