With all the glistening turkey, buttery mashed potatoes, sausage-filled stuffing and cream-based pies, Thanksgiving isn’t exactly a vegan-friendly holiday.
At least it wasn’t. Today, there are plenty of restaurants, bakeries and catering companies in North Jersey that can offer full feasts (or just a few sides) that will meet the dietary restrictions of your vegan guests and delight their palates.
These shops will send you home with heaping platters of Thanksgiving foods, no animal by-products whatsoever.
Busy Bee Organics, Jersey City
Jersey City-based caterer Busy Bee Organics has an “everything-but-the-turkey” menu. Every dish is gluten-free and many are vegan. Options include hearty lentil shepherd’s pie ($18.95); mushroom gravy ($9.95); butternut squash mac and “cheese” ($16.95); and sweet potatoes with maple pecan crumble ($18.95).
And don’t forget dessert: fluffy tiramisu pie ($21.95), pumpkin cheesecake ($28), apple crumble pie ($18.95) – even egg nog ($8) and s’mores hot cocoa kits ($15.95).
The ordering period runs from Friday to Sunday every week. Busy Bee delivers to Jersey City, Hoboken, Union City and Weehawken from 5 to 8 p.m. on Monday. Or, you can pick up an order from one of its Jersey City locations.
Go: 451 Palisade Ave., Jersey City and 175 2nd St., Jersey City; 201-656-506, busybeeorganics.com.
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Freakin’ Vegan, Prospect Park
Freakin’ Vegan specializes in “vegan junk food,” said owner Kurt Biroc. Popular dishes include buffalo chicken pizza ($29 for a large), barbecue pulled porkless sliders ($16) and meatball parm subs ($16) — all made with meat and cheese substitutions. The restaurant’s most-sold dish, however, is the decadent buffalo chicken mac n’ cheese — elbow pasta drenched in vegan cheese, piled with buffalo chicken and drizzled with vegan blue cheese. Are these dishes typically served at Thanksgiving? No. But, Turkey Day is all about comfort.
Almost everything is made in-house, said Biroc, including the seitan, all the cheeses and many of the imitation meats, though Biroc admits to using Beyond sausage. “It’s so good,” he said. “Honestly, we can’t do it better ourselves.”
Go: 321 North 8th Street, Prospect Park; 973-553-1513, freakin-vegan.com.
Green Cart Catering, Newton
Chef Marisa Fucci and husband John, owners of the vegan company Green Cart Catering, have drawn inspiration from the original Thanksgiving feast for their menu.
“There are so many great dishes that Native Americans made,” said Marisa. “We thought, let’s bring those together for the holiday.”
These modern interpretations of traditional American meals include corn and potato chowder; wild rice salad with tart cranberries; warm quinoa tossed with sweet potato and green apples; succotash with lima beans and corn; and Three Sisters Stew, a traditional Native American dish with beans, corn and squash.
“The Three Sisters Stew is a favorite,” said Marisa. “I make it at home, too. My family loves it.”
Marisa started out as a literature teacher and would work at restaurants over the summer. Her father also owned restaurants when she was growing up. John had experience in catering. So, the couple decided to open an all-vegan catering company together, based in Newton, with Marisa (who is vegan) doing all the cooking.
Soups are $25 per quart. Salads are $50 for a half-tray, $90 for a full. Sides are $60 for a half-tray, $90 for a full. Mains are $65 for a half-tray, $100 for a full. Add on a pumpkin pie for $40. Deadline for orders is Nov. 19. Meals will be delivered on Nov. 24.
Go: Place delivery orders by calling 201-885-4425 or going to greencartcatering.com.
Jam Cakery & Rockin’ Raw, Jersey City
Chef Tere Fox and Luis Salgado, who used to own Rockin’ Raw Restaurant in Brooklyn, now run an online vegan service of the same name based in Jersey City. For Thanksgiving, Rockin’ Raw is offering trays of shepherd’s pie with portobello gravy and veggie meat ($13); spinach tofu lasagna ($60); stuffed acorn squash and butternut squash with garlic herb quinoa ($15); and more.
Fox and Salgado’s bakery, Jam Cakery, has vegan desserts covered. Pies range from pumpkin marshmallow to apple peach to s’mores ($35 to $45). More of a cake person? Try the cranberry apple crumble cake or German chocolate or sticky toffee pudding cake ($40 to $55). And why not throw in some hemp fudge brownies (6 for $18) or apple cider and chocolate donuts (6 for $14)?
“All items are vegan, made by vegans,” said Fox. “We use only the best local and organic ingredients when possible and never use white sugar in our desserts.”
Organic cane sugar and raw agave are used as sweeteners. Most of Jam Cakery’s treats are also free of gluten, soy and nuts. Deadline for orders is Nov. 22.
Go: 326 5th St., Jersey City; jamcakeryevents.com. Place orders at [email protected] or by calling 201-292-3088.
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Papa Ganache, Cranford
Vegan bakery Papa Ganache is mainly known for its desserts. But, it also has a catering menu with savory options including mushroom risotto with shiitake “bacon”; “meatloaf” and mashed potatoes; and shepherd’s pie.
And for dessert… there are too many options to list. Carrot cake, crème brulee, brownies… Just head to the website and let your sweet tooth guide you.
Go: 106 N. Union Ave., Cranford; 908-287-5333, papaganache.com.
Salt + Seed, Jersey City
Vegan meal service Salt + Seed has a huge menu of sides for Thanksgiving. We’re talking baked macaroni and “cheese” ($28 to $70); “bacon,” “parmesan” and chestnut stuffing ($25 to $70); shepherd’s pie with gravy ($40 to $95); and pumpkin mousse cake ($50). Sizes can be adjusted to suit the number of vegans at your table.
“Everything is homemade and handcrafted,” owner Kimberly Jeanette told The Record. “We don’t just slice up a stick of tofu and deep fry it. Everything is fresh, made to order.”
Go: 210 Hudson St., Jersey City. Order from saltandseedeats.com.
True Food Kitchen, Hackensack
True Food Kitchen, a bustling quick-service, health-focused restaurant in The Shops at Riverside, opened earlier this year. Its vegan autumn catering options are a bit unconventional for Thanksgiving. But, if Korean noodle bowls with sweet potato glass noodles and pickled shiitake; or ancient grains bowls with miso sesame glaze sound like a fun addition to your table, True Food Kitchen has you covered.
Go: 390 Hackensack Ave., Hackensack; 551-295-7401, truefoodkitchen.com/locations/hackensack.
Rebecca King is a food writer for NorthJersey.com. For more on where to dine and drink, please subscribe today and sign up for our North Jersey Eats newsletter.
Email: [email protected]