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How to Create a Thanksgiving Feast that Pleases Everyone: Meat Eaters, Vegetarians, and Vegans Alike

The modern Thanksgiving gathering often includes vegans and vegetarians alongside meat eaters. At our family table, we cater to both preferences. While many enjoy turkey and trimmings, others opt for vegetarian or vegan sides. Our goal is to ensure that everyone leaves the table feeling full and satisfied.

Creating a diverse Thanksgiving menu that caters to all dietary preferences can be challenging. However, the key is to focus on adaptability and simplification.

We prepare an array of meat-free sides, some of which can even serve as main dishes for non-meat eaters. Additionally, we make adjustments to certain dishes to accommodate vegan diets.

Here are some ideas to ensure that vegetarians and vegans have plenty of choices:


The stuffing base is made vegetarian using vegetable broth. The mixture is then divided, with one portion drizzled with turkey pan juices for meat eaters, and the other portion made vegan by using vegan butter for sautéing the vegetables.

Consider using vegan sausage or a meat substitute in the stuffing, or incorporating seitan for a vegan option.


We prepare two batches of mashed potatoes to cater to different dietary preferences. One batch uses milk, cream, and butter, while the other is made with plant-based milk, olive oil, and vegan butter. Additionally, vegan sour cream can be added as an option.


Enhance your salad by adding roasted vegetables, seeds, nuts, legumes, fruits, and cooked whole grains, such as farro or bulgur wheat, for added nutrition and substance. Homemade croutons are another excellent addition.


Include vegetarian and vegan soup options, such as mushroom barley, split pea, lentil tomato, curried pumpkin, or butternut squash. Make sure to use vegetarian broth and vegan substitutes for any dairy ingredients, and offer non-vegan garnishes separately.


Roasted vegetables are naturally vegan when cooked with oil. Season with salt, pepper, and fresh herbs like rosemary, thyme, or sage. Stuffed vegetables, such as acorn squash with a vegan stuffing, are also a great option.


One-dish grain and veggie recipes are versatile and satisfying. Combining whole grains, cooked vegetables, legumes, and an olive oil-based dressing can create a hearty dish. Consider using ingredients like wild rice, cranberries, scallions, mushrooms, barley, quinoa, and vegan cheese.


Ensure there are vegan dessert options available alongside traditional desserts. Vegan dessert recipes have improved over the years, offering a wider range of choices. For example, vegan cheesecake has become a popular and delicious option.

For more vegan and vegetarian Thanksgiving sides, visit the source.

Katie Workman writes regularly about food for The Associated Press. She has written two cookbooks focused on family-friendly cooking, “Dinner Solved!” and “The Mom 100 Cookbook.” She blogs at She can be reached at

Get more recipes and dinner ideas from Globeblognews’s food section.

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