Vegetarian Thanksgiving?

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A pretty presentation makes a meal so much more enjoyable, don’t you think?


For lunch, I bulked up some pre-made Israeli cous cous adding a bunch of stir-fried veggies, like mushrooms, zucchini, and red peppers.


I’ve only eaten the Israeli cous cous (from Costco) cold, but the package says it can be eaten hot.  It was SO good with the extra vegetables.  I think I do prefer it cold, though.


I like to put my food into little towers just so I can knock them down! Weeeee.


I am 5 years old on the inside.


In other news…. my desk is a disaster, which is not conducive to creativity at all.


Must clean!


Vegetarian Thanksgiving?


Last night, I got an e-mail from Laura, who said:


I just became a full-fledged vegetarian after this past Thanksgiving; last year’s turkey day was my last "hoo-rah" so to say. I know that you, yourself, are new to the vegetarian world as well. As Thanksgiving approaches, I realize that it is going to be a lot harder this year to eat during Thanksgiving. The whole rest of my family eats meat, so I do not want to make them cater to me. Do you have any suggestions for dishes/sides that are vegetarian and Thanksgiving day friendly? I think it would be a great question to open up to the blog world. I feel like they would have a lot of experience with this type of thing!


The Husband and I were actually just discussing this issue!  I became a vegetarian on April 26, and the Husband went veggie a few weeks later.  He eats meat about twice a month (usually at restaurants), but he said he doesn’t want to do Turkey Dinner.


Last year, my Thanksgiving meal consisted of the following items:


This year, I’ll have to steer clear of the turkey, gravy, and stuffing, at the very least.


We’ll be having Thanksgiving dinner at my Aunt’s house, and I feel comfortable enough to say, “Hey, I’m a vegetarian.  Which dishes should I avoid?”  I also plan to bring my own vegetarian entree, my own vegetarian side dish (probably Green Bean Casserole), and vegetarian gravy (because what is Thanksgiving without gravy)?


I’m thinking about bringing a pot of Butternut Squash soup as my “vegetarian entree” – with enough to share with the entire family, if they wish.  There are so many good vegetarian side dishes that I have a feeling there will be MORE than enough to eat if I forgo the turkey.


Your other option is to bring a Tofurky.  :)  But that freaks me out.


What if your family is not accepting of your vegetarian choices – or your HEALTHY choices?  I know a lot of people try to start arguments with me about being a vegetarian (which is so annoying when you’re already at the dinner table).  I remind myself that sometimes people feel as if you are judging them, even if you aren’t, when you choose to do something differently than what they do. 


So, whether you’re just choosing to avoid the second serving of pie or the entire turkey, I think the best response to someone getting all up in your face about food choices is a polite smile and a calm, “Let’s talk about this later, shall we?” Then – disengage.  Go help out in the kitchen or slam a glass of wine.  🙂


Did you know that approximately 45 million turkeys are killed, cooked, and eaten in the U.S. on Thanksgiving, about a sixth of all turkeys sold in the U.S. each year?  That’s a LOT of turkeys – and most of them are raised in factory farms.  🙁


If you want to eat turkey on Thanksgiving, consider buying a locally-raised turkey instead of a farm-factory turkey.   You will be supporting local farmers, helping the environment, and (most likely) eating more humanely raised and slaughtered meat.  You can find a local turkey farm using this site (pretty cool!) – I found half a dozen farmers in my area easily!


If you’re a vegetarian, what are your plans for Thanksgiving?  Do you have any great stand-out veggie recipes? If you’re a meat-eater, do you have any plans to “green” your Thanksgiving dinner?  How?



  • Jessica @ How Sweet It Is November 12, 2009, 12:56 pm

    I could possibly give up Turkey, but I don’t know about gravy and stuffing! No veggie dishes here yet!

  • Angela (Oh She Glows) November 12, 2009, 1:01 pm

    Slam a glass of wine…best advice ever.

    try eating vegan at thanksgiving..that is NO fun!

    • Caitlin November 12, 2009, 1:04 pm

      that is generally my technique for surviving all family functions.

      • Angela (Oh She Glows) November 12, 2009, 3:51 pm

        bottoms up! 😉

        • Angela (Oh She Glows) November 12, 2009, 3:52 pm

          Ps- I wish I had planned as well as you did. I brought vegan appetizers to our Thanksgiving and then forgot sides…so there was literally nothing for me. X-mas dinner I will be prepared and armed. Watch out.

  • Katie November 12, 2009, 1:01 pm

    Hey Caitlin, thanks for the local farm link! I’ve been searching for a CSA in my area for MONTHS with no luck, and with that link it took me about .2 seconds! I’m psyched now! 🙂

  • Danielle November 12, 2009, 1:02 pm

    Wonderful post! Thank you! I hate being challenged for my eating habits but I do understand what you’re saying. People are awfully passionate and sensitive about food 😉 I also think that people tend to have certain stereotypes about vegetarians/vegans as loud, preaching extremists and that is just not so.

    I think I’m going to stick to other Thanksgiving staples at my home: roasted carrots and squash, green bean casserole, sweet potatoes, salad, and my grandmother’s harvest bean salad. It’s amazing 🙂 and will leave just enough room for some homemade apple pie and coconut vanilla ice cream!

  • Dori November 12, 2009, 1:02 pm

    My plans for this Thanksgiving — my first as a vegetarian — are actually exactly the same as my plans for every Thanksgiving I have ever had: SWEET POTATO MUSH! That is all I ever want, I crave it and I will eat plate after plate of it piled high!

    A family friend used to also make this amazing cauliflower but I have no idea how she did it!

  • Laura@FindingAHealthyBalance...after a 100+ POUND weight loss! November 12, 2009, 1:03 pm

    I love Turkey w/All The Trimmings……..I know it would be difficult for me to give it up, though after reading your POST and all the turkey facts I think I could do it! My aunt always hosts Thanksgiving and our menu is very traditional, but I could totally just do “all veggies” as we always have plenty of those and I know I could get full on them and all “carb” options as well…….

  • Allison November 12, 2009, 1:04 pm

    I’m the only vegetarian in my family, so usually we make a veggie soup for me, and make vegetarian stuffing.

  • Kristy November 12, 2009, 1:05 pm

    I also like the advice to slam a glass of wine! 🙂
    I have recently become a vegetarian and have been really thinking about Thanksgiving and the holidays in general. Since I will be visiting family on Thanksgiving, I plan to help cook some of the food and throw in some of my own recipes. That way I can be sure that the food I choose to eat will be vegetarian. It will definitely be tough but I was never a big fan of turkey.. that makes it a little easier. 🙂

  • Gretchen November 12, 2009, 1:07 pm

    You so don’t have to give up stuffing on Thanksgiving because you’re a vegetarian.. just make it separately (is stuffing actually cooked inside turkey? I was raised a vegetarian so I’m not even sure if that’s how it works normally) and eat it on its own or with veg gravy… this is what my family has done all my life and it’s probably the food I missed the most when I was abroad for all the holidays last year.

