Meatless Monday: Vegetarian Thanksgiving

by Rachel on November 23, 2009

Happy Meatless Monday!

A lot of you mentioned last week in the comments that you were cooking this Thanksgiving, or at least helping. Chances are, someone in your family is a vegetarian, and that might throw you off. (Last year I was a guest at someone else’s Thanksgiving and I was That Vegetarian Girl.)

Personally, I’m against Tofurkey. I think the best way to handle a vegetarian at Thanksgiving is to make sure you have one appetizer that is meat-free (not hard to do) and then serve one very hearty side that can work as a main course for a vegetarian and a yummy side dish for the meat-eaters. I think the best way to do this is with a great seasonal pasta!

If you haven’t tried it yet, my baked pumpkin pasta recipe is a huge crowd pleaser (just skip the sausage; you won’t miss it) and it’s also healthy, so the diet-conscious might like that! Matt’s squash pasta with sage is also great — gorgeous and delicious. This butternut squash lasagna is on my to-try list; baked pasta dishes are ideal because you can essentially set it and forget it. A hearty soup is also a good idea; there are a lot of pumpkin soup recipes out there, and I posted a butternut squash soup last month.

Most vegetarians appreciate the effort and won’t freak out if they can’t eat everything on the table. I was perfectly happy to eat the side dishes, so if you can make them without chicken broth, turkey drippings, or bacon, it would be a thoughtful and surely appreciated choice.

Even if you plan to have some turkey, thinking like a vegetarian can help you up the veggies and nutrition in a given meal, so it might be worth it to bring a meat-free or dairy-free dish to share! At the very least, it will add some color, flavor, and interest to a meal that can easily get white-carb crazy and super boring.