As I mentioned in my Vegan Garlic Rosemary Potatoes post on Monday, Dave asked me “What do vegans/vegetarians eat for Thanksgiving”. I was a vegetarian for 12 years, only starting to eat fish in the past 6 years or so. I still don’t eat land animals and shy away from dairy. So I thought I had a pretty good reference for what vegans and vegetarians may eat for Thanksgiving!
Feed a Vegetarian
We don’t all want Tofurkey. Some may, some may not. You should probably ask before you assume. I can tell you from personal experience I have no clue what turkey tastes like and I don’t really need something that “looks like it” on my plate. Give me veggies, potatoes, stuffing, and all the pie! Or you could serve me this turkey:
This turkey is roasted garlic hummus, red and yellow bell peppers, carrots sliced thin and cauliflower feet! Another great vegetarian appetizer is Roasted Cinnamon Maple Carrots!
If you end up hosting Thanksgiving at your home and find out you have a vegetarian or vegan guest, don’t fret, here are some simple tips:
1. Ask guests prior to meal planning if they have any dietary restrictions.
If anyone responds yes, ask them if there is a favorite dish you can make them. If they have one, ask for the recipe and make it (unless they volunteer to make it). Don’t ask them to bring it unless you are asking others to bring a dish as well. Maybe this is just me but if you are hosting a meal and cooking for everyone else, don’t make one person feel excluded by making them bring their own dish. They are likely going to need space in your kitchen which you probably didn’t plan for. Just make the dish for them. I’m just sayin!
2. Make sure you cook as much of the meal with their dietary restrictions in mind.
For vegans and vegetarians, this means use vegetable stock. For people with gluten allergies, this may mean making a wild rice stuffing or cornbread stuffing. If you use ingredients that you know the person cannot have, quietly pull them aside and let them know.
3. If you want to jazz up a dish with turkey, ham, bacon, scallops, etc. take a portion aside before you add the extra goodies. Same goes for putting the stuffing inside the bird!
Fun fact: I once was served stuffing that was cooked inside the turkey. I’ve never been so sick in my life. That could have been avoided if someone just took out a small portion of the stuffing and cooked it in a small bowl separately. I even asked “Can I eat this, and the response was that it didn’t have any meat in it!” Lesson learned for this girl. Ask lots of questions!
4. Send out a menu if you have time, this will hopefully help relieve any issues ahead of time.
It’s true that most Thanksgiving dinners are your typical potatoes, stuffing, rolls, and turkey dinners. But it’s always nice to give a heads up to anyone that may have an intolerance to food or a diet lifestyle choice.
So what are some items you may not think about when looking at your recipe that vegans/vegetarians may not eat:
- Chicken stock, beef stock, turkey stock
- Bacon fat, ham hock, or other animal fat in your vegetables/food
- Marshmallow (the gelatin isn’t vegetarian)
- Eggs (vegans do not eat eggs, most vegetarians eat eggs but it’s best to ask)
- Milk, including butter (vegans do not eat eggs, most vegetarians consume milk but it’s best to ask)
- Cream of chicken (vegetarians and vegans), cream of mushroom (vegans)
- Cheesecake (vegans), whipped cream (vegans)
- Honey (vegan)
So what can you use?
- Vegetarian stock
- Mushroom gravy
- Coconut oil
- Replace marshamallow with cinnamon sugar topping or use marshmallow fluff (which is egg whites but vegetarian friendly)
- Flax or chia seeds to replace eggs
- Coconut milk, coconut butter, almond milk are all good options. You can also serve vegan cheese, vegan butter and vegan cream cheese
- Maple syrup or agave nectar
What About You?
- Any vegetarian/vegan horror stories for your holidays?
- Anyone have a vegetarian or vegan they need to cook for? Any tips?