Thanksgiving tips and tricks Part 3: Vegetarian

Thanksgiving three: no meat allowed!

Now we move on to what we think of as the least traditional thanksgiving option.  But just because you are serving vegetarian or vegan doesn’t mean that you have to give up a tradition, or that your feast will be compromised. Let’s start with what you can have from the traditional feast:

Mashed potatoes-If you are vegan the trick is to substitute for the milk and butter, which is pretty easily done.  Don’t use a flavored milk substitute though.  Also, remember the seasonings! We add garlic powder, white pepper, and a little salt to our potatoes.

Stuffing- It’s probably more appropriate to use the word dressing here instead of stuffing since the only things getting stuffed is our tummies.  But for a vegetarian version, buy the unseasoned stuffing packet.  Use vegetable broth instead of chicken broth.  You may need to add a little more salt than you do for traditional stuffing, but really that just means that you get to taste test until you get it right!

Gravy- Skip it.  You can make vegetable gravy, and it can be good.  But if your potatoes are done well, you don’t need it and there will be no dry meat to put it on anyway.

Green beans– blanched or steamed is great.  We like to immediately toss them in some olive oil and sprinkle some lemon pepper on them, then serve them warm.  You can also do this with fresh asparagus.

Cranberry sauce– canned or homemade, you are good to go on this.

Rolls-There is good vegan bread in the world.  We also know that sometimes it can be hard to find.  We serve Judy’s Love sticks when we are doing vegan dinners.  And even sometimes when we are not.  Don’t forget that warmed bread is good bread.

Pumpkin pie-assume that everyone will want one slice.  In an 8” pie that’s 6 servings.  Don’t be stingy with pie.

Whipped cream– cool whip is a non-dairy substitute.  Don’t ask what’s in it that makes it nondairy, just enjoy the day.

Wine: Yep, still vegan unless you count yeast…Don’t count yeast then you can have wine.

 

So really the only thing missing is the turkey itself.  You can look at this one of three ways:

  1. There is so much food already do we need to replace the turkey?
  2. What is missing from the plate in terms of nutrition? (Does anyone think about nutrition on Thanksgiving?)
  3. I’m going to cheat and serve tofurkey.

Here are our thoughts:

1. No, you don’t need to replace the turkey. If your table doesn’t look full enough add another fall dish like This amazing potato tart (although it’s not vegan it is vegetarian) or roasted root vegetables, or if you have our Le Creuset braiser try these braised greens (just use veggie stock instead of chicken). The best part about these is that they were made to be served in the dishes that you make them in, so no additional cleanup!

2. Okay, if you are really going to pretend that nutrition has a place at the Thanksgiving table, protein, and leafy greens are missing. A couple of suggestions might be to do a three bean salad. Or a Waldorf salad like this Le Creuset recommended one with Farro and Frisee.

3. Don’t do this. Why go to all the trouble of showing off your cooking skills and then have the “main” attraction come out of a box?  If you must serve something that replaces the turkey try making your own.  It can take a lot of ingredients and it does take a little time, but the benefit is that you have the power to make it taste however you want, and there are no boxes for your guests to find! (try this recipe from One Green Planet Recipes)

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