Thanksgiving is just around the corner and since it is about gratitude, Friends of Animals thinks people should show their appreciation for turkeys and opt for a vegan menu this holiday. Turkeys are as intelligent as mammals and have a zest for living and turkeys raised for food never know the comfort of a mother bird’s wings or the joy of exploring the woods and fields with her. Here’s 10 facts that might make you change your mind about gobbling down turkey during your Thanksgiving dinner tomorrow:
- Three hundred million turkeys are killed in the U.S. each year, most for Thanksgiving and Christmas.
- After only a few weeks, turkeys are moved to large, windowless sheds, which they share with thousands of other turkeys.
- At 5 to 6 months old, turkeys are sent to the slaughterhouse. In the wild, they can live to be 10 years old.
- Turkeys are actually sensitive animals who have good and bad moods. You can tell what mood the male is in by the color of his throat and head. When a male is excited, his head turns blue and when a tom is about to get into a fight, his head turns red.
- Turkeys are highly social, affectionate and love to play. They create long-lasting social bonds with each other and with humans. If you want proof, check out the videos of Cornelius, an especially cuddly turkey, on Esther the Wonder Pig’s Facebook page.
- Turkeys stay close to their family and flock mates, sometimes traveling in the wild with groups of 200 or more.
- In 1970, the average turkey raised for meat weighed 17 pounds. Today, turkeys average 28 pounds.
- In the wild, these typically sleek birds are able to run up to 25 miles per hour and fly up to 55 miles per hour. But due to selective breeding, commercially raised turkeys are often unable even to walk more than a couple steps by the end of their brief lives.
- Turkeys are actually quite intelligent. They are very good at geography and can learn the details of really large areas which is especially useful for finding food. Turkeys exhibit problem-solving behavior and are curious and inquisitive animals.
- Wild turkeys sleep in trees away from predators — this is natural roosting behavior that even domesticated turkeys will try to do.
We hope you’ll consider joining countless other Americans in celebrating compassion for animals while doing something good for our own health this Thanksgiving by passing on the turkey. We can help you serve up some kindness with recipes for side dishes, main dishes and desserts . Here’s two of our favorite holiday side dish recipes and you can check out our very own vegan cookbooks available in our online store for more delicious, gourmet vegan recipes to try any time of the year. Click here to learn more.
Butternut Squash, White Bean and Kale Ragout
Adapted from New York Times recipe. This stew is hearty, healthy and simply wonderful — a one pot meal.
1 large (3 pounds) butternut squash
2 tablespoons coconut oil
2 tablespoons maple syrup
2 ½ teaspoons cider vinegar
1 teaspoon sea salt (or to taste)
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
Pinch of cayenne pepper (or to taste)
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
4 large leeks (white and light green parts only)
4 large garlic cloves minced (or use a garlic press)
2 teaspoons rosemary (fresh or dried)
2 15-ounce cans cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
2 cups vegetable broth (or use vegan bouillon cubes and prepare according to instructions)
¾ pound kale, chopped (approximately 6 cups)
⅓ cup dried cranberries chopped (plus additional berries for garnish)
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Dissolve vegan bouillon in hot water according to package instructions.
Peel squash, then halve squash and scoop out seeds. Cut flesh into 1-inch cubes.
Spread cubes out on a large rimmed baking sheet. In small saucepan, combine coconut oil, syrup, 1 teaspoon vinegar, salt, ½ teaspoon black pepper and cayenne. Cook, stirring, over medium-high heat; pour mixture over squash and toss to coat evenly. Roast, tossing occasionally, until squash is very tender and caramelized at edges, about 30 minutes.
In a large skillet, warm olive oil over medium heat. Add leeks, garlic, rosemary and a generous pinch of salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until leeks are very soft and not at all browned, about 15 minutes. Add beans and broth and simmer for 10 minutes.
Stir in kale. Simmer until kale is cooked down and very tender, about 10 to 15 minutes. Stir in squash and chopped cranberries; season with remaining 1½ teaspoons vinegar and ½ teaspoon black pepper. Garnish with additional cranberries and a small pinch of sea salt. Serve.
Mashed Potatoes with Celery Root
Serves 4 – 6
Thanks again to Trish Sebben-Krupka. Sometimes the tried and true is in need of reinvention—a little something new. Celery root brings this ever-popular and ever-versatile side dish to new heights. Luscious.
2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled
1 celery root, about 1 pound, peeled
½ – ¾ cup hot vegetable broth
3 tablespoons olive oil
½ teaspoon salt
Ground black pepper
Garnish with snipped fresh chives
Cut the potatoes and celery root into large pieces. If more than a few minutes will pass between peeling the celery root and cooking it, cover it in a bath of cold water and 1 tablespoon of lemon juice to keep it from discoloring.
Put potatoes and celery root in a saucepan, cover with cold salted water, and bring to a boil. Simmer until tender, about 20 minutes. Drain and return the vegetables to the pan. Over low heat, mash the vegetables and beat with a hand-held mixer, adding vegetable broth, olive oil, salt and pepper. Blend until smooth.
Stir in snipped fresh chives or chopped parsley before serving.