We are having Thanksgiving dinner at our house (again!) for the extended family. There will be about twenty-five people here, including children.
One of my adult grandchildren is a vegetarian and doesn't eat any meat at all. Do you have any advice about what to cook for her? - Grandma B.
Dear Grandma B.,
I hope you aren't cooking the whole meal yourself for all those people!
My advice is to cook the turkey, and ask each family to bring one or two dishes, including the adult vegetarian grandchild.
Ask her to bring some vegetarian side dishes that everyone can enjoy, and which would blend with the traditional Thanksgiving dinner. That limits her choices, obviously.
Most of the other guests won't enjoy tofu, tempeh, or vegetarian delicacies such as lentil loaf. Rice & vegetable casserole would work, with toasted cashews and perhaps a few chickpeas.
Or a green salad or pasta salad, with some feta cheese, chick peas, or roasted sunflower seeds. Or vegetarian 'stuffing', made with roasted chestnuts or walnuts. Whatever she brings should be nicely seasoned and salted, but not too spicy.
Keep in mind the quantity and variety of food at a typical Thanksgiving dinner. Even if your granddaughter doesn't bring anything, there should be something for her to eat besides the turkey, without a lot of extra work for you.
If you're stuffing the turkey, it would be easy to cook some of the stuffing separately from the bird.
Try to make sure there are some veggie dishes, salads, or rolls without any animal ingredients. That means butter, cheese, milk, shortening, mayo, eggs, gelatin, bacon bits.
You could make a small bowl of mashed potatoes with non-dairy milk such as soy milk, and no butter.
Offer some toasted nuts or cheese (unless she's vegan) as a side dish. Serve the non-veg salad options (cheese, bacon bits or ham, hard boiled egg) on the side.
You're a wonderful Grandma for wanting to accommodate your vegetarian grandchild, and make her feel welcome.
Happy Thanksgiving! Judith Kingsbury, Savvy Vegetarian