Document Viewer
One feast to please them all: How to satisfy meat eaters, vegetarians and vegans at Thanksgiving
Nov 13

Associated Press

I know there are some Thanksgiving gatherings without a vegan or a vegetarian at the table, but these days that seems like more of an anomaly than the norm.

We have had vegetarians at our Thanksgiving table my entire life. My sister, Lizzie, and her daughters are vegetarian and now vegan, and my mother became a vegetarian later in life. There are plenty of folks at the table who want to enjoy the turkey and all those trimmings, but a significant number of others are interested only in the vegetarian or vegan sides.

And there is no way anyone leaves a Workman family Thanksgiving anything less than full and happy, so we Bring It for everyone.

But cooking for a crowd on Thanksgiving is already challenging enough, and no one wants to make a whole lot of extra dishes. So, the name of the game is adaptability and streamlining.

The short of it is that we make plenty of meat-free sides, including some that are substantial enough to feel entrée-like for the non-meat eaters. And then we make modifications to certain dishes to make them vegan if possible.

Some ideas for making sure vegetarians and vegans have plenty of choices:

I make the base of the stuffing vegetarian, with vegetable broth. Then I
separate part of it out into a smaller baking pan for the vegetarians, and
drizzle some of the turkey pan juices over the larger pan of stuffing. If you
want to make the smaller pan of stuffing vegan, use vegan butter to saute the

You also might consider using vegan sausage or other crumbled meat substitute in the stuffing. Seitan, a wheat gluten-based product, is also a good addition to vegan stuffings.

We boil up a whole lot of potatoes, and mash them or put them through a ricer or
food mill. Then, as we did with the stuffing, we separate the potatoes into two
pots. One gets blended up with milk, cream, butter, etc., and one gets whipped
to fluffiness with plant-based milk, olive oil and vegan butter. My sister skips
the olive oil, but adds some vegan sour cream. Options!

While a pile of leafy greens is fine, you can make salad a much more robust part
of the menu. Consider adding some roasted vegetables, pumpkin or sunflower seeds,
nuts (providing there are no nut allergies!), legumes (chickpeas are nice), and
fresh or dried fruit. Adding some cooked whole grains like farro or bulgur wheat
also boosts the nutritional value, and adds heft. Homemade croutons crisped up
in the oven with olive oil are another good addition.

We usually make a vegan soup for lunch to inhale while we are cooking for dinner,
but you might think about offering soup as part of the main event.

By The Associated Press, Copyright 2023

Join Now for the 50 Plus Newsletter