  • Mara @ What's For Dinner? November 12, 2009, 1:09 pm

    My family is one of the few that, with the exception of the turkey, has EVERYTHING vegetarian. There’s always someone every year who’s vegetarian or something…
    and the link you asked for:

    I guess this girl posted OB notes in her wedding planning blog!

  • Diana November 12, 2009, 1:10 pm

    I’m not vegetarian nor do I celebrate Thanksgiving… So I don’t really have any advice. 😛 I like the slam a glass of wine advice though.

  • Nicci@NiftyEats November 12, 2009, 1:11 pm

    I’m went back to flexitarian but I don’t care for turkey. I may just eat side dishes again and skip on the meat. I like that my Mother doesn’t always put turkey in the dressing .s he makes extra with out it.

  • caronae November 12, 2009, 1:11 pm

    I’m not a vegetarian, but I’ll try to talk my family into a local turkey! I love making healthy sides, but I have a weakness for pie. Great veggie dishes: roasted root vegetables, big salads with toasted notes, mashed sweet potato or squash,and I bet you could do a fall-flavored tofu or tempeh dish too!

  • Danielle November 12, 2009, 1:17 pm

    Hi Caitlin!

    I’ve been a vegetarian (almost vegan) for several years, and I generally dislike Thanksgiving all together! But I buckle down and get through TWO meals–my family’s and my boyfriend’s.

    I don’t like to put anyone out by requesting special dishes. Usually, I fill up on the veggie crudites before the meal then eat some salad and veggies for dinner. I think both families have finally gotten used to my “weird” eating habits.

    PS…I’m 5 years old on the inside too 🙂

  • Jen at This Vegetarian Life November 12, 2009, 1:20 pm

    This will be my first vegetarian Thanksgiving as well. I was planning on making this polenta dish I found on the Seattle Times for my entree. Link:

    On top of that, I plan on doing a vegetarian gravy and veggie stuffing, so I do not have to give up on my favorite parts of the meal!

  • Samma November 12, 2009, 1:21 pm

    Thanks for the local farm link! I was just thinking, I wonder how I find locally raised turkey- perfect!

  • Abby (Abbys Vegan Eats) November 12, 2009, 1:22 pm

    Try eating vegan with family members that have no idea what the word means (parents TOTALLY get it but the grandparents are like HUH?) They just think im a weirdo. Anywhoo, the hub and I are solo this year as its too far to travel for two days off work.. whooo hoo! lol Christmas will be another story, however.

  • Evan Thomas November 12, 2009, 1:24 pm

    That desk is so not a disaster. Just look at my roommate’s desk. That’s a disaster.

  • Jenna November 12, 2009, 1:24 pm

    such a great post caitlin on thanksgiving dinners since it is just around the corner!

  • Lex November 12, 2009, 1:24 pm

    I think it is fantastic that you did a shoutout to anyone who would eat turkey this year suggesting they obtain a local turkey instead of a factory bread turkey. There are a lot of non vegetarians who read your blog and can be inspired by that suggestion!
    Support local farmers – yeah!!

    Despite *not* being a vegetarian, those side dishes sound DEEELISHHH!!!

    • Caitlin November 12, 2009, 1:26 pm

      yay! being a vegetarian is not right for everyone, but everyone can make more responsible food choices in some way!

  • Betsy November 12, 2009, 1:25 pm

    I was a vegetarian for the last 5 or so Thanksgivings (or Thanksliving as my vegan sister jokes…) and last year I made the most delicious vegetarian dish from Moosewood via Vegetarian Times: Mushroom, cheese and vegetable strudel.
    Even the carnivores loved it. Although I eat meat this year, I am still bringing this bad boy.

  • megan November 12, 2009, 1:26 pm

    I’m not vegetarian, but I’ll definitely look into the localy raised turkey. Unfortunately, as I’m not cooking it (or paying for it), I probably don’t have a lot of say, but it’s worth a shot! Thanks for the link.

  • Estela @ Weekly Bite November 12, 2009, 1:27 pm

    I have to have gravy and stuffing!

    Tofurky freaks me out too!

  • Anne P November 12, 2009, 1:27 pm

    Gorgeous lunch.

    Interesting discussion, too. I don’t eat meat much, but Thanksgiving is one of my favorites and I LOVE turkey and gravy so I’ll be diving in headfirst. I feel like with a holiday like that… I’m going all out. However, I see the concern for people who are strict vegetarians having to deal with such a meat-centric holiday. I think your idea of just offering to bring some extra side dishes or an extra main dish is the way to go. That way you’re happy, and no one feels like they have to specially cater to you!

  • Tracy November 12, 2009, 1:29 pm

    Last year for Thanksiving, I made a black bean-pumpkin chili from Taste of Home. It was meatless and it was a hit! I’m planning on bringing it again this year.

  • Molly @vegandorm November 12, 2009, 1:30 pm

    Last year’s vegetarian Thanksgiving at my grandmother’s AMAZING.
    You can make a “stuffing” and not stuff it in the Turkey – my sweet grandmother made a vegetarian sweet potato dish, a separate pot of stuffing, plus side dishes like green beans, red cabbage, etc.
    As a vegan this year, I’m not planning on requesting anything special – although my family would accomodate me, it would be a LOT of extra work as none of them are familiar with veganism. Therefore, I’m going to bring a couple side dishes and maybe a small dessert – that way, even if there’s nothing else vegan, I can still have an enjoyable thanksgiving!

  • catiedidit November 12, 2009, 1:31 pm

    Lucky for me, my family is always concerned. But, last year, the only thing I didn’t eat was turkey! I made a vegetarian stuffing and bought some mushroom gravy. Everything else was meat free! There were so many delicious side dishes, I didn’t even miss the turkey!

  • Red Head, Yellow Dog November 12, 2009, 1:31 pm

    my sister is vegan and I’m a vegetarian. Luckily our fam is always the one to put on the dinner so it’s easy to make dishes that are veg friendly. They make simple subsitutions like veggie broth and earth balance and also, my sis and I make sure to make a main dish that others can enjoy as well. Last year it was a vegan pot pie which was SO good!! and I’ve made it many times since then and will be making it again this year 🙂 I’m thinking of doing it with a sweet potato dumpling topping instead of a traditional crust… sounds more festive 🙂
    and for desert we make a vegan pumpkin cheesecake– the fam was skeptical at first but now they actually request us to make it!!! love it 🙂

  • katherine November 12, 2009, 1:33 pm

    I’ll probably stock up on the side dishes. I’m making glazed carrots and we’ll have squash soup and salad to start. Plus mashed potatoes and brussels sprouts, I can’t imagine going hungry!

  • Megan November 12, 2009, 1:34 pm

    My roommate/co-blogger found a recipe for butternut squash bread pudding in bon appetit. It was written by a woman who wanted a vegetarian “main course” for Thanksgiving. It’s so yummy that even the meat-eaters will probably try to snag some as a side dish.

  • Leah @ L4L November 12, 2009, 1:34 pm

    Meat Eater here! I ordered a turkey from our local natural store. From PCC’s website: “Heidi’s Hens organic free-range turkey, $3.49 lb
    A certified organic choice for delicious taste. Heidi’s Hens are sustainably raised by Diestel family farms and fed a healthy, organic diet of corn and soybeans for more tender meat and less fat.”

