Weekend Ramblings | This is what vegetarians eat on Thanksgiving

By Kiersten | Last Updated: March 25, 2014

Vegetarian Thanksgiving

I don’t consider myself to be an argumentative vegetarian. After abstaining from meat for the past 18 years (I’m so old, guys), it’s just become how I live my life and it’s no longer a thing. If anything, blogging has made me a little more conscious of my vegetarianism, because before this, i honestly don’t think I thought about it very much. But still, I’m not the type of vegetarian that likes to pick fights with meat eaters and I don’t get upset about people around me eating meat–this is my choice for me, that’s all. What does bother me, though, are the people who make a huge huuuuuuuge deal about not eating turkey on Thanksgiving.

Although vegetarianism is not exactly a new thing, there’s still a large contingent of people who, upon hearing that you don’t eat meat, will immediately ask, “What about on turkey on Thanksgiving?” (Often, this is either preceded or followed by: “What about fish? What about chicken? You don’t eat chicken? Fish isn’t meat, why don’t you eat fish?” Or my absolute favorite, “Plants are living too. Why do you think it’s okay to kill plants?”) When people ask me questions out of genuine curiosity, that’s cool, but there’s always this accusatory tone to the whole turkey question. The subtext is “You don’t eat turkey? YOU CAN’T BE NORMAL FOR EVEN ONE DAY?!” or “You don’t eat turkey? WHY DO YOU HATE AMERICA?”

Vegetarian Thanksgiving Meal
Even people who I’ve known for years often wonder what I eat for Thanksgiving. When I’m eating with family, it’s usually just the sides. I mean, really, there’s usually enough of them that I don’t exactly go hungry. This year, my husband and I cooked Thanksgiving dinner ourselves for the first time. I had wanted to make some kind of lentil-and-veggie based loaf, but when I thought about the time involved in making sides too, I opted to buy a Field Roast Celebration Roast instead. As the years have gone by, I’ve kind of lost my taste for meat and I have no desire to eat something that’s meant to taste like turkey (or hamburger, or hot dogs, or whatever else). So the Field Roast? Is totally perfect for us.

In addition to the Field Roast, I made stuffing with caramelized onions, kale (from the garden!), and mushrooms and chai-spiced whipped sweet potatoes (recipes to follow). My husband was in charge of making the cranberry sauce–we used Smedette’s Amaretto Cranberry Sauce recipe. We substituted ginger beer for Amaretto, so I guess it wasn’t really Amaretto Cranberry sauce, was it? The sauce was gingery and tart and amazing! (So thanks for the idea, Smedette!)

So yeah, this is what vegetarians eat on Thanksgiving. Most of the same things that everyone else does. Just not turkey.

About Kiersten

Kiersten is the founder and editor of Oh My Veggies.

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Mmm … your Thanksgiving dinner looks great! I love Field Roast. Have you ever tried their holiday Hazelnut Cranberry Roast En Croute? It is amazing! I highly recommend it!

We had a neighbor who told us that he was inviting everyone in our building over for a Thanksgiving dinner but he wasn’t inviting us because he had no idea how he could fit our vegetarian diet into his meal plan. It was the first time that not eating animals prevented us from doing anything. I forgave him … he was shortsighted and truly missed the whole idea of Thanksgiving.

I don’t think I’ve ever seen that roast! I’m going to have to look for it. I’m totally over vegetarian sausages, lunchmeat, etc, except for theirs.

Um, I totally don’t get that whole panic over having vegetarians over for Thanksgiving. We can just eat everything but the turkey! It’s not like we need some ginormous tofu roast shaped in the form of a turkey to accommodate our needs! I’m sorry you had to deal with that. 🙁 I think a lot of people think that by us not eating meat, we’re making some sort of judgment on everyone who does eat meat, and they go on the offensive.

I think you’re right about people going on the offensive. Isn’t it interesting … people must feel that being vegetarian is the “higher road” … can’t think of why else it would bring on such reactions. 🙂

We rarely eat any of the typical meat substitutes. They contain too much sodium and don’t leave me feeling very good after eating them. But Field Roast is the exception to my no-processed foods regime … I still don’t buy them often but once in awhile, they are a treat. The Hazelnut Cranberry Roast En Croute is only sold during the holidays. We have an Earth Fare, here, and they order several loaves for the store. They’ll also order more for clients with enough notice. Here’s the link to that roast: -cranberry-roast-en-croute I don’t know if one can order directly from the company but it would be worth a try if your store can’t get it. It is totally yummy!

