Whether you’re choosing to go full-vegetarian or just flirting with the idea of eating less meat, hosting a plant-based Thanksgiving is a great idea!
According to Harvard Health Publishing of Harvard Medical School, a plant-based diet has been shown to “reduce risk of heart disease, metabolic syndrome, diabetes, certain cancers … depression, and in older adults, a decreased risk of frailty, along with better mental and physical function.” …but what is Turkey Day without the bird?! Read on for my top tips on hosting a plant-based Thanksgiving that all the omnivores will love!
Be open and honest with your invitation
When inviting your guests, be upfront about your intentions of hosting a plant-based meal. You may be met with concern or disbelief, but assure your friends and family that Thanksgiving will still be full of what’s most important: fellowship and food! If you’re not up for tackling a plant-based Thanksgiving on the big day, why not test it out with a fun Friendsgiving instead?
Outsource the bird, if necessary
Even though you and your family have made the decision to go plant-based, that may not be the case for all of your guests. Many can’t (and won’t!) imagine Thanksgiving without the traditional turkey. My solution is to include the bird but outsource it. Assign a trusted family member to bring the token turkey, or simply order a fully-cooked bird from a local grocer. That way, everyone is happy.
Don’t forget the comfort foods
When you close your eyes and imagine Thanksgiving dinner as a child, which foods stand out, but in a good way?! Maybe it was your great-aunt’s scratch-made mashed potatoes or your dad’s green bean casserole. Every time I remember Thanksgiving as a kid, my grandpa’s French onion soup comes to mind. His recipe used beef broth, but that’s easy to fix! Even if your traditional recipe calls for chicken stock or turkey drippings, I guarantee there’s a way to make it vegetarian (or vegan, if that’s your jam!). For example, my favorite gravy recipe uses mushrooms to recreate that rich, meaty flavor. And it’s vegan!
Practice new recipes ahead of time
While I love using Pinterest to find new recipes … (see my vegetarian Thanksgiving board) don’t forget to test them out before the big day! If I had a nickel for every time the most pin-worthy dish went awry in my kitchen, well … I’d have a few dollars at least! Even if the recipe looks simple enough, test it out at least once ahead of time. The first time I made my now-beloved cranberry sauce, it was so tart no one could stand it! Speaking of, if you’re in need of a few fresh ideas, check out some of my friend Megan’s favorite vegetarian Thanksgiving recipes.
Whether you’re a longtime planteater or new to the whole plant-based movement, I hope this post gives you a little boost of confidence in hosting a vegetarian Thanksgiving. Remember, it’s okay to say goodbye to old traditions to make way for new ones.