Thanksgiving for vegetarians and vegans

November 19, 2012

The traditional Thanksgiving meal is centered around one thing — the turkey. This means Thanksgiving is a particularly tough day for vegetarians and vegans, but living a meat-free lifestyle doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a delicious meal this Thursday. Here are a few menu items that are sure to please everyone at the table.

Vegetarian Stuffing

Skip the meat and use bread for your stuffing this year. Making a vegetarian version is easy and healthy. Bake whole wheat bread, cook your favorite vegetables and then mix them together. Celery, mushrooms and peppers will give your meal a good texture and balance of flavors. Egg can be added as well, but this dish can also be served vegan. Don’t forget to add some spices like thyme and paprika. For some more texture, try adding pecans to your mixture. Instead of chicken stock for moisture, opt for
vegetable broth.

Vegetable Pot Pie

Pot pie is a great comfort food. Even though the chicken version is more common, it can easily be adapted into a vegan or vegetarian version. Choose family-friendly vegetables like potatoes, broccoli and carrots for the filling. You can follow any pot pie recipe and simply exclude the meat to make this dish. Be sure to use vegetable broth, and for an added health bonus use a whole wheat pie crust. This could make a great main dish to substitute for turkey.

Vegan Pumpkin Pie

Along with turkey, another dish that defines this holiday is pumpkin pie. And while vegetarians can enjoy this dish, vegans are often left out of this tradition as well. But not to worry — vegan pie is now commonly made in bakeries. If
baking a pie from scratch seems daunting, research vegan bakeries in your hometown, and simply purchase one. If making pie at home is part your family’s tradition, make sure to use rice or soy milk. Tofu can also help add texture to your vegan pie.

There are many simple ways to make any Thanksgiving dish vegan-friendly. Try using Earth Balance spread instead of butter, and vegan cheese and vegan gravy can be purchased at Whole Foods. Instead of white sugar, use maple syrup. There is no reason why everyone can’t enjoy this holiday and still feel full
after dinner.

A version of this article appeared in the Monday, Nov. 19 print edition. Keerthi Harishankar is a contributing writer. Email her at dining@nyunews.com.

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