What comes to mind when you think of Thanksgiving? Perhaps, the pumpkin pie? Or maybe the jellied cranberries and mashed potatoes? At the end of the day, though, Thanksgiving is synonymous with one thing: turkey.
Let’s face it; a traditional Thanksgiving spread may be extremely limiting for our vegetarian friends. With so few vegetarian options, vegetarians are often left with heaping platefuls of string beans or mashed potatoes, while their carnivore counterparts continue onto their second plate of turkey.
Here at Spoon, part of our aim is for everyone to enjoy one of our favorite food holidays. Hopefully, we can stay away from the turkey in favor for something more suitable for our vegetarian friends.
Note: November is also National Vegan Month, so why not invite your vegan friends to participate in your culinary festivities as well?
1. Anything with sweet potatoes
We at Spoon love anything with sweet potatoes. They’re starchy and easy to prepare, making them the perfect centerpiece for any hearty, vegetarian dish. They can be used in anything from a smoky sweet potato puréed soup to a mustard-infused sweet potato Mac’n’Cheese.
For something sweet to top off the meal, try brown sugar-glazed sweet potatoes with marshmallows. We love this dish because it brings together all the elements of the quintessential Thanksgiving dish; it’s traditional and often found in the Thanksgiving spread but still manages to be delicious year after year.
2. Plentiful lentils
Packed with a plethora of vitamins and health benefits, lentils are commonly known as nature’s superfood, and they’re sure to add a kick to any of your Thanksgiving dishes. Like sweet potatoes, they’re hearty enough to substitute for meat in most dishes. This curried lentil soup adds a spicy kick to any meal, while a lentil loaf with a balsamic and tomato glaze can easily outshine even the most impressive Thanksgiving turkey.
3. Sugar and spice
When in doubt, treat your vegetarian friends to a couple extra desserts on your Thanksgiving table. Avoid clichéd, pumpkin desserts and try a couple ethnic-inspired sweets. We’re drooling over this Thanksgiving-inspired baklava; think layers of delicate phyllo pastry, sandwiched between a cranberry and orange filling.
Want something inspired by another country? Make a coffee-flavored flan, inspired by the flavors of Spain. This dessert is also perfect for your carnivorous friends. Did you know that turkey contains tryptophan, an anima acid that is linked to drowsiness? The caffeine in this dessert will keep them awake long into the hours of the night, so they can keep talking with their vegetarian friends.
4. Vegetarian/Vegan turkey
If your vegetarian friends feel like turkey is still a must, there are dozens of ready-made vegetarian turkey options that can be conveniently found in the frozen food aisle. Tofurky Roast is as close to a Thanksgiving turkey as you’ll get; it even comes stuffed with wild rice and whole wheat stuffing and topped with savory gravy. Gardein also makes a myriad of options. We suggest their Savory Stuffed Turk’y or Turk’y Cutlet.