We have an Earth Fare here too! (I’m just outside of Raleigh, BTW–I saw on your blog that you’re in Asheville & I LOOOOVE it there!) I’m going to look for that. We’re going to be going to Illinois for Christmas, but I still want to try that roast.

Your Thanksgiving meal looks really good. We went out to eat with our daughter in the city. We started the out to eat thing last year, because it was easier on all of us. I don’t think anyone should worry about what people are eating. I think they should just be thankful that they have something to eat.

It all looks good! People and their weirdness will never cease to amaze me. I imagine you learn an awful lot of patience when you have heard the same stuff for 18 years. I grew up with a quarter of my family being vegetarians, and we always had vegetarian dishes for them on the holidays. It certainly didn’t phase anyone to make extra dishes that would satisfy everyone in the family. They also had no problem with us eating meat which we never ate much of since we were big gardeners. It was all about personal choices. The important part of Thanksgiving for us is being with each other and being thankful for the blessings we have received. I’ve never had Field Roast. I have a silly question about it…does it have soy in it? I ask because I can’t have soy but I’d like to try it if it doesn’t.

Exactly! It’s funny to me that so many people think that it’s so odd (or impossible) to celebrate Thanksgiving without a turkey–isn’t it supposed to be about being thankful or spending time with family? The meal is part of that, of course, but the meal could be anything, you know?

I don’t think Field Roast has soy in it–I’m pretty sure they’re all made with grains, vegetables, lentils, etc. I love their products because they’re meaty, but not in a way that’s meant to replicate meat exactly. I don’t know if that makes sense? 😉

I can’t wait to read your sweet potato recipe. My grandma always makes candied yams and I loathe the marshmallows on top but still want the sweet potatoes.

My grandma’s sweet potato recipe is really simple–I don’t know what it is exactly, but the potatoes are baked with oranges. So when I was first exposed to the whole marshmallow casserole thing, I was kind of horrified because it was waaaaay too sweet for me.

As a vegetarian, I can completely relate to those random Thanksgiving comments from non-vegetarians, especially since I’m the only vegetarian in my extended family. Even though I’ve been a vegetarian for the past 17 years, I still hear some of the same comments every year. 🙂

Oh, and your Thanksgiving meal looks simply delicious!

Thank you! And yes, it’s frustrating when you always get those comments. I never comment about other people eating meat, so why do they feel the need to comment about me NOT eating meat?! (And do you also get the, “Hey, aren’t you going to have turkey? HAR HAR HAR!” comments? That joke never gets old, does it?)

I came to the same conclusion when I decided to do a vegetarian Thanksgiving this year and avoid any meat on Thursday – there are plenty of sides and they are delicious! I did not even miss the turkey or the ham. I completely forget about them when I was munching on my home made cranberry sauce (with orange juice!) and my butternut squash tart along with all those other sides!

I think that bringing one or two dishes with you will help to educate people that the sides are usually vegetarian anyways. No need for any special preparation.

The sides are really a meal in & of themselves! Who has room for turkey anyway? 🙂 Back when I ate meat (which, admittedly, was when I was still a child!), the turkey was always my least favorite part of the Thanksgiving meal.

I feel the SAME WAY. I’m pretty quick to let people know that I don’t think the jokes are funny and that the comments aren’t appreciated, when the situation allows for it. Being a vegetarian is important to me, and I equate those things with mocking another person’s religion in front of them. It’s a lifestyle, a choice, a belief… it’s so many things, and means different things to different people. AFter 13 years I’m soooo tired of it!

That being said, my Dad makes an amazing stuffing for me each year, using polish mushrooms. Want me to get the recipe for you?

I basically ignore it. I feel like what people want when they start goading me is for me to fight back, so I don’t. That usually seems to work–it’s not fun for them if I just shrug it off. 🙂

I made stuffing with mushrooms this year too! I just posted the recipe today. Where do you get Polish mushrooms?!

My Dad gets them at the Polish Market. They’re dehydrated too… want me to ask him to get you some? I can mail you some if you shoot me your new address. 🙂

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