Turkey day is upon us, but if you’re a vegetarian, you may be looking to take the turkey out of the holiday! With some careful planning, smart substitutions, and some consideration for your guests, you’ll be able to host a perfect vegetarian Thanksgiving feast that is sure to leave everyone satisfied!
When hosting a vegetarian Thanksgiving feast, it’ll take a lot of preparation for both you and some of your guests before the party even starts! To observe proper etiquette, you’ll want to inform your guests ahead of time that you are preparing a vegetarian meal. This will give meat eaters a heads up that there won’t be any meat offerings that they’d find on a traditional Thanksgiving table!
There can be a certain pressure on you as a host on your choice to serve a vegetarian meal, and how you deal with that is up to you! As a vegetarian or vegan, it’s certain that you’ve been in the exact situation your meat-eating guests will be in right now, with offerings that you may not like or can’t eat, and you may feel pressure to accommodate to their tastes. The key is to be flexible, and do whatever you are comfortable with! If you would like, you can still cook up some meat for your feast, or purchase precooked meats from the store. If you are firm that you will not cook or buy meat, you could always allow guests to bring along a non-vegetarian dish! Again, this is up to you as a host! Just remember to handle the situation with sensitivity while firmly standing by your beliefs!
In the instance where you will offer dishes with meat or meat products, be sure to label these dishes so that true vegetarians don’t accidentally consume meat unknowingly, which can compromise beliefs or cause medical issues! But as a vegetarian host, you are probably already aware and can take preventative measures to ensure that nobody’s palates are violated!
There are several different ways to approach your menu when planning a vegetarian Thanksgiving Day feast! Should you keep things traditional or go off the beaten path? Meat alternatives or vegetable dishes all the way? Here are some things to consider while figuring out the main course!
Traditional Thanksgiving Dishes
There are actually a few different traditional dishes that you have already seen on the Thanksgiving dinner table that are vegetarian, especially if you still eat dairy and eggs! Green bean casserole, candied yams, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, dinner rolls, vegetable sides, squash, and other classic dishes can be made without straying away from cherished Thanksgiving tastes! Whether you decide to include these dishes or create a unique menu is up to you!
If you’re a converted vegetarian who still craves the taste of the hallmark Thanksgiving feast, turkey substitutes can be a great middle ground for you and your meat-eaters! There are plenty of turkey substitutes out there, from soy-based imitations like Tofurky, to DIY seitan turkey, which is made from wheat gluten that yields a tasty alternative! One of the most highly praised substitutions for traditional turkey is the savory stuffed turk’y patties from Gardein that taste just like a Thanksgiving feast rolled into one great bite! If you don’t want to keep things traditional, you can serve a number of great vegetable dishes instead of a turkey alternative, like vegetarian shepherd’s pie or pumpkin pot pie!
If you are looking to keep your Thanksgiving feast on the traditional side, there are plenty of ways to easily convert classic recipes into vegetarian-friendly dishes that everyone will surely love! Instead of meat-based gravy, opt for a mushroom gravy or a gravy with a vegetable broth or stock base! Use that vegetable broth and leave out the meat to make vegetarian stuffing! With a bit of thinking and some smart converting, traditional Thanksgiving side dishes can be made vegetarian!
Great news! Thanksgiving desserts are, for the most part, great for vegetarians just they way they are! If you’re a lacto-ovo vegetarian (a vegetarian that still eats dairy and eggs), there aren’t a lot of desserts that you’ll have to avoid and plan around for your vegetarian feast! As long as pie crusts or other dessert components don’t use lard or animal fat, most desserts are fair game for Thanksgiving Day feasting, so dig into that pumpkin pie!
No matter what you decide to serve for your tasty vegetarian Thanksgiving feast, it’s sure to be a huge hit! From traditional foods to meatless substitutions and completely vegetarian dishes, you’ll be the ultimate Thanksgiving Day host!
Do you have a favorite vegetarian Thanksgiving dish that's a big hit? Share it with us in the comments!