A Thanksgiving dinner will not be complete without the stuffed turkey sitting right in the middle of the dinner table. Everybody just loves its juicy meat and the delicious stuffing, right? But sometimes, especially these days, not nearly everybody enjoys the main dish because an increasing number of health buffs are turning their backs on meat for good by becoming full-pledged vegetarians.
If you find vegetarians included in the guest list for your Thanksgiving dinner, you have to make proper adjustments in the kind of meal that you will be serving at the Thanksgiving table. You do not necessarily have to do away with the turkey, you just need to offer something that your guests can eat. And here is the challenge: You cannot just serve random vegetable menus and be done with them. Neither is it necessary to lay on the table the vegetarian equivalent of a turkey. What is really needed is that you try to keep the Thanksgiving theme alive in your vegetarian-friendly celebration.
Fortunately, the challenge is not as difficult as it appears to be. If vegetarians make up the minority in your list of guests, you can cut up fruits and vegetables into small pieces and serve these as side dishes. For a more filling treat, put a variety of breads on the table as well. Whip up a fresh salad which can serve as the main course for your guests on the vegetarian side. For sure, even your meat-loving friends will love this dish!
If you do not have the time to spend in making separate courses, you can just make the necessary substitutions in the ingredients of your usual Thanksgiving fare. For example, cook dishes with soy milk instead of full-cream milk. When frying, you can opt to use corn oil in place of animal oil. When baking your pumpkin pie, replace the eggs with silken tofu.
Of course, the changes in ingredients can cause slight differences in the tastes of the final products, but these will generally be negligible. The taste buds will necessarily have to do some adjusting but in no time, you and your guests will get used to the slight modifications and eventually enjoy Thanksgiving dinner.
On the other hand, if your Thanksgiving guests are predominantly made up of vegetarians, it is imperative that you take the time to make separate meals for them alongside the traditional Thanksgiving turkey. You can always cook the standard vegetable dishes if you wish to play it safe. However, you can also try coming up with vegetarian versions of popular meat dishes, especially if you are feeling particularly creative. How about making a Thanksgiving meatloaf for vegetarians? Yes, the non-meat meatloaf now exists, thanks to the ever adaptable tofu.
Here is a better deal: You do not have to stop at meatloaf. Thanks to tofu again, you can make a turkey that vegetarians can feast on. Tofu turkey is delicious when prepared right. It tastes a lot like real turkey and you can even put stuffing in it as well. It may not be as tasty as an actual turkey, especially for people used to eating meat, but for vegetarians, this is actually a better alternative. Recipes for this particular dish can be found in many vegetarian cookbooks. They can likewise be found on the Internet. Everything that you need to know about tofu turkey preparation is easily accessible so an excuse to back off from the challenge is simply unacceptable.
If you are still at a loss even after all the Thanksgiving tips mentioned above, no harm would happen if you simply ask your vegetarian guests about their preferences beforehand. This is actually a good way to start the preparations; at the same time, your vegetarian guests will appreciate your efforts to make them feel comfortable. They will graciously welcome the courtesy that you are extending them, which, when you think about it, is what Thanksgiving is really all about. The celebration is not really about the turkey or the pumpkin pie. It is about being grateful and appreciative of the companionship extended by family and friends while celebrating a joyful holiday. The sumptuous dinner is simply an added bonus.
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