    I don’t mind spending more for the good sh!t! I’m hosting T-Day for my first time and am very excited. I am really trying hard to not overdo it and really plan out the menu well and work with the other guests that are bringing food as to minimize any waste. There are only so many leftovers you can take!

    • Caitlin November 12, 2009, 1:35 pm

      this makes me happy!

  • Paige (Running Around Normal) November 12, 2009, 1:35 pm

    What a great post. I’ve been worrying about this for week’s actually. I have several relatives who are somewhat candid and don’t think before they speak – and sometimes its offensive.
    I’ve told the family members who are aware of my vegetarianism (and the blog) to not say anything at all. I’m not going to mention either of them.
    I think it’s a wonderful tip to say let’s talk about it another time. Oh, and of course I love the just slam the wine tip LOL

  • MelissaNibbles November 12, 2009, 1:35 pm

    I don’t know what the meat eaters in my family are going to eat, but I’m making an eggplant parm. and I plan on eating the whole thing with a bottle of wine and a piece of apple pie for dessert. I love Thanksgiving!!!

  • Hannah Hawley November 12, 2009, 1:36 pm

    Stuffing! Make it to bake on the side, lots of shallots and celery, and use vegetable stock and apple cider instead of chicken stock and use olive oil to soften the shallots and celery if you arent using butter either!
    I use a loaf pan and cover with foil to bake. Five minutes before serving, remove the foil to let the top crisp up just a little bit.

  • leslie November 12, 2009, 1:37 pm

    there’s nothing that bothers me more than people who judge my food choices. (actually, that’s not true – the people that said bananas make you gain weight, as you posted yesterday – that fueled my post today 🙂 ). but, i think you’re doing the right thing by simply enjoying the sides, bringing something you know you’ll enjoy, and keeping a glass of wine handy. that’s generally my strategy too (especially the wine part).

    i’m a flexitarian, but i’ve never liked turkey. that link you provided is wonderful though, and i’m sending it my mom for our thanksgiving! supporting local and sustainable farms is really important to me, and i think it is especially important to stress that point around such a food centered holiday.

  • Caitlin in MD November 12, 2009, 1:39 pm

    My family celebrates a relatively traditional Thanksgiving, and none of us are vegetarians, but…I have never felt like the turkey is the *star* of the meal. In fact, I could take it or leave it and I bet many of my relatives would say the same. Thanksgiving side dishes are way more delicious than boring old turkey, to me!!! Stuffing (which we’ve always made vegetarian, by default), mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes in any form, brussels sprouts, carrots, dinner rolls, cranberry sauce, corn pudding, sauerkraut…I could go on and on!

  • Monica November 12, 2009, 1:40 pm

    I’m a bit nervous about doing a vegetarian Thanksgiving this year, we’re doing with my husband’s side of the family, and they do it at a country club. It’ll be great to see everyone, but most likely all I’ll be able to eat are the mashed potatoes, rolls, salad, and green bean casserole. Now that I say that, I guess it’s quite a good variety of things I can eat. I half joked if I would bring my own dish…I plan on drinking many glasses of wine and carbing it up I guess. 🙂

  • Wendy November 12, 2009, 1:42 pm

    Pumpkin pie!! 🙂

    I’m not vegetarian, either, but I think contributing the butternut squash soup sounds like a great idea!

    Even though you say your desk is messy, I like that you have cheerful flowers on it! Cheerfulness IS conducive to creativity. 🙂

  • Aimee November 12, 2009, 1:42 pm

    I make a tofurky (from whole foods) for myself most years. When I go to my inlaws, they have a single plain whole sweet potato that they cook for me, which is nice (although maybe a bit strange because I guess that is supposed to be my entree). I eat the sweet potato and some other veggies. They mostly like to fight with me when I try to pass up the pie/dessert, which is a little frustrating!

  • janetha b. November 12, 2009, 1:44 pm

    i love the fact that the couscous brand name is “pita pal” haha. i like your game plan for turkey day (without the turkey!) my family embraces my healthy eating choices and prefers that i prepare food for them.. so i will be doing just that on thanksgiving this year. i will definitely be going for a happy turkey this time around, especially after seeing food inc earlier this year.

  • Ingunn November 12, 2009, 1:45 pm

    I’m NOT a fan of Tofurkey, so we prefer getting a Field Roast ( – and to make it even easier, we use Tofurkey Gravy, which is vegan.

    Then I concentrate my cooking efforts on making yam souffle, rosemary potatoes and brussel sprouts, nom nom nom!

    Oh, and I recently found a photo of the freakiest fake turkey ever. So disturbing:

  • Kathleen November 12, 2009, 1:47 pm

    I have problems with people (especially my boyfriend’s super old fashioned fam) asking me why I am a vegetarian, making fun of my “hippy ways” or telling me they are praying for me to eat meat. Thanksgiving, I usually make my own entree and stock up on salads and anything else I can locate with no meat products…unfortunately, my own dad (who knows I have been a veggie since I was 12) always asks me if I am ready for turkey because he forgets I am a veg…lol, I am planning on doing maybe a veggie “meatloaf”? Any good recipes?

  • Whitney @ Lettuce Love November 12, 2009, 1:49 pm

    Wow, I just realized that this will be my 9th Thanksgiving sans meat! I can’t believe that it has been that long. I stick with veggies, sweet potatoes, and bread I have officially decided this past week to stop eating cow’s milk so that will make things a little more interesting this year.

  • Katie November 12, 2009, 1:50 pm

    “No turkey at dinner means more room for pie!!” I’ve used this line at a few Thanksgivings and it’s worked well to avoid discussion/arguments 🙂

  • Megan (The Runner's Kitchen) November 12, 2009, 1:59 pm

    I would definitely skip the tofurkey – there are so many delicious veggie side dishes, bread puddings, soups, salads, and pies (!!) that can satisfy your Thanksgiving cravings. Mmm…I think I could just eat sweet potato casserole, cranberry sauce, and pumpkin pie and be happy 🙂

  • Cynthia (It All Changes) November 12, 2009, 2:01 pm

    I’m not vegetarian but I have to remind my family of my healthy lifestyle everytime I visit. I just have to pick my battles and often provide my own entree.

  • Lauren November 12, 2009, 2:02 pm

    your pictures look great, so jealous of the new camera!

  • Nicole November 12, 2009, 2:02 pm

    Thank you for posting options for meat eaters!! I am all for free range poultry/beef/pork/eggs(instead of cage free)!!!

  • lisa November 12, 2009, 2:03 pm

    This is a great post! I am not a vegetarian but we had a couple over to our place last year for thanksgiving who are. They brought their own main dish but I made stuffing from scratch that I made sure they could eat, along with the other side dishes. I love the comments too, lots of great tips for vegetarians, those who are hosting them, and those who just want new ideas for Thanksgiving!

    Also, thanks for posting the pic of your desk (even if you think it was a mess – it definitely is not compared to mine!). It is cool to see where you work and where the ideas come from!

