There are lots of ways to have a tasty vegetarian thanksgiving even if you aren’t vegetarian. You may want to cut expenses, please your vegan friends or just try something new and delicious. It’s more than possible with our handy tips.
If you’re hosting Thanksgiving dinner at your house and are expecting vegetarian guests this year, don’t worry about preparing one large meat eating meal, and another separate vegetarian meal. Most vegetarians do not require a ‘meat equivalent’ at Thanksgiving.
Yes, traditionally Thanksgiving has largely been about the food. But more importantly it’s about family, togetherness, happiness and peace.
And if this is your first Thanksgiving after transitioning to a vegetarian lifestyle, try some of these ideas to incorporate healthy food preparation into your meal that your vegetarian guests, and you as host, will be thankful for this Thanksgiving:
1. Vegetarian Stuffing: Bake some stuffing outside of the turkey. Frankly I do this anyway. Way easier and just as good. Use vegetable broth for liquid in place of the more traditional meat broth.
2. Vegetarian Gravy: Make a small portion of vegetarian gravy. See recipe below.
This is great to make for Thanksgiving to serve over mashed potatoes or for biscuits and gravy. It starts the same as most gravy recipes by making a "white sauce" (the butter and flour) but adding in vegetable broth and seasonings instead of milk or any meat broth. The miso paste, soy sauce and onion powder will add delicious flavor. They are good vegetarian staples for your pantry, too.
1 tablespoon butter (or substitute)
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3 cups vegetable broth
2 tablespoons miso paste
2 tablespoons warm water
2 teaspoons soy sauce
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1. In a small bowl combine miso and warm water; stir until miso has dissolved.
2. In a 2 quart saucepan, melt butter over low to medium heat. Stir in flour until well blended. Cook and stir for a few minutes, till flour has lost it's raw taste. Be careful not to burn it. Lower temperature if necessary.
3. Add vegetable broth, miso mixture, soy sauce and onion powder.
4. Cook, stirring, over medium heat, until thickened.
Makes 2.5 cups
3. Keep Cooking and Serving Utensils Separate: Prevent "cross-contamination" between meat foods and vegetarian foods by having separate cooking tools and then providing a serving spoon for each dish. Some vegetarians have digestion problems with meat and greasy foods.
Ask your guests to be careful if you think there may be a problem. One trick is to have some special serving spoons - choose all one color, like red or green, if you can find them, and ask that they stay with each dish.
One other trick especially if you can't find separate utensils is to use a plate under your vegetarian serving bowls with a green paper doily or napkin underneath , making it clear which dishes are vegetarian only.
4. Adapt Your Recipe: When recipes are adaptable, use substitutions like vegetarian broth, soy margarine (the formulations without whey are suitable for vegans), soy milk, and kosher marshmallows which are made without gelatin.
5. Replace Animal Fats: Use vegetable oils instead of animal fats for frying, and vegetable shortening like Crisco for pie crust. Read ingredient lists carefully on pre-packaged foods, being aware of terms like gelatin, whey, and "natural flavors" that can be animal-derived. Your vegan guests may be able to recommend some products.
6. Basics Vegetables and Fruits: Prepare plenty of vegetable and fruit side dishes, but leave them plain.
7. Breads and Grains: Offer plenty of breads, grains, beverages, fresh fruits, and non-gelatin desserts, which are suitable without modification for most vegetarians.
8. Try a Vegetarian Dish: Invite your vegetarian guest to prepare a “Tofurky” or vegetarian ‘turkey equivalent’ entrée to share with you the rest of your guests, or if you’re hosting Thanksgiving, prepare a small one.
Dishes like this Paprika-Roasted Tempeh and Veggies are easy to prepare (start the marinade the day before) and it can be popped in the oven once the turkey is out. Takes about 25 minutes + 20 minutes roasting time if you use their tip and slice it thin.
Your meat-eating guests might just be curious enough to want to try it! But make sure the vegetarian only guests get their fill.
There are also options you can make or purchase, like burgers made with black beans or cashews.
9. Ask For Help: Ask your vegetarian guest for help, tips, or recipes that would complement their vegetarian choice. You may find that your guest offers to help out in the kitchen or bring a dish from home. Please don't take a dish brought from their home as an insult to your cooking; take it as a desire to share traditions at Thanksgiving. Even meat-eating homes can benefit from a healthy, nutrient-dense vegetarian recipe idea any time of the year!
Besides, remember these tips to have a Stress-Free Thanksgiving holiday?
10. Most importantly – make TONS of delicious (not overly cooked) vegetables that are perfectly in season and deliciously colorful like squashes, sweet potatoes, and green beans, etc.
See Best Veggies 5 Ways and Best Meatless Meal below.
Here are some vegetable dishes to try with your tasty Vegetarian Thanksgiving celebration. Make extra, they are sure to be a hit with everyone, not just vegetarians.
Tasty Vegetarian Thanksgiving: Return To Homepage
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