How To Handle Thanksgiving This Year If You’re Vegan

On today's episode of BuzzFeed Daily, we broke down the top pop culture headlines AND discussed vegan Thanksgiving food alternatives. You can listen below or scroll down to read more about the interview!

So let's dive right into it! Recently we talked to Chef Lyana Blount, the creator of Black Rican Vegan, about the best vegan dishes to try this Thanksgiving. Here's some of what we learned:

BuzzFeed Daily: So, before we get into these dishes, would you mind telling us a little bit about yourself and how you got into cooking?

BuzzFeed Daily: When did you start Black Rican Vegan and what made you want to put a vegan spin on traditional Puerto Rican food?

LB: Black Rican Vegan was a thought I had in 2016. That's when I first went vegan and I was learning about how the animals were kind of suffering before they hit our plates. And I was into the holistic lifestyle, so I wanted to make a change to not eat meat. So I started to get creative at home because it was hard to find places that had a lot of vegan options, especially in the Bronx, New York, where I'm from.

So I just started to try out different things. And fast forward four years later, during the pandemic, I picked up the hobby again, once I had time to cook because I was stuck at home and I was like, "OK, I thought of Black Rican Vegan. We already had a logo. Let me just make a blog." So I started to make recipes and show everyone what I was doing with food, and everyone was amazed, and now it's turned into a whole business.

BuzzFeed Daily: So, Thanksgiving is this week, which can be tough for people who don't eat meat or dairy. Do you have any advice for vegans who are attending a more traditional Thanksgiving, where everything is basically swimming in butter?

@peanuts / GIPHY / Via

LB: I would just say to bring your own food. I know my Puerto Rican family, even though it could be just like rice and beans, they put a lot of ham flavoring or meat alternatives into the food. So I know that preparing food for myself before going to the gathering is important. And also, it kind of opens up the family to something new and makes them try out something that you bring. And if it's good and they love it, then it would be something you could bring all the time.

BuzzFeed Daily: I feel like people hear vegan food and they're like, "Oh my gosh, that's so different." But really, there are so many sides to choose from that are vegan. It shouldn't even be that revolutionary. So what do you say to people who turn up their nose at vegan food on Thanksgiving?

@theoffice / GIPHY / Via

LB: I would say that they eat vegan food every day, if they eat vegetables and sweet potato yams and maybe some collard greens without the meat. You're eating vegan all the time, it's not always necessary to have meat on your plate.

BuzzFeed Daily: OK, I want to talk about one of your dishes, Jackfruit "Vernil." Tell us a little bit about this dish.

Photo of Jackfruit "Vernil with a side of plantains, avocado, and rice

LB: So it's kind of a vegan twist on the Puerto Rican traditional dish called pernil. Pernil is pork shoulder that's cooked in the oven and roasted until tender. And I loved it when I was younger, but ever since I went vegan, I wanted to find a different way to kind of enjoy those flavors by not using meat. And I thought that jackfruit would be a perfect substitute. I seen someone make a barbecue pulled pork, and I was like, "OK, well, we use pork to make pernil. Maybe I could do it to make 'vernil.' And that was one of the dishes that kind of blew up my page, and it was just pretty cool to have that alternative and share it with the world and show that you can make vegan options out of traditional dishes.

Black Rican Vegan / Via

BuzzFeed Daily: Up next is your Fried Oyster Mushrooms, which is a spin on fried chicken, and our listeners should definitely go to your website to check out the photo of this dish because it looks amazing. So what was the inspiration for this one?

Photo of a fried oyster mushroom with vegan mac and cheese, collard greens, and sweet potatoes

LB: I was playing around with mushrooms and I seen someone [use mushrooms for] a chicken alternative and I said, "OK, let me try some fried chicken." So I perfected the recipe using flour, potato starch, and some seasonings — and we got some [vegan] fried chicken. And I use oyster mushroom because when it's marinated in seasonings and vegan batter, it gets tenderized, and when you cook it and you bite into it, it looks and kind of tastes like chicken, depending on how you seasoned it.

Black Rican Vegan / Via

BuzzFeed Daily: OK, so the last recipe I want to talk about is vegan meatloaf, which I honestly have not seen that often. How do you go about making vegan meatloaf?

BuzzFeed Daily: Where can our listeners find your delicious food?

LB: Bake Off. Find me on all social media platforms at @BlackRicanVegan, and they can also check out my website

We also discussed how The Last Duel, starring Ben Affleck and Matt Damon, flopped big time at the box office — and who Ridley Scott thinks is to blame.

Photo of Ridley Scott in a tux

He said on WTF with Marc Maron: "I think what it boils down to. What we've got today [are] the audiences who were brought up on these fucking cellphones. The millennian do not ever want to be taught anything unless you're told it on a cellphone.

"This is a broad stroke, but I think we're dealing with it right now with Facebook. This is a misdirection that has happened where it's given the wrong kind of confidence to this latest generation, I think."

Filippo Monteforte / AFP via Getty Images

Plus, the 2021 Grammy nominations are in!

@nerdist / GIPHY / Via

BTS, Olivia Rodrigo, and ABBA were all nominated for the first time, and "Agatha All Along" from WandaVision was nominated for Best Visual Media.

Meanwhile, Jay-Z snagged three nominations, bringing him up to 83 total — the most of anyone.

As always, thanks for listening! And if you ever want to suggest stories or just want to say hi, you can reach us at