Thanksgiving can be an extremely awkward time for new vegans and vegetarians due to the obvious pressures of sitting at a table filled to the brim with meat. For a vegetarian who has never experienced Thanksgiving since converting their diet, I can personally contest, that it is one of the most difficult situations that you have to deal with.
On top of the usual quips about your diet, the sometimes annoying teasing, or harmful put-downs about the way you have chosen to eat, you are now faced with a group of people who are wondering whether you have fell, hit your head and have lost your mind. Never fear though, here are some tips for your awkward Thanksgiving debut as a vegetarian.
1. Warn Everyone In Advanced
If your family members are carnivorous eaters who think vegetarian dishes is rabbit food, then I suggest that you let them know at least a month or so in advanced that you won’t be gnawing on turkey. Regardless of whether they accept you decision to adapt a caring, healthy, and sustainable lifestyle, warning your friends and family and answering their questions about your diet in advanced will help you have an easier time at dinner.
2. Bring Some Veggie Dishes
Chances are, the meat eaters in your lives will assume that you only eat salad. You can always show up and eat a bunch of the deserts and side dishes, but for new veggies, feeling left out can make you feel uncomfortable. Bringing other vegetarian dishes can both enlighten other dinner goers, but it will help you stay full at dinner as well. Make sure you check with everyone to see if, on the night of the gathering, you have enough food to eat on your plate, but be aware that the majority of the time there is already an abundance of vegetarian options anywhere you go.
3. Reflect on Why You Have Become Vegetarian
They will ask questions regardless of whether you told them before about your vegetarianism before so it’s best to ready yourself with all of the answers. They will ask you why you have become a vegetarian, what you eat, and most likely talk about your health and weight. If whatever they say seems rude or too invasive, such as my favorites, “is that all you eat?” or “why can’t you just eat meat, it’s already dead?” just brush it off and know that this is most likely something new fort them. Answer questions the best you can, and keep a level head if some individuals do decide to make fun of your lifestyle or beliefs.
For the most part, however, I’m sure most of your friends and family don’t mean any harm. The majority of them are just curious about your new lifestyle. Just remember that Thanksgiving is more about coming together as a family and spending time with the ones that you love and less about the giant carcass on the table. Have fun, laugh at the weird comments that they make about you being a veggie, and don’t forget that it’s only for one night anyway.
My Fave Thanksgiving Veggie Dish Ideas:
1. hollow out a large pumpkin.
2. put on to boil 2 cups wild rice.
3. break apart 1 head cauliflower, place in a pan and drizzle on olive oil. bake at 450F for 20-30 minutes, or until they start slightly browning.
4. prepare 3 cups chickpeas (either by boiling dried or heating canned & drained.)
5. when the rice and cauliflower are almost done, toast 1 cup raw sunflower seeds on a medium-low heat pan.
6. stir everything in a large bowl, folding in 2/3 cup dried cranberries.
7. pour into the pumpkin and bake at 450F for 20-30 minutes.
serve hot! feeds about 10 people.
Quinoa and Black Beans from All Recipes
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
3/4 cup uncooked quinoa
1 1/2 cups vegetable broth
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup frozen corn kernels
2 (15 ounce) cans black beans, rinsed and draine
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the onion and garlic, and saute until lightly browned.
Mix quinoa into the saucepan and cover with vegetable broth. Season with cumin, cayenne pepper, salt, and pepper. Bring the mixture to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 20 minutes. Stir frozen corn into the saucepan, and continue to simmer about 5 minutes until heated through. Mix in the black beans and cilantro.
Tofurky. I bring this stuff everywhere during the holidays.
“Sold as just the loaf, the loaf with gravy, or as a “Tofurky feast”, which is a complete vegetarian meal for six complete with gravy, stuffing, chocolate cake for dessert and a ‘wishbone.'”
Click here are the rest of the Tofurky products.
For more meal ideas check out my book, “The Beginners Guide to Becoming a Vegetarian,” on Amazon.