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Thanksgiving For Veggies And Non-Veggies Alike

Five percent of those who celebrate Thanksgiving consider themselves vegetarians. What does that mean for a meal centered on cooked turkey?

Thanksgiving Decorations

Photo: Mark Mrwizard (Flickr)

This year, I'm thankful for my friends.

Talking Turkey

Growing up in small-town Ohio, I didn’t encounter vegetarianism frequently. Turkey at Thanksgiving has been a given for me my entire life — at least until I was tasked with hosting a potluck for 12 of my friends, some of which were long-time vegetarians, some new to vegetarianism, and one vegan.

This presented two issues for me. First, what should I do for the vegetarians/vegans? I don’t want my friends to feel like an afterthought, or that they have to “work around” the “traditional” meat-heavy meal.

The second issue was the meat itself, as I had never attempted to roast a turkey before.

I reached out to my friends for suggestions. Do you want fake meat? What about side dishes? Can I keep all foods appropriately separate as to avoid cross-contamination? What could I prepare with oil instead of butter to make an otherwise vegetarian dish vegan?

“Fake” Meats

According to a recent Gallup Poll, five percent of Americans celebrating Thanksgiving this year consider themselves vegetarian, and two percent vegan.

“Fake” meats like Tofurkey are an option if imitating meat at a veggie-friendly Thanksgiving table. However, as registered dietitian and spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, Vandana Sheth, warns in the Huffington Post, these proteins are still heavily processed. “Vegan” doesn’t necessarily mean “healthy.”

After polling my friends, no “fake” meats made their way into my dinner.

Instead, one vegetarian who has only been practicing since January brought veggie lasagna. My vegan friend happily made vegan stuffing and gravy to go along with the bevy of roasted vegetables that arrived on the potluck table.

Hosting An Event?

If you’re not sure what to make, check out some of the links below. If you still need more information, a Google search will yield a host of vegetarian and vegan-friendly dishes.

You can also do what I did – ask your friends. In the end, all of my guests were pleased, and no one seemed to feel left out.

In case you were wondering, the roasted turkey also turned out fine.

Read More:

  • Turkey Time: From Farm To Table (Earth Eats)
  • Schacht Farm Provides Local Turkeys For Thanksgiving (Earth Eats)
  • The Veganette’s Guide To Preparing A Thanksgiving Menu (The Veganette)
Liz Leslie

Liz Leslie is a journalist based in Chicago. When she's not writing about food, she's likely eating food. Or dreaming about food.

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  • ClarkKent46

    I’m a vegetarian but once a year I have a slice of turkey. I also put gravy on the stuffing and mashed potatoes. I make my infamous award losing cranberry sauce and bring it to the host’s house.

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