How to Host a Vegan Guest at Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is coming, and if you’re hosting any vegan guests, you may be feeling a little bit overwhelmed. You don’t have to prepare a whole vegan spread (unless you want to!) to make the vegans at your Thanksgiving table happy. Here are some ways to make Thanksgiving a pleasant experience for everyone at your table.

How to Host a Vegan Guest at Thanksgiving

Menu Planning for Vegan Thanksgiving Guests

Vegan Thanksgiving can be easy with a few tips, no Tofurkey required!†The trick that’s worked for me for many years is focusing on the side dishes.†If your vegan guests can load up on mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, roasted veggies and cranberry sauce, they’ll be overjoyed. And the best part is you don’t have to prepare separate sides. You can make all of the mashed potatoes vegan, for example, and no one needs to know.

Below†are some recipes for easy, vegan side dishes that everyone at the table will love.†You don’t have to make every dish listed below by any means. Just pick a couple that speak to you. Your†vegan guests will be touched that you accommodated their beliefs.

  • No one will miss the dairy when you dish up Sarah’s Mashed Potatoes with Onion Gravy
  • Dianne’s Green Bean Casserole is a total crowd-pleaser.
  • My†family requests that I make a huge tray of my Roasted Vegetables with Tahini Miso Dressing†for every holiday. You can skip the dressing, if that doesn’t seem like your family’s thing.†This dish is a lovely side with or without sauce.
  • Cranberry sauce is almost always vegan by nature, but if you want to spice it up, this is my father-in-law’s favorite cranberry sauce. It’s a family recipe that my family has made for years.
  • Vegans don’t only eat salads, but†salad is an easy way to†get one more vegan offering on the table. Cadry’s Roasted Delicata Squash and Persimmon salad is†a perfect, seasonal dish for the Thanksgiving table.
  • Finish off the meal with Melissa’s rich and creamy Vegan Pumpkin Pie.
  • If making pie from scratch isn’t your thing,†a fruit salad is a great vegan sweet treat, especially after a heavy Thanksgiving meal. My mom’s secret to a great fruit salad is to†avoid the melon and toss the whole thing with 1-2 tablespoons of orange liqueur or lemon juice.

Your vegan guests may even be into†providing a side dish or two if you ask nicely. We know that planning around a special diet can be tricky, and most vegans are happy to bring a dish to share, if it will make your life easier.

Quick Tips for Vegan Cooking

Maybe you want to try to veganize a favorite recipe, rather than use a totally new-to-you recipe. This is often doable, with the right substitutes.†Vegan food†doesn’t have to be tricky, but if you’ve never consciously cooked without animal products before, there are some ingredients that might trip you up. Here are some quick tips to help!

  • Choose organic sugar. Most big brands filter their sugar through bone char (yuck!), but organic sugar is not bone char filtered.
  • Look at allergy information. Eggs and dairy love to hide in packaged food. Luckily for vegans, these foods are also common allergens. Instead of agonizing over every ingredient, skip to the allergy info. If milk and eggs aren’t listed, you’re good.
  • Look out for chicken broth.†A lot of packaged stuffings are made with chicken broth or even dehydrated chicken or turkey. Many aren’t, though, so some label reading can help here.
  • If a recipe calls for butter, you can substitute vegan margarine. Sometimes olive oil will work in place of butter (in mashed potatoes, for example), but for baking you might end up with a disaster if you sub oil for butter.
  • In egg-centric recipes like cakes or meringues,†you can substitute aquafaba for the egg. Read all about aquafaba hereóI bet you already have some in your pantry and didn’t even know it! Aquafaba will not work on its own for something like a quiche, however.
  • If a recipe calls for milk, you can substitute soy or almond milk 1:1.
  • When a recipe says chicken broth, use veggie broth or one of these chicken broth substitutes.

A†Little Table Etiquette

Beyond the food, you want your vegan guests to feel comfortable at the Thanksgiving table. This can be really†easy. Most vegans just want to eat delicious food on Thanksgiving (and at any meal) and not be grilled, singled out or harassed at the table.†There are†plenty of conversation topics beyond food†that won’t make†your vegan guest feel uncomfortable.

Whenever I talk about†being kind to vegans at the family table, someone tells me about the one time that one vegan was mean to them about eating meat. Not all vegans are like this, though. Most of us just want to have nice conversations and full bellies on Thanksgiving. Give†your vegan guests the benefit of the doubt, and they’ll be grateful.

There is one other thing that would make your vegan guests†much more†comfortable at the table, if you can do it. Instead of putting the turkey on the dining table, is there a way that folks could serve themselves, buffet-style? It’s really hard for me to enjoy my meal in front of a dead animal, and I know a lot of vegans feel the same, though most of us wouldn’t speak up at dinner about it.

I know this might seem overly sensitive to folks who eat meat, but imagine how you’d feel if it were a roasted puppy at the middle of the tableówould you be able to enjoy your meal in that scenario? This is definitely going above and beyond, but if you are able to keep the bird off of the table, your vegan (and vegetarian!) guests will definitely be appreciative.

Image Credits: Family photo via Thinkstock. Food images by recipe authors, used with permission.

75 comments

Jeanne R
Jeanne R8 days ago

Thank you for sharing.

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Jeanne R
Jeanne R8 days ago

Thank you for sharing.

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Jeanne R
Jeanne R8 days ago

Thank you for sharing.

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Jeanne R
Jeanne R8 days ago

Thank you for sharing.

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Jeanne R
Jeanne R8 days ago

Thank you for sharing.

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Jim Ven
Jim Ven10 months ago

thanks for sharing.

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Siyus Copetallus
Siyus Copetallusabout a year ago

Thank you for sharing.

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Inês Cunha
Inês Cunhaabout a year ago

thank you, this was very helpfull

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Hent catalina - maria
Hent catalina - mariaabout a year ago

thanks

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Hent catalina - maria
Hent catalina - mariaabout a year ago

tyfs

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