Thanksgiving is around the corner, and the thoughts of cooks around the country are fixed on The Menu. The good host will take into consideration the needs and preferences of all their guests. Some of those guests may be vegetarian.
I'm not a vegetarian but I used to be and I remember plenty of holiday meals that were less than hearty for me. I skipped the main course, and majored on potatoes, stuffing and vegetables.
I didn't mind but on the other hand, a host who can lay their table with the vegetarians among them in mind will earn a special place in the hearts and memories of their vegetarian guests.
Many meat-eaters focus mainly on the bird, and vegetables can be considered more of a garnish or window dressing as opposed to a hearty part of the meal.
The ambitious cook may consider providing a tofu turkey or loaf as an entree for their vegetarian guests. These dishes can be glazed or done with a marinade to make them special.
And of course, a meatless entree doesn't have to pretend to be turkey. Meatless chili, pasta, couscous,vegetable-based stew are just a few ideas that can help make your dinner a success for everyone.
Your vegetarians will appreciate a variety of side dishes. Traditional Thanksgiving accompaniments include potatoes, squash, sweet potatoes. In some parts of the country, a green bean casserole is often a part of the holiday dinner.
Other veggies can be cooked like green beans, peas and carrots, or raw like celery, peppers, radishes. Raw vegetables can be laid out on a platter with dip, or tossed together in a salad.
For the vegetarian, pumpkin isn't just for pie, though a vegan pumpkin pie (no milk or cream) wouldn't go amiss either. This holiday squash can also make great soup, bread or muffins.
What to Watch Out For
If you're not familiar with vegetarianism, you'll need to be aware of a few things that should be avoided. Things that might not seem readily apparent to the uninitiated.
Some stuffings are prepared with turkey stock and pan drippings. They may also contain cut up giblets (organs) and bits of turkey meat. For the vegetarian this is right off the list of consumables.