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Ever wondered what vegetarians do for Thanksgiving?  What if you’re the only vegetarian in the family and it’s your turn to host?  Thanksgiving without a turkey may seem unnatural to most Americans, but vegetarians don’t get a veggie vacay just for a holiday dinner.  So, what’s a veggie to do?  And what’s a veggie to do when the rest of the family was hoping for a bird?  Here are a few tips:

Remember that sides are your friends.  So many traditional side dishes are not only delicious but vegetarian, so it’s not like you’ll have to miss out on everything.  Sweet potatoes are a Thanksgiving favorite and a super food, AND you can cook them in so many different ways!  Mashed, roasted, in casseroles, for dessert—the possibilities are endless!  It’s also easy to keep the “health” in your sweet potatoes; they are so naturally flavorful that they don’t need the traditional brown sugar and marshmallow toppings that we associate them with to wow.

Another traditional fave that you can bring back over to the healthy side and enjoy just as much (if not more)—green beans.  You don’t have to drown them in canned soups and fried onions to make them taste great.  Get some fresh green beans and steam them, then add a bit of olive oil and sesame seeds.  There are a million great recipes on the internet– just ask Google. 

Grab your favorite fresh veggies and make the most out of their natural goodness by steaming, broiling or grilling them (or eat them raw!).  Add some parsnips or cauliflower to your favorite mashed potatoes and not only give the taste factor a boost, but the nutritional value as well.  Get creative and no one will miss the turkey—trust us.

Replace the bird with a fabulous vegetarian main dish. Sometimes, it may feel like, as a vegetarian, you’ve just got a plate full of sides—but it doesn’t have to be that way.  Think outside the Thanksgiving box and try lasagna, perhaps.  Feel free to go traditional (sans the meat), but there are also some great recipes for lasagnas that incorporate lots of great fall flavors like butternut squash, spinach, chard, and/or pumpkin. Or take things off the beaten path with a vegetarian Thai Pumpkin Curry, or pumpkin dumplings, or pumpkin and sage pasta, or a vegetable stew.  There are so many great options for a vegetarian main dish that no one will even miss the turkey.

If you do your homework, you’ll find more recipes than you can shake a stick at that will wow even the most die-hard carnivore.  Make the most of your vegetables natural flavors and don’t for get the spice! Who knows—you might become the new “it” house for the family Thanksgiving dinner.