Tips & Recipes for a Vegetarian Thanksgiving

vegetarian-thanksgiving-recipesThanksgiving is just one week away and this year we have a few green additions to our family. With most of us going vegetarian, this year Thanksgiving presents a whole new set of challenges. But the idea of a green or even a vegetarian Thanksgivingseems like blasphemy to die hard turkey lovers. To ease them into this culture shock, I already started dropping the idea of a green feast that goes beyond just an organic turkey.Rethinking the Main Course
The most popular alternative to Turkey these days is Tofurkey, or Tofu-Turkey, where Tofu is used to shape it like the bird. Another option is to try a Vegan Soy-Seitan Turkey – a great recipe by Chef Bryanna Clark Grogan; Soy gives it a much more appealing taste. My friend Dhivya also has a version of Tofu Turkey that you might enjoy!

Most people are immediately turned off when thinking of vegetarian alternatives to traditional meat dishes. But this isn’t because of experience, (since mostly like they’ve never even tried it), but rather because of conditioning. We’re brought up being programmed to think fowl when imagining a Thanksgiving meal. It’ll take a lot of deprogramming and a little willingness on people’s part to taste a soy turkey – but once they try it, they’ll be one step closer to rethinking their attitude.

Your part in all this is to make sure you don’t botch it up. Find a great recipe, and do quick pre-turkey day test run. This way you can rest assured on the big day and know your feast will be a big hit, with some turkey somewhere thanking you for being spared the gauntlet.

Why Adopt a Green Thanksgiving?

* Approximately 45 million turkeys are (killed) cooked and eaten in the U.S. on Thanksgiving? That’s about a sixth of all turkeys sold in the U.S. each year.

* Besides death of these birds, Turkey dinners have their own carbon foot print, or in this case a “wing print”, responsible for raising the level of harmful gases that increase global warming.

* More than half the U.S. grain and nearly 40 percent of the world grain is being fed to livestock rather than being consumed directly by humans, leading to poverty and widespread death.

With these clear cut facts, we find ourselves hard pressed not to switch out turkey for soy even if just for one day. At the end of the day, Thanksgiving is not about the food as much as it is about community – a gathering of loved ones over a feast regardless of what type of feast it is. And it’s hardly a celebration of gratitude if you’ve forced a turkey sacrifice for it, who I’m sure isn’t very grateful to have been included as an unwilling participant.

When you serve your “Tofu-Turkey”, ignore the stares and dig right in! Sooner or later everyone else will likely try it too – especially considering it’ll be too late to go anywhere else for a last minute meal:) Not to mention that 45 million turkeys will thank you for your efforts!

Need some more Vegetarian Thanksgiving Inspiration?

Decorating Ideas with Pumpkins & Wreaths
Thanksgiving Centerpieces – Under $10

Cranberry & Cream Cheese Dip
Roasted Butternut Squash Soup
Pumpkin Spiced Bread
Roasted Pumpkin & Onion Bisque
Vegetable Bread Rolls

Mashed Potatoes with Horseradish Creme Fraiche
Spiced Cranberry Plum Sauce
Roasted Butternut Squash Soup
Tandoori Aloo (Marinated Potatoes)

Creamy Paneer Butter Masala
Vegetarian Lasagna with Pesto
Pasta Rigatoni with Sun-dried Tomato Pesto
Chana Masala (Chickpea Curry)

Best Homemade Apple Pie
Traditional Pumpkin Pie
Upside-Down Cranberry Cake
Delicious Bourbon Pecan Pie
Spiced Apple Bread

Pear Mojito
Pumpkin Gingerbread Cocktail
Festive Fruit Juice Mocktail
Pomegranate Martini


  1. Anonymous says:

    Tofurkey?! That actually sounds pretty gross…Though I'd like to save the turkeys, I know that me not eating one won't have much of a difference. Maybe next time I'll just stick with buying mashed potatoes and stuffing or corn bread.

  2. Having the President pardon one turkey is simply not enough! Save turkeys, eat a turkey-free Thanksgiving!

  3. This is such an excellent post!

  4. nice info ! I feel so bad about the turkeys….

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