A vegetarian Thanksgiving | Local News

Have you ever wondered how vegans and vegetarians spend the one holiday which revolves around the cooking and eating of a bird? Maybe you’re having vegetarians over for Thanksgiving dinner or you are transitioning to a more plant-based lifestyle yourself. Either way, being vegetarian or vegan adds extra obstacles to an already stressful day of hard work and family frustration.

If a vegetarian comes to dinner, please do not think us selfish when we choose not to eat the food you’ve been laboring over for hours, it isn’t personal. While we don’t want to offend our hosts by bringing our own main dish, we also don’t want to become the cause of speculation when asked why we haven’t touched the turkey.

Unlike most “veggie people,” I have had the luxury of growing up in a vegetarian family. This has given me the advantage of heading into the holidays knowing my diet is always being kept in mind. This isn’t the case for everyone, however.

“How comfortable will I be with turkey at the table?”

“What if I’m the only person not eating it?”

“Will there be enough for me to eat?”

These are just a few thoughts that may run through the mind of a vegetarian on Thanksgiving.

Spending the day with relatives or friends who don’t share your diet, or maybe don’t understand it, can force a person to be creative. Thanksgiving dinner has a very traditional, set menu. One that many people do not want to see changed.

Can’t imagine a Thanksgiving without turkey? Or gravy? Or your aunt’s famous green bean casserole with bacon? Think of the sides! Mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, dinner rolls, roasted squash, and of course, pumpkin pie. For many vegetarians, this is not only enough, but arguably the best part of any Thanksgiving dinner.

Some veggie families, including my own, incorporate a plant-based main dish. My family and others choose to eat Tofurky. Tofurky is a plant-based roast made from wheat and soy. This alternative offers vegans and vegetarians a heartier, more “meat-like” substitute to the traditional ham or turkey. It’s usually accompanied by Wild Rice Stuffing, roasted vegetables, and mushroom gravy.

Not for you? Other worthy main dishes may include:

Vegan Tofu and Vegetable Pot Pie

• Sautéed veggies, pie crust, & tofu to mimic chicken.

Country “Meatloaf” with Gravy

• Vegan meatloaf made with vegetables and herbs, hearty enough for meat eaters.

Lentil Mushroom Walnut Balls with Cranberry Pear Sauce

• A gluten and soy-free alternative for those with allergies.

(Source: wellvegan.com)

If you are a vegetarian who is stressed about what to eat on the upcoming holiday, consider talking to your host, preparing your own food, or hosting your own Thanksgiving dinner. In my experience, most people are pretty understanding and willing to accommodate a person with vegan and vegetarian dietary restrictions. More and more people are turning to plant-based diets every year, proving that you can have a festive, enjoyable Thanksgiving Day, even without the turkey.

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