Thanksgiving is just around the corner, and many are eagerly awaiting spending “Turkey Day” with friends and family.
So what’s on the menu?
Common holiday dishes like stuffing, mashed potatoes, and of course the Thanksgiving turkey are likely to appear on tables across the country.
It is the time for friends and family to come together over some traditional foods, but for vegans and vegetarians, holiday meals can get a little bit tricky.
While vegan options exist for most traditional holiday dishes and sides, others may require the family chefs to get a little more crafty when devising their recipes.
A quick internet search will provide nearly limitless ideas for creating and tweaking favorite holiday foods, as well as suggestions for meat and dairy alternatives.
Many grocery stores will carry vegetarian turkey, which can be prepped and cooked in almost the same fashion as the real bird, making the main staple of the holiday an almost seamless transition.
Other sides may have to be reexamined, but most dishes will easily translate into a vegan or vegetarian rendition by simply omitting or substituting a handful of ingredients.
This does not mean cooks catering to their vegan or vegetarian friends and family members must construct an entirely meatless meal, but making smaller portions of veg-friendly dishes in addition to their standard spread will demonstrate a sense of welcomeness and acceptance.
After all, is that not the spirit of the holiday season?
For those vegans and vegetarians attending someone’s holiday dinner, do not feel shy about addressing your dietary restrictions. Give the host a fair warning in advance so they can adjust their culinary game plan, but be open about what you do or do not eat.
Most people will be happy to accommodate one’s dietary restrictions so long as they have adequate time to prepare.
If you are struggling to come up with recipes to serve your vegan and vegetarian company, the internet is a nearly infinite source of ideas and interpretations of holiday favorites.
Feel free to bring a vegan or vegetarian dish of your own, this will put less pressure on your host, and can also be shared with your friends and family to show them how easy and delicious eating vegan and vegetarian can be.
Vegans may have a more difficult experience in navigating the assortment of pies, sauces and green bean casseroles around the dinner table, as dairy tends to creep into recipes where it may not be expected.
If one of your vegan or vegetarian friends or family members asks about the contents of a particular dish, understand they are not trying to be difficult, nor do they wish to come across as critical or pretentious.
By understanding and respecting each other’s dietary lifestyles you can still enjoy the shared experience of holiday dinner with those you care about, regardless of what’s on their plate.