The Veggie Table: Navigating Thanksgiving
Elizabeth Jarrard, RD, who blogs at Don't (White) Sugar Coat It, takes a positive spin on holiday eats: "Focus on abundance. Don't think about what you can't eat. Embrace the bounty of plant-based foods this season and use it as a chance to try out new grains, seeds and veggies."
Plant-loving dietitian Trish O’Keefe recommends bringing a dish you know you'll be able to enjoy: "Contribute something. Ask the host if it's okay to bring a plant-based dish. This ensures you'll get fed, plus it gives others the opportunity to taste plant-based dishes."
Leslie Riding, RD, Boston-area dietitian and long-time vegan, echoes this idea : "Bring an appetizer, entree, and dessert that you like to eat, and enough to share with others. Then you are guaranteed a meal, even if there are no other appropriate options."
Alex Caspero, a plant-based dietitian at delicious-knowledge.com, suggests easy swaps to make vegan-friendly dishes: "To me, Thanksgiving is all about the sides, which can easily be made vegan, vegetarian or gluten-free. Just take your favorite recipes and adjust. Calls for butter? Use non-hydrogenated margarine instead. Need cream? Try soy cream or my favorite- cashew crème (soak 1 cup cashews, blend in a blender for 5 minutes with 1 to 1 1/2 cups water and pinch of salt until creamy--use in everything!). Fake meat products are great in stuffing. I use tempeh bacon in my greens and sausage-less crumbs in my stuffing."
If this is your first vegan or vegetarian holiday season, do a few trials of new or favorite dishes made without meat or dairy before the big day so you can adjust the recipes as needed. Before you know it, you'll have a collection of plant-based recipes to use for holidays to come.