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Five Things to Do to Make Your Vegan Guests Happy This Thanksgiving

November 15, 2010

Getting meat and plant eaters to get together to break bread can be as uncomfortable as watching Kayne West being interviewed by Matt Lauer.

This may be the season to talk and eat turkey, but the vegans among us won’t be having it. With a little forethought, it’s not difficult to  accommodate your vegan visitors. You can also serve them up something delicious.

Note: If you plan to have turkey and other meats for dinner, you should make it clear, upfront, what you will be serving so vociferous vegans have the option of not coming if they find your other menu choices unpalatable.

If they do come, we can only hope that they are polite enough not to turn your table into a gastronomic battle field.

As a vegetarian child, my family was routinely invited to dine with meat eaters.  We were honored by the invite and operated by the culinary code of, “Can’t we all get along?”

For starters, you can:

  1. Check and double check the  labels for any prepared foods you plan to serve.  You may forget about all the things vegans don’t eat, including  butter, milk, cheese, eggs and all the attendant by-products that show up in processed foods.
  2. Serve at least two hearty vegetable courses. Eggplant and kabocha would be at the top of my list.  I’m also keen on quinoa because it’s high protien. Pictured in this post is handmade quinoa pasta I made.
  3. Use oil but not butter.  As one vociferous vegan, a cable TV talk show host, said to me, “Butter is liquid meat.” I guess that’s true when you heat it. For prep, I recommend roasting  to bring out the flavors. You can also steam or boil your veggies.
  4. If you use stock to prepare any entrée, be sure it’s vegetable and not a chicken or beef stock.
  5. If you are baking, it’s relatively easy to substitute cow’s milk with soy, rice or almond milk. Commercial egg substitutes are available. You may also have egg substitutes  hiding in your pantry right now, including:

2 T Cornstarch = 1 egg

1 medium Banana = 1 egg

1 Soy Flour + 2 T Water = 1 Egg

Star Tips

  • Be sure to  have separate serving utensils for the vegan dishes. The last thing you want to do is serve the faux chicken with the fork you are using to dish out the turkey.
  • Keep some dishes, such as the faux chicken, designated only for the vegans in the house. This is what’s happened to me when I’ve gone to events and not wanted any meat. The carnivores would eat their meat and then descend on my little veggie dish.
  • There are faux ready-made  turkeys available during the holidays. Save money and buy pretend chicken for as little as three dollars a serving. It will show your vegan guests that you care.

What’s on your plate? Is it bringing you inner bling?

Coming up tomorrow:

Five Things to Make Your Lactose-Intolerant Guests Happy This Thanksgiving

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