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:
- People with lactose intolerance
- People who cannot eat whole grains, nuts, seeds, or berries
- People for whom Thanksgiving would be a travesty without the traditional fixings
- 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!
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.
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.
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.
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.