AP By Katie Workman 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.
This image provided by Cheyenne Cohen shows a green salad with pears, pomegranate seeds, roasted butternut squash and vegan feta cheese. Many a Thanksgiving gathering these days will include meat eaters, vegetarians and vegans around the same table. AP food writer Katie Workman has practice creating one feast that can please all of them without a lot of extra work Cheyenne Cohen via AP
- Cook: With a few tweaks, some typically one-note side dishes can become boldly flavored and exciting.
- Listen: Revisit “A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving” with an expanded soundtrack released for the “Peanuts” TV special’s 50th anniversary.
- Watch: Cher is the star of this year’s Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, set to make an appearance just before the parade’s end.
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 vegetables.
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.
This image provided by Cheyenne Cohen shows wild rice salad with cranberries. Many a Thanksgiving gathering these days will include meat eaters, vegetarians and vegans around the same table. AP food writer Katie Workman has practice creating one feast that can please all of them without a lot of extra work Cheyenne Cohen via AP
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.
TOP FETURE PHOTO This image provided by Cheyenne Cohen shows roasted fall vegetables on a serving plate. Many a Thanksgiving gathering these days will include meat eaters, vegetarians and vegans around the same table. AP food writer Katie Workman has practice creating one feast that can please all of them without a lot of extra work Cheyenne Cohen via AP