Ways to diversify your Thanksgiving meal


Sloane Mebane | Lifestyle Editor

Thanksgiving is the time for family togetherness, thankfulness and delicious food. While most tables will have different variations of turkey, ham and roast beef, there are many Americans that have chosen an alternative Thanksgiving menu.

With the rise in vegetarianism, one particular healthy dinner trend that is sure to be popular this holiday season is a veggie themed Thanksgiving meal. While this type of holiday menu may seem contrary to the traditional Thanksgiving dinner, there are many ways to ensure that your meal still has an authentic feel.

When asked about the necessities for an authentic Thanksgiving, Latrice Montgomery, a sophomore biology major from Chicago listed all the staples. “Well, you have to have turkey. I love stuffing and roast beef with gravy, that’s delicious. Sweet potato with roasted marshmallows. You have to get some greens in there too.”

One great seasonal ingredient that can help to liven up your veggie thanksgiving is squash. Whether in a casserole, bread pudding, soup or a simple roast this fall delicacy is sure to seduce taste buds while causing little damage to your waist line. One especially great squash is the Acorn squash.

This large squash can be used as mini bowls if split in half. With stuffing’s like apples, chestnuts and leeks, as mentioned on Food and Wine, this holiday treat is sure to be one to remember.

Another great vegetarian ingredient is the mushroom. This ingredient surprisingly comes in a variety of flavors and sizes from white to oyster to the large Portobello mushroom. What is so amazing about the mushroom is that it can pick up the flavor of whatever spice it is surrounded by.

One great recipe that utilizes this potent ingredient in a unique way, the mushroom tart, was featured on Martha Stewart’s website.

The mushroom tart can be made using store bought pastry puff with a filling that includes sautéed white mushrooms, spinach, onions and goat cheese sprinkled on top.

While mushrooms and squash are great ways to “vegify” your holiday meal, no Thanksgiving dinner is complete without the traditional turkey main dish. If turkey is your favorite part of the thanksgiving meal then fear not, there are many veggie and vegan turkey substitutes available to replace this important holiday ingredient.

VegeUSA has a whole turkey look-a-like that can provide the same holiday feel while saving many turkey lives. Another great substitute is Gardein’s Savory Stuffed Turk’y. A delicious treat available in the frozen section, this ready to go turkey meal is a great replacement for the traditional turkey main dish.

Even with a vegetarian thanksgiving, you will not lose out on the joys of the holiday season. For Jasmin Kennedy, a senior biology major from Thomasville, North Carolina Thanksgiving is all about family. “I like getting together with my family the week of Thanksgiving. As we all prep the food for the actual day, it gives me a chance to catch up with everyone and remember why I’m so thankful to have such a great family.”

Whether you want to adopt a vegetarian lifestyle, create a healthier Thanksgiving meal or simply try something new, a veggie thanksgiving meal is an easy to do alternative to the traditional holiday dinner with unique ingredients and plenty of opportunities for family togetherness.  

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