• Gabriele Eubanks

How to have a tasteful meatless Thanksgiving

Veganism and vegetarianism are on the rise in the U.S. with more people making the switch to a meat free diet every day.


Lindsey Oberst of Food Network said, “There’s been a 600% increase in people identifying as vegans in the U.S. in the last three years.” As the holidays approach, having family members with special diets could complicate the large, home-cooked meals featuring traditional holiday recipes centered around turkey and other meat.


So that you can better meet the needs of nonmeat eaters, you need to know the particular requirements of each:

  • Vegans do not eat any animal products whatsoever including dairy, eggs and honey.

  • Vegetarians do not eat meat of any kind, including poultry and fish.


If you’re struggling to cater to the needs of your vegan and vegetarian friends and family, here are three easy ways to ensure a Happy Thanksgiving for everyone.


1. Do your research

You may think that vegan cooking is difficult and don’t know where to start, but many online recipes are available for alternative foods. Websites such as HappyCow, a blog founded by Eric Brent, give many holiday dish alternative recipes. Ann Arbor Vegan Kitchen, a vegan restaurant run by professional vegan lifestyle coach Vicki Brett-Gach in Ann Arbor, Michigan, even gives step-by-step guide to its meat alternative recipes. Many YouTube channels are devoted to vegan cooking, such as “Happy Healthy Vegan” and “The Vegan Corner, which provide assistance with technique if you are confused. You may think cooking such dishes is difficult, but you’ll never know until you try.


2. Make dishes separately

Though it may create more dishes to wash and possibly add to the preparation time, simply separating the dishes containing animal products from those that do not is an easy way to get around the difference in diets. Plus, you can always ask for help with the cleanup. This is a considerate option to show that you put thought into such a meaningful holiday and that you care about the needs of your friends and family.


3. Bring your own dish style

Hosting Thanksgiving and making the whole meal yourself is a large task for anyone, so though it may seem impersonal, having guests bring their own dishes makes it easier for the host. This also ensures that all guests have at least one dish that they like and that fits their dietary restrictions. Chase Caribardi, a junior secondary education and history major, said it’s not that hard to be a vegetarian and listed foods like green bean casserole as his favorite Thanksgiving food. This could also introduce you to new foods you have never tried before. New traditions can be made by pushing yourself out of your culinary comfort zone. Bringing your own dishes adds to the family atmosphere that the day is known for.


Meatless Thanksgiving may seem intimidating, but with these methods, it can be handled with ease and is greatly appreciated by your vegan and vegetarian friends and family.

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