Vegan guests for Thanksgivings?

Vegan guests for Thanksgivings?
By Mickey Zeldes  November 20, 2014

If you’re like most Americans, you’re probably starting to buy food and plan the menu for the big meal next week. The hard part is juggling everyone’s tastes and dietary restrictions. People are not shy anymore about stating what they can’t and won’t eat. There is certain to be at least one person at your table that is not eating gluten, carbs, salt, sugar, oil, dairy or animal products. What a challenge!

If you prepare a healthy vegan meal, you can meet most of those requirements and have the added benefits of being environmentally responsible and humane. Trust me, the turkeys will thank you. At the least, incorporate a few vegan dishes so that everyone can have a delicious meal.

Here are some suggestions and resources, although Googling “vegan thanksgiving” came up with 20,000,000 posts. Obviously, I’m not the only person thinking about and writing about this topic.

Most traditional recipes can be made vegan with just a few adjustments. Substitute vegetable stock for chicken stock; Rice, almond or soymilk for dairy milk; vegetable margarine for butter, etc. Those are simple things that most people wouldn’t even notice if you didn’t point it out. When you think about it, most of the typical side dishes are vegetables anyway – squash, green beans, mashed potatoes, and cranberries. So if you don’t add any meat to them, you already have plenty of delicious food for all to enjoy.

There are several items on the market now that can be featured as a main dish, and there are just as many opinions on the appropriateness of having a “turkey” substitute. Tofurky has a seitan roll with stuffing, Gardein also has a stuffed “turkey” as well as a holiday “roast,” Quorn has a vegetarian (not vegan) turkey, Harvest Celebration has a field roast, and Vegetarian Plus has gone all out and has a whole turkey (looks like the real thing complete with drumsticks).

These are all options for those of you who don’t want the work involved in creating your own centerpiece dish.

If you are willing to try your hand at a new recipe, there are many delicious ones to try. One of my favorite cookbooks is “The Vegan Table” by Colleen Patrick-Goudreau. Don’t want to try a turkey substitute? How about just stuffing a squash with a wild rice recipe? Yum! Everything on this Huffington Post page looked delicious:

It doesn’t take much skill, just a little creativity to make a delicious cruelty-free meal.

For those of you who would rather be surrounded by like-minded vegetarians, there is a vegan potluck on Thanksgiving Day, 3 p.m. at Monroe Hall, 1400 W. College Ave. in Santa Rosa. Details can be obtained at All are welcome to attend.

Whatever you choose – to buy, to make, to go elsewhere and just eat, here’s wishing all of you a wonderful thanksgiving holiday!

1 Comment on "Vegan guests for Thanksgivings?"

  • Thanks so much for blogging about the vegan options available for Thanksgiving! It’s becoming more and more apparent to people that enjoying a delicious, satisfying holiday meal does not need to involve the death of an animal. And I agree: Colleen’s book is wonderful!

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