Thanksgiving for Vegetarians

A piping hot turkey placed in the center of a Thanksgiving table is an anticipated vision for many families. However, vegetarian Thanksgivings are more popular than ever, as people decide to embrace a healthier, meatless lifestyle. Creating meatless Thanksgiving dishes may at first seem daunting, but aside from the turkey, most traditional Thanksgiving dishes are not meat-based.

Consider the Thanksgiving side dish basics. We have mashed potatoes, stuffing, cranberries, vegetables, relish dishes, corn bread and pumpkin pie. So far, the table is filled with vegetarian Thanksgiving dishes. So, perhaps the first question to ask is how to replace that mouth-watering turkey with a delicious meatless alternative.

Tofurky Not Turkey

Okay, so it may sound a little odd, but tofurky (sometimes spelled tofurkey), the soy-based turkey alternative, has been around for more than ten years. It is a staple at many vegetarian Thanksgiving celebrations, as it is a healthy and tasty meatless Thanksgiving dish. Tofurky can be purchased online or through health food markets, and it is easy to prepare.

How to Cook a Tofurky

Follow these basic steps for preparing a tofurky:

  1. Remove plastic casing.
  2. Place the tofurky in a casserole dish, adding vegetables and potatoes, if desired.
  3. Baste the tofurky with your favorite sauce.
  4. Cover casserole dish tightly.
  5. Cook at 350?F for approximately one hour and fifteen minutes.

Thanksgiving Vegetarian Recipes

Here are some healthy and delicious vegetarian Thanksgiving dishes:

Vegetable Nut Loaf

This tasty and filling loaf makes the perfect centerpiece for your vegetarian Thanksgiving:

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup ground pecans (or mixed nuts of your choice)
  • 1 cup chopped mushrooms
  • 1 package frozen spinach, thawed
  • 1 cup grated cheddar cheese
  • 4 eggs
  • 16 oz. tomato sauce
  • 1 to 2 cups seasoned breadcrumbs
  • salt and pepper to taste.

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350?F.
  2. In large bowl, combine all of the ingredients.
  3. Lightly grease a loaf pan and mold mixture into loaf shape.
  4. Bake for one hour.
  5. Allow fifteen minutes for cooling before slicing and serving.

Serve this vegetarian Thanksgiving dish with sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce or your other favorite Thanksgiving side dishes.

Eggplant Croquettes

This vegetarian Thanksgiving recipe works equally well as a main or side dish:

Ingredients

  • 1 large eggplant
  • 3/4 cup ground nuts
  • 4 celery stalks
  • 2 onions
  • 5 eggs
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup matzo meal. (You can also use breadcrumbs or cracker crumbs.)

Directions

  1. Peel and slice eggplant.
  2. Boil and simmer for 10 minutes, then drain.
  3. In a food processor, combine the eggplant, nuts, celery and onions.
  4. Add eggs, salt, pepper and matzo meal to the eggplant mixture.
  5. Mix the mixture in a large bowl and mold into croquettes.
  6. Cook in oil of your choice on medium heat until both sides are brown.
  7. Drain on paper towels and serve.

These croquettes are delicious with horseradish sauce.

Cauliflower & Pea Casserole

This vegetarian side dish is loaded with nutrition and flavor:

Ingredients

cauliflower, parboiled and broken into pieces

  • 1 cup cooked peas
  • 1 cup chopped mushrooms
  • 1 tsp. chives
  • 1/2 tsp. onion flakes
  • 1 tbsp. butter
  • tbsp. flour
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 tsp. of both salt and pepper
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Directions

  1. Gently cook butter and flour in a saut pan.
  2. Add mushrooms, chives, onion flakes, flour, milk, salt, pepper and parsley.
  3. Place cauliflower and peas in casserole dish.
  4. Cover with sauce and add grated cheese.
  5. Bake at 450?F for 30 minutes.

Turkey Alternatives

Many types of gravy are meat-based and will, therefore, be unacceptable to strict vegetarians. Consider using vegetarian bouillon cubes for a seasoned gravy base. These cubes are available in both chicken and beef flavors.

Whether you choose tofurky or another protein alternative for your main course, vegetarian Thanksgiving recipes and dishes are abundant. Nuts, eggs, beans and tofu can be used to make delicious meatless Thanksgiving dishes. So choose your favorite foods and make a tasty, meatless Thanksgiving.

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