What Do I Feed a Vegetarian for Thanksgiving Dinner?

(image source)

Ah, Thanksgiving. The ultimate eating holiday, where we are encouraged to “gobble till you wobble.” The turkey gets all the talk, but I’d argue that it’s not the star of the show. Folks are more excited about the dressing, sweet potatoes and pumpkin pie.

That’s why it’s always surprised me when people ask, “What on earth do you eat at Thanksgiving?” The short answer: everything but the turkey.

For the longer answer, will you indulge me with a little story telling? I first met Vore’s Dad’s side of the family at Thanksgiving. They live in Florida, and the holiday made a good excuse for travel and introductions. Not one to rock the boat, Vore was nervous about introducing me, afraid my eating habits might cause a stir. Before we went, I made the decision not to say a word.

I made it through 4 days and a Thanksgiving meal without one person noticing that I didn’t eat meat. It wasn’t until two trips later, when I declined the slice of ham on my eggs benedict, that anyone noticed. And they couldn’t have cared less.

Since I consider myself a bit of an expert on vegetarians and holiday meals, I thought I might share my tips for feeding a vegetarian at Thanksgiving. 

  1. Vegetarian is not vegan. Don’t roll your eyes. I live in the South and many lump these two distinctly different eating practices into one category. For posterity’s sake, butter/milk/cheese/eggs are fine for vegetarians. Vegans eat no animal products.
  2. Tofurky be damned. Please don’t go out of your way to make a vegetarian dish! Drawing attention to us makes us uncomfortable. To be quite honest, plenty of us don’t eat fake meat and 99% of us would rather make a meal of your delicious sides.
  3. Give us a warning. Any vegetarian worth her salt knows that gravy is made with turkey drippings. But please let us know if your famous dressing has hidden sausage crumbles or your sweet potatoes are seasoned with bacon grease.
  4. Make simple substitutions. The absolute easiest I can think of is switching vegetable broth for chicken stock. My mom and I made the change in our family recipe dressing years ago and no one noticed.
  5. Don’t make a big deal about it. Chances are, the vegetarian in your life has no desire to change your eating habits. She’s also probably shy about causing any attention to herself, and has already answered the questions a million times. Please be subtle.

I’ll leave you with a few Thanksgiving-appropriate recipes from this site: 

Soup/Appetizers: Honey Nut Goat Cheese DipButternut Squash Bisque

Sides: Corn CasseroleRoasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes

Desserts: Pumpkin Spice Latte Ice CreamFluff-N-StuffAwfully Similar to Nestle Tollhouse Cookies

Do you guys have any tips for feeding veggies at the holidays? 

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