A Vegetarian Thanksgiving
Enjoy the holiday without talking turkey
Guess who's coming to Thanksgiving dinner? It could be a vegetarian or
For many hosts and hostesses this Thanksgiving, the odds are good that
someone is coming to dinner who doesn't eat turkey or other animal meats. Over
the years, I've been both the visiting vegetarian and the hostess welcoming
Interest in vegetarianism is on the rise, with about 6% of the American
population saying they never eat meat (the figure goes up to 10% among those
aged 18-34), according to a recent Vegetarian Resource Group Harris Interactive
Whether people become committed to vegetarianism due to religious, ethical,
or health considerations, or out of concern for the environment or animal
rights, they are all most likely receiving health benefits.
In a recent position statement, the American Dietetic Association says that
the nutritional benefits of vegetarian diets include lower levels of saturated
fat, cholesterol, and animal protein, as well as higher levels of fiber,
folate, phytochemicals, and antioxidants such as vitamin C and E.
Vegetarians may also have lower body mass indexes (compared to
non-vegetarians) and lower rates of death from heart disease. They're also
likely to have lower blood cholesterol levels and lower blood pressure, as well
as lower rates of type 2 diabetes and prostate and colon cancers.
If you're expecting vegetarians to dinner (who may or may not include
yourself), there are two ways to look at it. You can either make sure you have
so many vegetarian side dishes that your non-meat-eating guests can make a meal
of them, or you can include vegetarian main dishes out of respect for their
I'll tackle both in this article. Below, you'll find a recipe for savory
vegetable gravy so your vegetarian guests can enjoy the classic Thanksgiving
comfort food of mashed potatoes and gravy. There's also a recipe for a main
dish, Yuletide Manicotti, and a festive dinner roll.
All of the recipes will be acceptable for lacto-ovo vegetarians (those who
eat eggs and milk products). If you're expecting a vegan for dinner, experiment
with vegan substitutes, such as soy milk, soy cheese, and soy-based