FAMILY Blog: How to Be a Vegetarian During the Turkey Holidays

When I was fourteen, I bravely walked up to my parents and declared that I was becoming a vegetarian. As most parents would, they smiled and replied, “Sure sweetie, whatever you say.” Thus started the very long and tedious transition to vegetarianism. Whoever says becoming a vegetarian is easy; they’re lying. Especially when you’re younger and doing it all on your own. I wrestled with food for months before figuring out the right vegetarian diet. Even now, ten years later; I’m still learning.

When it comes to the holidays, lavish family dinners can be a bit tricky for vegetarians. Through trial and error, I have learned what works and what doesn’t.

My typical Thanksgiving dinner plate usually contains green bean casserole, meat-free stuffing, sweet potatoes with extra marshmallows and tons of mashed potatoes with vegetarian gravy!

I have two main jobs on Thanksgiving Day: The appetizer and the dessert. Cheese is my favorite food and almost none of the traditional Thanksgiving recipes include cheese as one of the ingredients. I pick out a couple different types of cheeses, jams, crackers and grapes and lay it out on a very nice spread that everyone snacks on throughout the day while we cook. It’s the perfect combination to keep you fueled without filling you up.

For dessert, my family loves to indulge in apple pie, and making it from scratch together makes us love it even more. Homemade apple pie is actually easier to make than it sounds. Plus, the smell of fresh apple pie baking in the oven will make you want to save some room for dessert.

Over the years, I have discovered some great Thanksgiving meat alternatives, such as vegetarian gravy. My favorite is Simply Organic Vegetarian Brown Gravy, which is 100% vegetarian-friendly and can be found in your local grocery store! This is the perfect boost of flavor to add for the mashed potatoes and all of the other fixings. My Mom makes roasted garlic mashed potatoes that are heavenly. She also adds extra marshmallows to the sweet potatoes. No turkey means you can double the potatoes!

My Dad becomes my superhero because he makes his famous stuffing just for me! Another dish that I can’t help but to overeat is my Mom’s green bean casserole. Besides the sweet potatoes, it’s the only colorful food on my plate. Even though I don’t eat turkey for Thanksgiving, there are a lot of great alternatives.

So yes, my plates are filled with carbs; but it’s my version of Thanksgiving. It’s the time spent with loved ones cooking, baking and enjoying it all together that makes Thanksgiving so special; not just what you eat.

Happy Thanksgiving, everybody!

Michele Katsaris

Production Coordinator

Washington FAMILY Magazine

[email protected]

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