What Do Vegetarians Eat for Thanksgiving?

Funny vegetarian save a turkey thanksgiving shirt

Funny vegetarian save a turkey thanksgiving shirt

Funny Save a Turkey Vegetarian Thanksgiving Shirt
Thanksgiving has a special place in my heart, because I chose the day after Thanksgiving to become a vegetarian, way back in 1983. I liked turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, and stuffing, and I wanted to eat that one more time before giving it all up.

Every year, more and more families are faced with the question of what to serve a vegetarian for Thanksgiving. Turkey is obviously out–but a slab of tofu or can of beans won’t exactly cut it, will it?

The good news is, other than the turkey, vegetarians have a lot to eat. All the side dishes are usually vegetarian, unless they are made with bacon, for example.

Vegetarian Friendly Thanksgiving Dishes

  • Mashed Potatoes
  • Stuffing (made without giblets or meat-based stock)
  • Cranberry Sauce
  • Gravy (made without giblets, pan drippings, or meat-based stock)
  • Peas
  • Brussel Sprouts
  • Green Bean Casserole (made without bacon)
  • Sweet Potatoes or Yams
  • Pumpkin Pie

Here is a vegan pumpkin pie recipe that I’ve used for years. It uses nondairy milk and cornstarch as thickener. It sets up better if chilled.

Watch Out for These Ingredients

Meat-based stock
Bacon
Gelatin (in some pies, especially chiffon pies)
Marshmallows (contain gelatin, an animal product)
Giblets

Some vegetarians are more easy-going than others. Some will be willing to pick bacon out of a green bean casserole and still eat it, while others won’t touch anything that has had any animal products in it.

So what’s a vegetarian to do?

It makes sense to call your hosts ahead of time and tell them you’re a vegetarian. It takes some guts, because there are often long-standing traditions involved in family get-togethers, and Grandma may not be willing to change her potato salad recipe and take out the canned tuna.

But often you will find that people don’t WANT you to go hungry. Instead, they just may not know what to do, or what to make, or what you eat, or anything!

So it helps to bring along a dish you know you can eat. Whenever I go to a potluck, I take a dish I know I can eat and that I can depend on to be relatively filling, in case there is nothing else, or not much else, I can eat there.

And that often means the dish should have a fair amount of protein in it. While you may be perfectly happy eating carrot sticks, olives and tortilla chips, it doesn’t pack the same punch as a bean salad might, for example.

Spread the yum

An added benefit of bringing a dish to share is that others can taste your food. And they may discover they like it. And it may help to open some minds.

Very often I let people eat my food without even telling them what’s in it. Because people are much more likely to consider trying soy yogurt, for example, if they taste the Pumpkin Smoothie it’s made with first. Then they say, “Mmm, that’s good! What’s in it?”

And you can tell them it’s got soy yogurt in it. Whereas if you had asked them if they wanted to try some soy yogurt, the odds are they would have scrunched up their nose and ran away to the clam dip as fast as they could.

I’ll do a separate post on what sorts of substitutions you can make to your Thanksgiving dishes to make them vegetarian or vegan. In the meantime, here are some recipes for you:

This Pea Salad can be made either with or without dairy. It got lots of great feedback when it was served to over 200 unsuspecting victims (uh, I mean, guests…)

Or use the idea for these beans and greens and sub some winter greens, such as kale, in place of the broccoli raab. This is also a vegan dish.

These Stuffed Intestines could be formed into shorter logs, or you could simply brush the top with the ketchup instead of making it look so gory, and re-name it stuffed pastry, or something un-Halloween related.

Whatever you decide to do, remember to give thanks for the blessings in your life, including loved ones, a place to call home, and, of course, delicious food!

Happy Thanksgiving!

One Response to What Do Vegetarians Eat for Thanksgiving?

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