Vegetarian Thanksgiving Ideas

It’s easy to modify the Thanksgiving menu to include everyone’s food needs. I have tried Tofurkey and really don’t care for it or for other fake meats. However, it’s nice to check with your guests to see what their preferences are. We invited a vegetarian couple to Thanksgiving last year, and they did want to have Tofurkey. They brought it themselves, which was swell.

Baked squash has been frequently recommended as an alternative main dish for vegetarians. Martha Stewart says, “Grace vegetarians at the Thanksgiving table (and beyond) with stuffed baked squash, flecked with crunchy pecans and sweet dried cherries.” Bon Appetit magazine has another beautiful acorn squash recipe, which was first printed in their October 1998 issue (Acorn Squash Stuffed With Wild Rice, Hazelnuts, and Dried Cranberries).

Side dishes and desserts can be enjoyed by everyone. Sweet potatoes, green beans, cranberry sauce, and tossed salad are already meat-free dishes. Other changes to include vegetarian friends at your holiday table are minimal: Leave out sausage or clams when you make the dressing. Don’t add bacon to the green beans. Instead, make mushroom cornbread dressing with vegetable broth and bake some separately from the turkey. Make sure there is no lard in your pie crusts.

Suggested resources

  • The Veggie Table has a long list of ideas for dishes to mix and match for a vegetarian Thanksgiving meal.
  • Author Nava Atlas shares her vegan-friendly menu, which includes cranberry slaw and butternut squash as one of the main dishes.
  • For vegans, Bryanna Clark Grogan has an extensive list of ideas for holiday dinners, including seitan “turkey” and vegan molded (jelled) salad recipes.
  • The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM) advocates a low-fat vegetarian diet with the “New Four Food Groups” for health: whole grains, vegetables, fruit, and legumes. The PCRM Thanksgiving menu is based on these food groups and includes mixed salad greens, squash stew, wild rice and mushroom dressing, cranberry sauce, and pumpkin custard pie (made with soymilk). I would add hummus or bean dip with cut-up vegetables for appetizers to round out the menu.
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  1. Pingback: Planning for Thanksgiving « QC Tester Hobbies: Sustainable Excellence

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