Many people are shunning meat and aligning with the vegetarian side, either for health reasons or personal preference. There is high chance to have a vegan guest sitting at the Thanksgiving table one time or another. It is good to have a meal planned for that occasion. Find here some delicious ideas sure to please your vegan guest, and so will any meat eater lucky enough to share that meal.
A Vegan Thanksgiving Guest
He’s bringing home a what?!? You just got off the phone with your son, the great news is that he wants to bring home his girlfriend for the Holidays. The bad news? He wants to bring home his girlfriend. Oh, and she’s a Vegan. Of course your family is strictly the meat and potatoes type. Thanksgiving is coming up, not much time to prep, and you know that your family will not go for a fake turkey. Besides, where are you suppose to find one of those? Lucky for you I have been on both sides. The Vegan girlfriend that was brought home, and the meat eating parent.
Keep your Turkey. If the majority of your family eats turkey, than leave it alone! Your guest should respect your decision, and be happy with what you have accommodated for your guest. Many Vegans will secretly and sometimes not so secretly bring a few things for themselves to eat. As a host, I know that this can make you uncomfortable, I also know that young ideals can be easily bruised, as well as outspoken. Just remember try not to feel insulted by your guest. They should sit down and break bread with you, as long as it is a vegan bread.
The center piece for most American families on this day is that beautifully bronzed turkey. We all have our traditional ways of cooking the bird, and sometimes will go rogue and try a different one each year. Your Vegan guest however, will have nothing to do with it. A gorgeous addition to your table, and something that everyone can eat, your guest as a main meal, and your family as a side, is a baked pumpkin. Pasta and pumpkin are surprisingly wonderful partners. And if your guest is a vegetarian, not Vegan, four tablespoons of Ricotta cheese can be added to the mix. Or you can try a shepherdess' pie for the main event.
But now you need side dishes. Dairy products and meat stocks are a no no. You can have your basic salad, just leave out any hard boiled eggs you might use, or keep them on the side as a deviled egg for the rest of your family. A potato and radish salad can do wonders for a happy belly. Forget the green bean casserole and serve a warm peas and lettuce dish. Mighty Mushrooms, asparagus mimosa, steamed broccoli with an orange-ginger dressing, and green beans with toasted walnuts, are also good replacements for your traditional vegetable sides.
Stuffing can be an issue. Many of us use a meat stock, chunks of meat, or cook it right in the bird. If your family considers it to be not a true Thanksgiving without your famous stuffing, than go for it. I would still think about another stuffing to not only make your guest happy, but also to feel welcome and part of the family. You can make your own stuffing, replacing any meat stock with a vegetable stock, chunks of meat with dried pears, and replacing any butter with sunflower margarine. Or make a delicious couscous stuffing.
Cranberry sauce is typically ok for the vegan guest, but I also mix it up anyway because it can be too boring. Might I suggest a curried apple-cranberry chutney instead.
A Thanksgiving dinner might seem incomplete without the sweet potato casserole. Lots of butter and for some, marshmallows. But there is an alternative to making it a little more vegan friendly, and with this vegan sweet potato casserole, you shouldn’t miss your old recipe. Making a sweet potato biscuit is also a good way to incorporate the traditional tuber.
Speaking of breads, most of your traditional rolls can be made substituting your dairy with soy milk, and butter with a variety of specialty margarines. But if you are in the mood to try something else, I would suggest a rosemary focaccia or an Indian fried bread.
Dessert might meet your family with hesitation. Moving away from your traditional pies can cause some concern. You don’t need to leave the apple or pumpkin pie behind, what you can do is add a variation to the table. An orange, honey and mint terrine is a good palate cleanser, or a French apple cake might be the way to go.
Which ever way you decide to accommodate your guest, don’t be afraid to try new dishes, but try to keep you meat based foods on a side table, it helps your vegan guest to feel more welcome. And try to keep old Uncle John’s vegan jokes to a minimum, at least until your guest becomes a full fledged part of the family.