  • Kelly November 12, 2009, 2:03 pm

    I eat a vegan diet so it’s a little different. I’ve been vegan for 2 years now so my family is getting used to it. I’m bringing stuffed acorn squash for my main dish and I’m in charge of dessert. I’m making a fall fruit crumble from the Joys of Vegan Baking. The first one is always the hardest. But once you figure out that it’s not just about the food, it’s about spending time with your family it’s not all that stressful.

  • Joelle (The Pancake Girl) November 12, 2009, 2:03 pm

    Tofurkey freaks me out, too..

  • Jennifer @ His N' Her Health November 12, 2009, 2:05 pm

    This is my first vegetarian/vegan Thanksgiving as well. I honestly don’t like Thanksgiving food, so I usually don’t eat much anyways. This year I am going to probably bring a lentil stew and roasted veggies. My Future MIL is hosting it and she is very nice about accommodating me. However I am definitely expecting comments from the rest of the Fiance’s family!

  • brandi November 12, 2009, 2:05 pm

    i LOVE israeli couscous 🙂 I’m having some tonight, actually! It’s so doughy.

    great tips, and yay for finding local, humanely raised meat if you do eat it.

  • sarah November 12, 2009, 2:05 pm

    There’s a discussion on this going on at the Well blog at the New York Times. My family, as it happens, is vegetarian. We go out to a vegetarian restaurant for Thanksgiving every year – it’s delicious AND there are no dishes to clean. Score.

  • Shelly November 12, 2009, 2:07 pm

    I think the good thing about Thanksgiving is that the sides are the best part anyway! I generally only eat a tiny bit of turkey and load my plate up with green beans, sweet potatoes, dressing, gravy (good call on the vegetarian gravy), cranberry sauce, and macaroni…and lots and lots of pie. 🙂 I think it would be pretty easy to just skip the turkey. If someone asks you about it, you can just say that way you have more room for the food you really like!

  • Kat November 12, 2009, 2:08 pm

    My uncle has been a vegetarian for about 50 years now, so for the past few Thanksgivings i have made the following for him as an entree:

    Obviously without the turkey that it calls for! The quiche is awesome and everyone (vege or not) loves it! I will admit that it takes a little time to make, but it is so worth it.

  • jen trinque November 12, 2009, 2:09 pm

    I went veg when I was 13, so imagine how freaked out my grandparents were that first year! I mostly ate sides, anyways, so up through my twenties I would eat the mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce, green beans or peas, rolls, etc. Now that I’m older (ahh! I’ll be 30 this year at Thanksgiving!) I do most of the cooking. The boys in the family still eat Turkey, but the ladies are veg, so it’s easy. However, I’ve been eating mostly vegan, so I may change up some things this year…looking for a good pumpkin pie recipe that’s vegan!

    • Lindsey @ Sound Eats November 12, 2009, 3:10 pm

      I’m actually about to start work on developing a vegan pumpkin pie recipe right now!

  • Felicia November 12, 2009, 2:14 pm

    I’m not a vegetarian, but I still don’t think that I’d have a problem finding something great to eat if turkey disappeared from my family’s Thanksgiving. In talking to friends, I realize that my Thanksgiving might be unqiue since we have approximately 10 million side dishes. Ok, slight exaggeration… 😉 but turkey is almost always the only meat.

    We have stuffing (cooked outside of the turkey, therefore vegetarian friendly), green beans, glazed carrots, corn, sweet potato casserole, mac and cheese and more… so yeah, the list is long. I do enjoy turkey, but I think that a vegetarian Thanksgiving is equally as great!

  • Lauren November 12, 2009, 2:18 pm

    I’ve been a vegetarian since probably 1st grade (im 22 now), so i cant even remember the last time i ate turkey at thanksgiving. Thanksgiving is a really big holiday in my family and theres always a TON of food so the turkey isn’t even important in my opinion 🙂 We always have mashed potatoes, sweet potato casserole, corn souflee, green bean casserole, several types of stuffing [a vegetarian one for me any any others who might want it], stuffed mushrooms, salads, breads etc. it’s endless. Once you fill your plate with all the side dishes I don’t think you’ll even care about the missing turkey!

  • Sarah W. November 12, 2009, 2:22 pm

    I dont think you necessarily need a vegetarian “entree” for your thanksgiving – if you just subtract the turkey & gravy everything else should be vegetarian or close to it. stuffing we always bake on the side so its not an issue for me. i dont get the entree part of your statement caitlin – sorry. all you need are all the sides and thats your entree 🙂 i agree w/ you about the tofurkey – i dont feel compelled to have a turkey replacement – thats creeeeeepy!!!!

    my dad, who isn’t veggie at all – even mentioned just having an all sides thanksgiving (its supopsed to just be 4 of us) LOL because we never eat much turkey anyways 😉 i have always preferred the sides over the turkey!

  • kilax November 12, 2009, 2:22 pm

    This will be my first vegan Thanksgiving and Christmas, but luckily, we are hosting! We make everything vegan, and are going to have squash with rice or lentils instead of meat.

  • kilax November 12, 2009, 2:26 pm

    Ha ha, and as a funny side note, my boss harrasses me all the time about being vegan and wouldn’t get off my case last week about how I won’t be eating turkey!

    Caitlin, I highly recommend Eating Animals to you. The author discusses why free-range and organic meat is not always that much better than conventional.

  • Ashley November 12, 2009, 2:28 pm

    This is my 6th or so thanksgiving as a vegetarian. My family would forget or make fun of me all the other years. For the first time this year I was asked if I wanted anything special. I told them I was just looking forward to sweet potatoes and that I could provide anything else I needed. I was pleased to see a shift in their thinking (though I am sure they will still make comments).

  • Kelly November 12, 2009, 2:28 pm

    You should be able to eat stuffing if you don’t cook it in the turkey. The stuffing my mom makes has no meat at all and she cooks it in it’s own dish. At my Thanksgiving I could easily eat without turkey, everything else is vegetarian friendly between stuffing, mashed potatoes, mashed butternut squash, cranberry sauce etc. Yum. I am getting hungry just thinking about it.

  • grace November 12, 2009, 2:33 pm

    i’m also vegetarian. luckily my family is great about it, and usually the only meat options at thanksigiving are turkey and the stuffing, which i’ve never been fond of anyways!

    this is the best recipe EVER – use generous cream / butter, but it is thanksgiving, right?

  • KAtie November 12, 2009, 2:36 pm

    I haven’t been an ominivore on Turkey Day in years and I usually just end up eating carbby sides. I don’t know what I’m going to do this year. I was kinda looking for suggestions but I’ll probably just eat whatever I can get that doesn’t get in the way of cooking the main meal. Or we will get a free range turkey and I’ll eat some of it. Haven’t quite decided. It’s kinda a hassel during family get togethes and when your out of town to be a vegan/vegetarian.

