When I tell people I love Thanksgiving food, they’re usually confused. Why? Because when most people think of Thanksgiving, they think turkey, stuffing, ham or other assorted meat-based dishes. Since I don’t eat any of those, they always ask “What do you eat?” I tell them that I eat a lot more than plain mashes potatoes or green bean casserole. Some of my favorites are squash lasagna, tofurkey, brussel sprouts, peas, and candied yams.
I’ve tried various vegetarian diets over the last five years, but Thanksgiving was definitely the hardest when I was a vegan.
My diet was much more limited then, but my family tried to make it work. I would have tofurkey, steamed vegetables with no butter and a lot of salad. Pies were out of the question. Now that I’m back to being a vegetarian, I can eat them but I’m still not much of a fan.
Much like with the pie transition, when I chose to reincorporate dairy and eggs back into my diet, I still couldn’t eat a lot of traditional foods, but I made it work.
My mom would roast beets (my favorite vegetable), make stuffing without sausage, and serve butternut squash soup; my aunt would make squash lasagna; my brother would buy the tofurkey. It was a family effort to feed the lone vegetarian, but I really appreciated the effort. It brought me closer to my family and it also was a sign that they finally accepted my dietary choice.
Although many vegetarians may find holidays a difficult time for food options, there are many choices out there. If you’re out of ideas, turn to the internet! A search for “vegetarian thanksgiving food” turned out about 22,100,000 results on Google.
While tofurkey may not be an appetizing substitute for a meat-eater who would rather have real turkey, there’s a lot of great side dishes that still taste great and don’t have any meat in them. Don’t forget the ultimate vegetarian–friendly Thanksgiving food, pumpkin pie!
(Elizabeth Doll / email@example.com)