My family had not one, but two Thanksgiving dinners this past weekend, one at my sister-in-law's house and one here at home. So, this What I Ate Wednesday, be prepared for a lot of photos of vegan turkey!
Speaking of vegan turkey, a friend of mine recently asked me what to feed a visiting vegetarian for Thanksgiving. Her question made me think that maybe there are others with the same dilemma. So, here is my little primer on what to feed a veg head for Thanksgiving.
What to Feed Your Vegetarian Friends for Thanksgiving
- If you're feeling generous, buy a vegan holiday roast. My favourite is Gardein's version, which comes fully stuffed with a delicious cranberry dressing. It also comes with vegan gravy. Once you have this turkey/protein alternative down, you can basically feed your vegetarian friends all of your usual vegetable side dishes.
- If a roast isn't in the budget, make my all-time favourite recipe, lentils and rice. It's easy, it's inexpensive, it's delicious and it makes a big bunch, so all the carnivores can eat it too! I find that this dish goes well with pretty much every kind of dinner and the lentils have protein, so you can build a meal around it. It's also free of gluten, so you can feed your gluten-free friends too!
For Your Vegan Friends
- If you have a vegan dinner guest, use vegan margarine and non-dairy milk alternatives when making your mashed potatoes. I use soy milk and I find it works well.
- If you cook your sweet potatoes with butter, use margarine instead. Or, leave some of the cooked sweet potatoes aside before you add the butter.
- Same goes for the potatoes. If you insist upon dairy in your mashed potatoes, keep some of the cooked potato chunks aside. Do what my Italian mother-in-law does - drizzle the potato chunks with olive oil and sprinkle on some salt. Maybe add fresh parsley. Squish them a bit with a fork (not to mash, just to smoosh a bit) and they are good to go!
- Don't forget about apple and cranberry sauces - pretty much everybody can eat those!
- A green salad topped with dried cranberries and pecans couldn't hurt either.
Your vegetarian friends will be okay with most desserts, as long as there's no lard in the pie crust. For your vegan friend, take a look at some of the recipes on my recipes page. Try this easy Anything Goes Fruit Crisp. Or ask your friend if she can bring along a tasty vegan dessert. She might like the opportunity to show people that vegan baked goods can indeed be delicious. Chocolate chip cookies usually do the trick!
What I Ate
Now for our Thanksgiving dinners. I never have to worry about eating well at my sister-in-law's house. With the combined cooking efforts of my sister-in-law and my mother-in-law, there is always a feast to be had, whatever your dietary restrictions. Often my mother-in-law will make a meat lasagna, a vegan tofu lasagna and a dairy-free meat lasagna.
This time they served turkey, so my mother-in-law bought us a Gardein roast. But first we started with my sister-in-law's delicious sweet potato soup made with coconut cream (above).
I then had a couple of slices of the Gardein roast, with corn on the cob, broccoli, zucchini fritters, cranberry sauce and my sister-in-law's delicious stuffing. (She made a version with sliced vegan sausage for my family.)
She put out a beautiful fruit platter for dessert - or should I say pre-dessert - we had a selection of desserts with champagne later on too. I neglected to photograph the desserts, probably because I was too busy stuffing my face!
That was Sunday. On Monday, we had a little dinner at home, just me, the husband and the kids. We had another vegan roast, cooked with potatoes, onions and carrots. I made the optional orange juice tamari marinade suggested on the Gardein vegan roast box. It gives the veggies a lovely flavour. We also had mashed potatoes, steamed cauliflower, cranberries, sweet potatoes cooked in margarine and brown sugar, salad and some of my sister-in-law's stuffing.
Guess what I had for lunch on Tuesday? Yes, leftovers.
And dinner on Tuesday? Yes, more leftovers. I'm all out of leftovers now. Luckily I'm meeting some friends for a sushi dinner tonight!
What do you serve on Thanksgiving?
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