  • Hallie November 12, 2009, 2:46 pm

    I’m not vegetarian, but I’m making a chocolate pie that’s almost dairy-free (the crust has butter) and not telling anyone that it has tofu in it until after they try it! I’m test-driving it though first to make sure it’s as good as people on the websites say it is (it’s an Alton Brown recipe)

  • Taysa November 12, 2009, 2:48 pm

    I’ve been a vegetarian for 11 years — since I was 14 — and it’s been funny to watch the transition of my family over the years. When I first started, I had the people trying to start arguments with me, making fun of me, everything. Thanksgiving became kind of depressing because most of my favorite foods (especially my uncle’s baked beans) had some kind of animal product in them. Eleven years later, I still get teased (what’s family for?) but my uncle now MAKES his baked beans vegetarian. So, while I’m still the only vegetarian, I seem to have had some kind of influence. I eat a lot of “sides” and pie and frankly I’m fine with that. 🙂

  • TorontoGirloutWest November 12, 2009, 2:51 pm

    I’ve recently gone pescatarian so I faced this problem for Canadian Thanksgiving. My fiance begged me for something non-seafood so I gave in and made lamb.

    I used to LOVE lamb. I can’t emphasize that word enough. I tried some for Thanksgiving and the love wasn’t there anymore. I’ve moved beyond that. So I mostly ate side dishes.

    The real trouble however came when we visited the Fiance’s family for a whole week. That was trouble. They don’t really eat fruits or veggies. And frankly they don’t eat much for main courses but rely on snacking instead.

    I starved for a couple of days there!!! There wasn’t anything pescatarian friendly. I almost cried when I was given one single lonely egg for breakfast one morning. It made me very sad.

    Thing is my fiance’s father doesn’t like seafood. At. All. And he doesn’t even want to be around eggs. Makes things hard!!

    Thankfully my parents are quite accepting. We’re spending Christmas with them and she’s all about how she’s going to make me lobster for Christmas dinner! lol

    Gotta love my mom! 🙂

  • Julie November 12, 2009, 3:01 pm

    This is going to be my first veggie Thanksgiving so I’m going to make a veggie stuffing and gravy. I have a few others ideas on what to make, but I might get overwhelmed with just the stuffing! I’m more of a baker, not a cooker.

  • Julie November 12, 2009, 3:02 pm

    Oh, and I have talked my parents into getting a local organic turkey! I want them to be healthy too 🙂

  • Abby (Nibble, Nourish, Run) November 12, 2009, 3:03 pm

    We’ll have some veggie guests for Thanksgiving, plus I’m not a huge turkey fan, so I’m making a squash tart, a leek and parsnip bread pudding, brussels sprouts, plus a big salad with roast butternut squash and pomegranate – yay!

  • Julia November 12, 2009, 3:04 pm

    I’m actually a new vegetarian as well, and also worried about Thanksgiving dinner with my family. I’ll probably be eating two meals that day (my family and my boyfriend’s), but I’m not worried about my family. My Oma is making the stuffing vegetarian just for me and there are lots of other sides I can fill up on. My boyfriend’s family is another story though — his parents are very conservative and in their minds vegetarians are automatically liberals with no morals that care more about the lives of animals than the lives of the babies they apparently enjoy aborting. This is not an accurate description of me at all, so I didn’t tell them when I became a vegetarian for fear that they would try to come between me and their son. I’m still not sure how I’m going to tackle this dinner…

    • Caitlin November 12, 2009, 3:05 pm

      i just laughed so hard that i spit tea all over my desk.

      • Caitlin November 12, 2009, 3:10 pm

        oh, and i wish you the best of luck dealing with your future in-laws 🙂

      • Abby November 12, 2009, 3:13 pm

        Julia, I am in the same boat! My in laws look I me and I know they want to say “God made animals to eat…”, because as a vegetarian I must not have read the Bible…
        I just make my husband double check that there will be a salad for me to eat, thank her for going out of her way to accomodate me, and keep my mouth otherwise closed (except, of course, when I’m taking bites of my salad)…and that’s how I make it through. :/

        • Krista November 12, 2009, 3:20 pm

          Ahhh my in-laws, LOL! They are used to my vegetarianism after 10+ years now, but you can see the horror in their faces when I feed them a meatless meal. Recently I made veggie lasagna for lunch – they raved about it but for dinner my MIL wanted to make sure her husband would be getting meat. God forbid he have TWO meals without meat in his HUGE belly, heehee!

    • Holmgirl November 12, 2009, 3:33 pm

      My goodness, I have the same problem– but with my own family. I’ve run into this with some of my conservative friends as well, to the point where I’ve had people cancel on attending non-political events with free food when they found out it’d be meat-free.

      Does anyone have any ideas someone’s choice to eat/not eat meat at a meal gets turned into a political debate? Obviously there’s got to be meat-eating liberals and veggie conservatives out there…

    • Allison November 12, 2009, 7:32 pm

      Welcome to my family. My sister is a dedicated vegan and my parents sometimes act like it is an affront to their family values.

      That said, she cooked us some GREAT vegan dinners this summer and they are coming around.

  • Katerina November 12, 2009, 3:04 pm

    Stuffing is my favorite and you can totally make it vegetarian! My Mum always made extra outside of the bird to accommodate healthy appetites. My fave is a simple stuffing with onion and sage. Just use veggie stock instead of chicken stock\drippings. Plus… seriously gravy needs stuffing!

    Funny I was vegetarian for 8 years, and I can’t remember what I did on Thanksgiving, maybe I blocked it out?

  • Lizzy November 12, 2009, 3:07 pm

    i love this post. although i’m not vegetarian, i don’t eat alot of meat to begin with. On thanksgiving i normally don’t eat alot of turkey or none at all, but thats not intentional, i simply just don’t like it all that much! howcome you will have to skip the stuffing?? is it cause its cooked in the bird? i know i read someone said to just cook it outside the bird, thats a great idea!

    • Caitlin November 12, 2009, 3:10 pm

      i guess i could eat it if its not cooked in the bird, but i think my family does it that way. 🙁

      • Caitlin in MD November 12, 2009, 4:02 pm

        FYI, it is generally considered unsafe to cook stuffing inside a turkey these days. Because it takes a while for the inside of the bird – where the stuffing is – to get to the correct temp, and meanwhile the stuffing is just hanging out, breeding bacteria. So, maybe you can get a vegetarian stuffing out of ’em by sharing that info!

    • Lindsay November 12, 2009, 3:23 pm

      I don’t know about other people, but in my family and my husband’s family the stuffing always contains the “trimmings” like the neck meat, etc. the stuff that comes stuffed inside a turkey when you buy it!

    • Shelly November 12, 2009, 4:04 pm

      My family uses the same recipe for both stuffing and dressing and makes a batch of each. The stuffing is cooked inside the bird and comes out a lot moister than the dressing, which is cooked in a casserole dish. Ours has eggs but no meat. I think if you want the stuffing (provided that it’s meat free), you could always ask them to reserve a little in a ramekin for you and just bake it in the oven….

      • Kelly November 12, 2009, 7:29 pm

        Yeah I was the one who earlier said not to cook it in the bird. My mom stopped doing that years ago, but its’ not considered safe (I don’t know why, but I like it better this way anyway). She makes SUCH good stuffing without any meat at all. You can’t miss out on the stuffing!

