A Plant-Based Feast: Celebrating Thanksgiving with Vegetarian Delights
When I first came to this country, 1.5 decades ago, ThanksGiving was just a long weekend. We did not have any family here that we would visit for the holiday so we did what most young couples do.
We visited our friends or went to ski resorts… basically anything fun we could figure out that year.
Only when my daughter was born did we stick around to celebrate ThanksGiving and the holiday now had a whole new meaning to it!
We are vegetarian, so I had to find a menu that would be “ThanksGiving-y” but also sans-meat. That first year I made “Tofu-rkey” and we were so pleasantly surprised by how delicious it turned out!
Since then, I have tried various options to celebrate Vegetarian Thanksgiving.
If you are planning to go vegetarian this ThanksGiving but still feel festive, this blog is for you!
Here’s your fun little guide to a Vegetarian Thanksgiving:
Plan your menu ahead of time
Just like cooking the real bird, Tofurkey takes time! It is an overnight process!
And sometimes the local grocery stores run out of ingredients… veggie ThanksGiving is definitely picking up some steam!
Plus if you have the menu planned, you can prep certain dishes ahead of time and save the last minute anxiety. This is especially helpful when you are going to try a recipe for the first time!
Have a cook off
I am a huge fan of not taking everything into my own two hands! I already do a lot of heavy lifting at home and planning and cooking an entire feast by myself is pretty daunting.
In the past we have hosted cook offs and potlucks. I definitely enjoyed the cook offs more. We would get to spend such a meaningful time together and there was no pressure to “Cleanup” before the guests arrived.
I did ask my guests to bring their own special ingredients. That saved me so many grocery trips. And yes… I am one of those people who would forget items on their list and will have to take the trip to the grocery store again!
Make it colorful
This is the best thing about a vegetarian ThanksGiving… all the beautiful colors on your dining table!
I am definitely a sucker for color, whether it's in my photographs, my home or my dinner plate. A colorful plate looks so much more appetizing. And the best part? Kids love it too!
Think in terms of seasonal fresh vegetables, salad with pomegranate and dessert with vibrant berries. You can add color in almost every course of the meal.
Just a little piece of cilantro can dress up any soup.
Start with a vegetarian Charcuterie Board
This is one thing that catches most people by surprise! What do you add in a vegetarian Charcuterie board….
Well, the answer is everything you would, except for the meat.
All cheese and dips and crackers stay the same, the fruits and dried fruits stay the same. Maybe add some bread and increase the dip by two… That’s it!
There you have your vegetarian Charcuterie board that is not only sumptuous but tastes pretty good too.
Have any chocolate truffles or dark chocolate at your hand? Include it too!
Now that you have a pretty good idea of How to host Vegetarian ThanksGiving, here’s my favorite 5 course Vegetarian Thanksgiving meal. Of course this is just an example menu, change it according to your Family’s likes and dislikes.
Roasted pumpkin and Goat Cheese Crostini
Pumpkin is such a seasonal food, there is something about the orange color and the aroma of cooked pumpkin that smells ThanksGiving!
Also crostini is one of the simplest appetizers that even kids can help with. Here’s my favorite recipe.
This comes with a confession! I have convinced my kids that tomato soup is a “part of Royal Dinner” for any Royal Family.
They love to pretend to be royals slurping through their tomato soups.
Tomato soups can come in a wide variety, here’s my favorite recipe.
PS: I never make my own croutons… just buy from the store!
Pomegranate and Pear Garden Salad
Like I said, color makes everything appetizing and mix in some delicious pear…. Your kids will keep asking for more!
Another confession, I get my “pre-made” salads from Costco and just dress them up with Pomegranate and Pear to make it extra fancy!
Over the years I have tried a lot of different main courses from Tofurkey to Lasagna to Spaghetti… Nothing makes kids happier than a plate full of slurpy spaghetti noodles! I make the sauce at home from scratch and it is absolutely delicious.
I don’t have a link to my spaghetti sauce because it was “by accident” that I discovered the recipe. So here it is for you:
Grate 5-6 garlic cloves, ¼ of an onion and ½ a bell pepper.
In a separate pan bring water to boil. Add 3-4 tomatoes cut in quarters to the boiling water. Cook the tomatoes for 10-15 minutes. Once cool, run the cooked tomatoes through the mixer to make a runny puree.
In a pan, heat butter.
Add garlic, onion and bell pepper. Saute until golden brown.
Now add the tomato puree.
Add salt, pepper and oregano.
Let the sauce simmer for another 15 minutes.
That’s it! Enjoy with your spaghetti!
Roasted green beans
The little royals in my house absolutely love the green beans and I have a special place in my heart for mashed potatoes.
Pick a simple side dish that your family enjoys. You can even let the kids take over the side dish and see what they come up with. It is so much fun when everybody takes on some responsibilities for the ThanksGiving feast. Sure, they might make more mess, but the memories you will make will be priceless!
If you are into baking… please go for it!
For everyone else who doesn't mind a store bought pie, please get one from WholeFoods. They make delicious pies and they make pies in every size!
Every year before ThanksGiving, we do a family grocery trip to WholeFoods and we all pick our own miniature versions of our favorite pies.
The kids love Apple Pie the most, I love Pecan pie and my dear husband picks a CheeseCake! There’s always the one person in the family!!! Isn’t it?
Well whatever menu you choose and however you decide to cook your vegetarian ThanksGiving, please be mindful and take out some time to enjoy the delicious meal you have cooked and the amazing company you have.
Oftentimes we get so wrapped up in getting things perfect that we forget to enjoy the day with our little ones.
Have a great ThanksGiving!