What We’re Accommodating This Thanksgiving



So many people have told me over the years that they couldn’t possibly handle the strange and restrictive diets my family has had to face and ALSO host a holiday meal. It’s true that doing that is really hard: do we make three of everything? do we tell the family members with allergies to bring their own food? do we pretend we don’t even know and make them deal with it? 

Well, it’s doable. If you want to do it, it really is.

This Thanksgiving, my family is accommodating, in no particular order:

  1. Vegetarians
  2. People with lactose intolerance
  3. People who cannot eat whole grains, nuts, seeds, or berries
  4. People for whom Thanksgiving would be a travesty without the traditional fixings
  5. People who don’t care what they eat

Here’s what we’re making; if you want any of our recipes, just let me know in the comments!

Roast Turkey

We ordered this from Whole Foods. I’m getting nothing from them for sharing the link here, and I’m one of the vegetarians, so I’m also not eating this turkey. It was the one thing no one was willing to cope with, and this was the easiest possible solution, covering our lactose intolerant folks and our Thanksgiving-traditionalists.

Field Roast Celebration Roast

This is a pre-made vegetarian “roast,” sliceable and very simple. We make our own mushroom gravy to go over it and re-cook it in the oven. It is edible by everyone on the list!

Butternut Squash Souffle

This is a dish I’ve been making for years, and I’ve long forgotten where I got the recipe. It calls for eggs and milk (I use soy milk ) and vanilla and sugar and, of course, cooked cubed butternut squash. If I didn’t make it, my older daughter would never forgive me. This also covers everyone on the list, if they can get past my daughter!

Cooked Green Vegetables

We haven’t decided which vegetable yet, but whether we roast, sautée, boil, or steam them, this also checks all the boxes!

Fresh White Bread

This is very easy to make without dairy. Though we might like whole-wheat bread even more, it’s not such a stretch to make or buy the white version this year — and then everyone is accommodated.

Mashed Potatoes

Obviously, the base ingredient (naturally, potatoes) cover all our concerns, but what gets mixed in can be a challenge. We use unsweetened soy milk and non-dairy margarine (Earth Balance is a great choice and widely available at grocery stores this time of year). Once again, with these adjustments, we can feed everyone at the table — and the taste is almost indistinguishable from “real” dairy.

Cranberry Sauce

This leaves out one group at the table, the only item we’re serving that won’t work for our nut/seed/berry/whole-grain avoiding guests. It’s such a small side-dish that we’re leaving it in anyway, with hope that they can help us come up with an alternative for next time.

Apple Pie

None of us are great at pie crusts, so we’re buying store bought ones. Marie Callender‘s have no dairy or lard in them, making them acceptable for the vegetarians and the lactose-intolerant among us. We’ll fill it with apples sautéed in the same Earth Balance margarine we used for the mashed potatoes, plus brown sugar and cinnamon and all the traditional goodies. This is something everyone can eat!

Chocolate Pudding Pie

This is the fussiest thing going on the table, but it’s safe for all of our guests! We’re using store-bought graham cracker crusts and adding my favorite thick chocolate pudding from the recipe in Vegan Diner, a cookbook by Julie Hasson. The pudding is thickened with cornstarch and made with three kinds of dairy-free chocolate: cocoa powder, chocolate soy milk, and dairy-free chocolate chips. The chocolate chips are more available than you’d think; Guittard makes a wonderful dark chocolate chip that’s available near the rest of the chocolate chips in most grocery stores, or if you go to the “natural foods” section of your regular grocery store, you can often find dairy-free chocolate chips by Enjoy Life.

None of the above items — except maybe the “celebration roast” — are unfamiliar or strange to the average American, and with that exception, none of them are impossible to make without going to a specialty grocery store. We’re very lucky to be living in an era when the world is becoming more accommodating toward people with food sensitivities.

If we can do it, so can you!

This has been a Finish the Sentence Friday post, with the prompt “Thanksgiving,” hosted by Kristi at FindingNinee.com.

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4 thoughts on “What We’re Accommodating This Thanksgiving

  1. This is such a generous post. Thank you!

    Would you publish (or share with me) the butternut squash souffle recipe please?

    • No problem! Here it is:

      Butternut Squash Souffle
      1 butternut squash
      1 cup white sugar
      1 1/2 cups milk (I use soy milk)
      1 teaspoon vanilla extract
      1 pinch salt
      2 tablespoons all-purpose flour (or gluten-free flour works well here, too!)
      3 eggs
      1/4 cup margarine, melted (I use Earth Balance margarine)

      1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C).

      2. Put butternut squash in the microwave and cook on high, until soft, 2 to 3 minutes. Cut in half, scoop out seeds and cube just the flesh (no skin). Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add squash and cook until tender, about 15 minutes. Drain and mash.
      Peel butternut squash with a carrot peeler and cut flesh into chunks, discarding seeds and stringy bits. Boil in a pot of water until you can smash the squash against the side of the pot with a fork. Drain and mash.

      3. Combine 3 cups mashed butternut squash, white sugar, milk, vanilla extract, salt, flour, eggs and 1/4 cup melted margarine.

      4. Add everything to a lightly-greased 9×13 casserole dish

      4. Bake in preheated oven for 45 minutes, or until set.

  2. So True! Thanks for sharingh the list and links, too! We make a carrot souffle that’s amazing, I bet it’s the same but different, so now I have to try other veggies instead to see how they mix. Mmmm.

    There’s no magic secret to being considerate of guest’s health and choices (“forced” or not) – I’m pro-everyone-enjoying-dinner!

    – Mardra

  3. Hooray!

    Chocolate pudding is safe!

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