  • Lindsay November 12, 2009, 3:11 pm

    Okay, this is a really stupid question but why do people cook stuffing in the bird? So it tastes like turkey??

    • Caitlin November 12, 2009, 3:12 pm

      to torture the vegetarians at the table?

  • Krista November 12, 2009, 3:17 pm

    I normally don’t indulge in sweets much but for holidays I do! So if the only side I can eat is mashed potatoes, I just eat more pie! 😉

  • Anne Marie@ New Weigh of Life November 12, 2009, 3:18 pm

    The couscous looks so, so pretty!

  • Elizabeth November 12, 2009, 3:20 pm

    This will be my 3rd vegetarian Thanksgiving. I’m usually happy with just sides at every meal, and my family usually has a couple salads and vegetable dishes. But sometimes I’ll make pumpkin soup or another veggie entree for everybody. Besides, the less I eat at the meal, the more pie I can eat!

  • Amelia November 12, 2009, 3:23 pm

    I am not vegetarian, but will avoid the turkey for Thanksgiving this year simply because it will not be an organic bird. Even though I volunteered to bring the ORGANIC bird and was shot down. My husbands family does not really care about quality as much as I do when it comes to their food. Their argument is that “people have been eating this way for years! You don’t eat like this all the time so you just might as well indulge”. Um, no thanks, I can think of better ways to indulge!

    I have volunteered to make most of the side dishes so that I can have control over the quality of food as well as what goes into the dishes. This way I am not worried about what I can eat and I can quit explaining my eating habits! I am making: caramelized onion and roasted butternut squash soup, baby honey wheat rolls, parmesan smashed potatoes, roasted brussels sprouts and asparagus, honey glazed carrots, cranberry sauce, and a healthy green bean casserole.

    • Jessica November 12, 2009, 8:01 pm

      can i come to your house?

  • Janessa ( November 12, 2009, 3:25 pm

    I love this post! I just published my post about vegetarianism and veganism and what they mean to different people.

    As far as Thanksgiving goes, I’m lucky enough to come from a family of vegetarians, so Thanksgiving has always been about seitan and potatoes and mushroom gravy for me. Your suggestion, Caitlin, is super–bringing a dish to share and refusing to get caught up in any family time drama is the way to go.

  • Megan @ Healthy Hoggin November 12, 2009, 3:28 pm

    My husband actually did get me to try a Tofurkey a few years ago, and I love it! Way better than real turkey, in my opinion, and much easier to cook…

    I’m lucky, because my mom has always cooked the stuffing separately from the turkey in a crockpot–she thought we’d all get salmonella poisoning from raw turkey juice dripping in there! Ha ha. Now, she is thoughtful enough to make two batches of stuffing– one vegetarian version, and one with sausage for everyone else. It’s actually really easy for her, too! She just makes a big batch of stuffing all at once, then separates it into two batches and adds meat to one of them at the end.

    Almost everything else can be made vegetarian and healthier– we do roasted green beans instead of “green bean casserole” and I think they taste better! Also, we use HAIN vegetarian brown gravy (found at Whole Foods) which is tasty and easy!

    And we, too, just look down and try to avoid all those judgmental “liberal vegetarian” glares we get from the rest of our families! 🙂

  • Ashley November 12, 2009, 3:29 pm

    I’m in Canada so we had our Thanksgiving last month. I hosted dinner for my partner, dad and brother and all three of them are absolutely meat eaters!

    I made the boys a meatloaf, myself a little tempeh loaf and everything else was gluten free and vegan, including the chickpea gravy (awesome recipe from Vegan with a Vengeance)

    Everything was enjoyed! My 17 year old brother even went back for seconds of mashed potatoes and gravy. It was a meal that we could all enjoy and everyone left happy and full 🙂

    If you don’t have the option of hosting, Thanksgiving dinner is a meal usually filled with side dishes, so you can contribute a main on your own and then fill your plate up with glorious veggies!

  • Jen November 12, 2009, 3:39 pm

    Try the Celebration Roast from:

    They are EXCELLENT! We have had them for the past twon Thanksgivings since going veg. Way better than Tofurky. The only stipulation is that you must sing “Celebration” by Kool & the Gang every time you refer to it. That is my husband’s rule.

  • Amber November 12, 2009, 3:40 pm

    I am planning a Veggie Thanksgiving for my family. I have always just avoided the turkey but I feel strongly after much of the reading and documentaries I have watched that millions of American’s all purchasing turkey for one day cannot be good thing. I plan on making a butternut squash soup and variety of roasted vegetables, a savory vegan pie, mashed potatoes and roasted vegetable gravy, a salad and some sort of bread, and maybe a rice or risotto dish. has 3 amazing veggie thanksgiving menus! Defiantly check them out!

  • Janel (Dine Dish Delish) November 12, 2009, 3:43 pm

    When you think of it, so many Thanksgiving sides are veg! Unless the stuffing was actually stuffed IN the bird, or people are using chicken broth bases for foods and soups, you have a lot of options: mashed potatoes, squash, green bean casserole, stuffing, cranberry sauce, roasted veggies and more are all veg! The only thing missing is the turkey and I’m too stuffed from all the sides to notice. If you’re vegan though, yes its a whole different ballgame.
    This Saturday my article will be up on (The Veggie Table) about how to have a happy – filling – veg thanksgiving. Hope it helps guide some readers!

  • Ellen November 12, 2009, 3:52 pm

    Wow, your lunch looks like a gourmet chef made it!! I’m having terrible food-envy as I sit here noshing on my soggy turkey Subway sandwich. Anyway, there aren’t any vegetarians in my family, but I am going to TRY to load up on the salad and turkey and just take small portions of everything else. We’ll see how it goes!!

  • Bec November 12, 2009, 3:55 pm

    My family hold a thanksgiving dinner for 30-40 people every year and my mom does all the cooking, she makes a bean salad for protein for the vegetarians and the only type of stuffing she makes is vegetarian. Plus most of the side dishes are fine for vegetarians.

  • Kate G. November 12, 2009, 4:00 pm

    Your blog always sparks the most wonderful conversations/ comments 🙂 which is one of the reasons i love reading it!

    I am not vegetarian but i definitely am for the idea of supporting local and organic food sources!

  • Kim Hoffman November 12, 2009, 4:11 pm

    I just did research on this last night! This is my second Thanksgiving as a vegetarian and I’m the only one in my family. My dad is waiting for me to “snap out of it!” Since I cook for the 20 people who come, I can make substitutions like veggie broth instead of chicken in the stuffing, etc. I had a tofurky last year for me, but this year I’m trying a Field Celebration Roast. I’ve heard they taste better than Tofurky. If you have access to a Whole Foods, they’re having a Thanksgiving open house this weekend (my two are having them 2 weekends) and they are offering tips for veggie and traditional Thanksgivings. We’re going on Saturday. It may be worth checking out!

  • Tiffany November 12, 2009, 4:14 pm

    Not sure if anyone’s mentioned this yet, but has an entire vegetarian thanksgiving menu that sounds really good albeit probably not that good for you. I’m not a vegetarian myself, but thought this info might be helpful. Here’s the link –

  • Amy (One Thousand Steps) November 12, 2009, 4:28 pm

    A vegetarian Thanksgiving is all about rockin’ the side-dishes – yum!!! I’m still planning my menu for this year but so far I’m thinking of home-made cranberry sauce, roasted brussel sprouts, wild rice with nuts and dried cranberries, sauteed cabbage & apples, and vegan pumpkin pie. I’ll still make garlic mashed potatoes and a small bird for my hubby though. 😉

  • Sammi November 12, 2009, 4:38 pm

    I had a few vegetarian Thanksgivings back while I wasn’t eating meat and it wasn’t as hard as I was expecting. Most of the side dishes that we made every year are vegetarian friendly and good enough to make a meal out of. My sister brings her own tofurkey every year since she’s still a vegetarian. I tried it last year but didn’t like it 🙁

    Normally we have green bean casserole, corn pudding, mashed potatoes, Sweet potato casserole (we leave off the marshmallows on one part for my sister since they contain gelatin) and my dad makes 2 types of gravy (one for the meat eaters and one for my sister)

    I would like to try at least one dish for the first time this year though but I haven’t decided what (nor have I found out if I’ll even be able to have Thanksgiving dinner at home or if I’ll be working :()

  • Lauren November 12, 2009, 4:43 pm

    Do you have a gravy you like already? I don’t like Tofurkey but I love the Tofurkey gravy! You can buy it separately in the frozen section near the Tofurkeys.

  • Megan November 12, 2009, 4:50 pm

    Focusing on Christmas, my aunt’s husband is Greek and they do not eat meat for the week of Christmas. She always makes shrimp creole as a main dish so he has something to eat, but it yummy enough for the rest of us to eat.

  • Susan November 12, 2009, 5:06 pm

    I’m not a vegetarian anymore, but I spent almost a decade skipping turkey and ham at big family dinners. I think my best advice it to bring a side dish that everyone will like, but will be completely different from what’s being offered. You can only fill up on so many mashed root vegetables 😛 My favourites to bring were things like pasta salad, 3 bean salad, or quiche (protein!).

  • Christina November 12, 2009, 5:56 pm

    I was reading your “Tips” page when I thought of a nice addition. My CC (cross country) coach knows that if you get “down” mentally, you’re done. So he tells us, when you’re running tell yourself “Sha-zam” as soon as you start feeling bad. Usually, we use this to “transfer” the bad mojo to the other runners, our opponents, but we are more benevolent, and use it as a purging ritual of sorts. Like there’s enough bad stuff and mojo in the world, why pollute our brains? I thought this might be helpful for the page. Stay Beautiful!

    • caitlin November 12, 2009, 6:03 pm

      that is an excellent tip – i like it!!!

  • Mama Pea November 12, 2009, 6:01 pm

    I’m on a mission to make some black eyed pea cakes that Gena raves about from her fancy NY restaurants! I will let you know when I have them perfected! Oh, and I finally got something in the mail for you today!!!

  • Lauren November 12, 2009, 6:31 pm

    I can’t tell you how excited I am to fill my plate with Sweet Potato Casserole, Pumpkin Corn Bread, Green Beans, and Cranberry Sauce and Stuffing. Not missing the turkey one bit! Really, I feel like the turkey would just get in the way of all of the rest of the AMAZING thanksgiving sides. Personally, even if I did eat meat, I feel that the turkey would be the least appealing out of everything. So boring right!!?!

    Caitlin, I just saw this recipe for a great Thanksgiving side dish and I have to share it with you! I think it looks and sounds fantastic and I really think you could make another “main dish” out of it. Let me know what you think?

  • Foy November 12, 2009, 6:31 pm

    In Barbera Kingsolver’s Animal Vegetable Miracle there is a recipe for pumpkin soup, made and baked in the pumpkin. What a beautiful center piece for a vegetarian Thanksgiving. Plus the book is all about her family’s year of eating local, very education. Highly recommended read.

  • Courtney November 12, 2009, 6:42 pm

    This has been a big topic on my mind this year as I have just recently (again and probably permanently) become a vegetarian. I have absolutely no desire to eat meat – for many different reasons! However, my husband and children still eat meat (but not at home because I don’t make it!) It’ll just be us and my parents at Thanksgiving – and I’ve really been struggling. They all eat meat. I don’t. I don’t want to serve it, but is that really the right thing? Every single other meal they eat at my house, they don’t have meat. Seems like I could make it for this meal. As of this moment, my plan is to make a small turkey breast to appease everyone else, but also make some healthy, amazing, and delicious sides that are ALL vegetarian and make a REALLY big deal about how my plate looks without the turkey. I’m not one to be annoying about meat consumption, but I’d love to see my husband become a vegetarian – and my kids to follow!

  • Carrie H November 12, 2009, 6:47 pm

    Thanks, Caitlin! I’m bringing my own gravy for sure now, ha ha.

  • Nikole November 12, 2009, 7:08 pm

    I do not eat much meat and turkey is not one of my favorites but I look forward to Thanksgiving for the cabbage casserole. A similar recipe is here

    My aunt always makes it and it is amazing! Even people who hate cabbage scarf it down. Plus we always have cream cheese corn, green bean casserole, salad, broccoli and cheese casserole…we love our veggies and our casseroles!

  • Katie November 12, 2009, 7:21 pm

    I eat a LOT of sides… we usually have at least 10! I love mashed sweet potatoes with brown sugar and walnuts, turnips, squash…

  • Sammi November 12, 2009, 7:23 pm

    My Mom, sister and I are all vegetarians. This will be our first Thanksgiving as such but I’ve never liked Turkey anyway so it won’t be much different than usual. The only thing I’ll be missing is matzah ball soup! (My grandma makes it with chicken broth still..) But other than that we tend to have some good options. I am excited for mashed turnips, mashed potatoes, some vegetarian mushroom soup my mom makes, and BIRTHDAY cake for me 🙂 I’m my mom’s “turkey baby.” I was born on Thanksgiving so she likes to buy me a stuffed animal turkey every year.. haha.

    I usually only eat sides on holidays..but it’s ok because I rack up on all the yummy desserts 😉

  • Bethany November 12, 2009, 7:29 pm

    That couscous looks amazing!

  • Allison November 12, 2009, 7:36 pm

    Girl, you need a bigger desk.

  • Jenny November 12, 2009, 8:08 pm

    I recently switched to an organic diary and non-processed carb diet based on recommendations from my dermatologist and I thought my mom was going to have a heart attack!! Her exact quote, from the woman who still drinks whole milk was “I can’t believe I’d ever have a child who drink soy..” HA. she’s going to keel over at thanksgiving.

  • Brittany November 12, 2009, 8:14 pm

    I went vegetarian four years ago, and we have a HUGE thanksgiving family reunion every year. We’ve tried all different options but we have it down by now; there are a lot of dietary restrictions throughout our fam. We avoid the tofu turkey, its really not all that great. Stuffing can easily be made vegetarian, and its delicious. Yams are amazing, lows of veggies are usually there. Rolls w/ jelly. I usually bring my own soup too — you have to be careful of chicken broth in others.

  • ashleigh November 12, 2009, 8:25 pm

    I’ve been a vegetarian for 12, almost 13 years and I’m 24. Luckily my family is very accepting and always make sure to have lots of veggie choices for me. I find that there’s so many vegetables served on thanksgiving that it’s not even a challenge for me. The only thing is that a lot of the veggies are cooked with butter and or cream and it’s easy to over do it. However, this year I am eating a lot healthier so I do plan on bringing a healthier version of green bean casserole…which I am sure no one will eat but me 🙂

    I feel so badly for people who’s families/friends don’t accept their food choices! My manager even orders special lunches for me at work!

  • Melissa S. November 12, 2009, 10:41 pm

    Over the past 7 years my aunt has never been supportive of my veg head ways and always deliberately sticks meat in everything for t-day dinner, and says i can eat the vegs and bread. so every year i bring my own fresh green bean and onion casserole (w/ soymilk and veg broth) and this year i plan on making a tofu shepards pie. she’ll probably have a cow (or turkey, hah) but i won’t go home starving that day like i always do it! it pisses me off so bad that she doesn’t like how i eat…and believe me, i’ve tried, along w/ my cousins (former vegs) to have the talk w/ her, but she insists i’m crazy (along with everything else i do…esp my work and running…she literally thinks i’m MAD).

    should be a fun holiday, don’t you think?

  • BroccoliHut November 12, 2009, 11:42 pm

    In past years, I’ve tried imitation turkey products as well as hearty vegetable dishes, and I definitely prefer the latter. This year I plan on making some sort of lentil-stuffed acorn squash:)

  • Stephanie November 13, 2009, 12:11 am

    Hi Caitlin, I just wanted to say hi and to say that I have been following your blog for some time now and I love it! I especially love “Operation Beuatiful!” I have even posted a few notes myself. Because of you as well as others in the blogging community, I decided to start a quest and do something new! I am doing 365 days of Living Life to the fullest and trying something new everyday! Thanks for the inspiration and love the blog!

  • Hillary @ Nutrition Nut on the Run November 13, 2009, 2:28 am

    The picture of you & The Husband is adorable. Your couscous lunch looks mighty delish!

  • Stephanie November 13, 2009, 2:40 am

    I was reading Bon Appetit and they had this recipe:
    It sounds good!

  • RhodeyGirl November 13, 2009, 7:37 am

    I am hosting Thanksgiving brunch this year, so that I can eat the foods I want to eat that day. Later in the afternoon we are going to the traditional meal at one of PB’s aunt’s houses, but I will just stick to the salads and veggies that will surely be there.

    I went to this work thing with PB last night and they had no vegetarian entree available (I am not a veg but prefer it and only eat organic/hormone free meats). I had 3 bites of my steak and felt sick to my stomach immediately, but I still can’t figure out if it was mental or actually physical.

  • Diana (Mymarblerye) November 13, 2009, 8:06 am

    LOVE that you are reading about relationship therapy BEFORE you need it. It’ll make for a healthy marriage.

  • Jennifer November 13, 2009, 8:42 am

    GREAT post about a veggie Thanksgiving. I know that many vegetarians/vegans refer to the holiday they celebrate as “ThanksLIVING” since there are no animals on the table. I had my own vegetarian adventure a couple of years ago and while I do eat meat now, it’s not very often and many people still think that I am vegetarian by looking at my plate.
    I think it’s an awesome idea to bring a dish that everyone can share. The funniest thing to me is how most meat eaters assume that vegetarians and vegans eat things that taste bad. What? Why would I eat something that tastes bad? There are SO many great veggie and vegan recipes, sharing them with your family could inspire them to enjoy veggies more often! The best lasagna we’ve ever made in this house was totally vegan. My husband still asks for it.
    To the person who says that she doesn’t want her family to cater to her, I think it is totally within reason to explain that she is vegetarian and would like to know what’s on the menu. Maybe she’ll feel less troublesome if she explains that she may bring her own dish. It can be so hard to be a veggie in a meat eater house. My mother in law asked me once if I wanted a turkey burger…..hello?? I totally understand that feeling, but I wish I would have stuck up for myself more. It sucks being relegated to the one veggie on the table that may have been just heated up in the microwave. I say good luck to her and don’t be afraid to ask for what you want!

  • shannon November 13, 2009, 11:27 am

    I have been a vegetarian or vegan for 12 years and still love Thanksgiving. Luckily my mom has always been very accommodating, leaving some stuffing out of the bird, making a separate batch of potatoes with Earth Balance instead of butter, etc. In the past I have made Tofurkey roasts (don’t be afraid, Caitlin! they are actually pretty good) but this year I’m going to try to make my “roast” from scratch using the recipe on this page:
    Happy, healthy Thanksgiving!

  • Gretchen November 13, 2009, 4:41 pm

    I got this recipe for Butternut Squash and Cheddar Bread Pudding from Bon Appetit as a vegetarian main course for Thanksgiving. Its totally amazing! Give it a try!

  • Laura November 13, 2009, 10:41 pm

    I’m a semi-vegetarian now, but was a vegetarian for MANY years, as was my husband. I feel your pain. 🙂

    Having said that, in addition to the glass of wine, the best advice I can give you is to not freak out about the dish you ate without realizing it wasn’t vegetarian. Or discovering bacon in the casserole that someone told you didn’t have any meat. You just end up stressing yourself out and possibly pissing others off (and living up to that stereotype of vegetarians as uptight and dogmatic). I say that as someone who has been there. Some people have a very narrow definition of what constitutes “meat.” (I was served countless chicken dishes when hosts learned I didn’t eat meat.) To others, chicken broth would never even cross their mind as worth mentioning–it’s not meat, right? Made from an animal, but not meat. So, you know, when this happens, just reach for another glass of wine. 😉 And know that tomorrow is another day.

    Good luck!

    Also, I recently made a curried butternut squash soup with coconut milk that was awesome. I think it would be great on a Thanksgiving table.

  • Becca November 14, 2009, 1:16 am

    I am not usually at our Thanksgiving celebrations because I ALWAYS have to work. But this year I will be and I plan to make a couple of side dishes and maybe an entree to contribute. My family is cool with it and my cousin is also vegetarian…no one really gives us a hard time although they often “forget” about it. I usually just don’t make a scene whenever I eat somewhere and have whatever I can (I always make sure to have a clif bar or something in my purse in case there’s not much for me!)

  • Sarah @ See Sarah Eat November 16, 2009, 9:58 am

    This is going to be not only my first vegetarian Thanksgiving but VEGAN! I’m nervous but I think everyone will deal with it okay and I’m planning on bringing some dishes too. It’s also the first time we’re having Thanksgiving with my in-laws (gasp)! It will be great to hear everyone’s stories after the fact 😉

  • Julia @ May 26, 2010, 7:29 am

    Great tips thanks – am reading back through your old posts to help with the switch to becoming veggie – very useful!


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