Plan the perfect vegan dinner party

No one likes to be a burden. As much of a stress as it is to host a houseful of hungry holiday-goers, it’s also pretty stressful on guests with food preferences who don’t want to discreetly spit mouthfuls of your meal into their napkin. If you’re hosting a vegan, there are plenty of easy ways to make them feel comfortable, grateful and most important, full.

Aside from the vegan and vegetarian community, there is also, sadly, a growing number of people with gluten, dairy and other food allergies. It’s thoughtful and meaningful to your guests if you take the time to contact them before meal day just to check in about any food sensitivities or strange food grudges. (Asparagus, you know who you are.)

Most of the side dishes that make Thanksgiving so great can be prepared without dairy products, gravy or eggs. Many vegans have spent years around holiday tables eating gobs of sweet potatoes, green beans and cranberries, hardly missing the turkey.

Thanks to the invention of the Internet, you can Google or Bing your way into recipeland and find way too many easy-to-make vegan Thanksgiving dishes, from stuffed squash to lentil loafs (tastier than they sound!), marinated tofu, roasted Brussel sprouts, cornbread recipes and biscuits galore. You get the gist; there are plenty of easy and tasty recipes.

Of course you can always opt for the Tofurky feast or the tastier Field Roast. They are really easy to prepare pre-made proteins ideal as a vegan centerpiece. Some people are turned off by Tofurky, as it’s designed to mimic the flavor, texture and feel of real turkey. It’s actually a pretty good product and made by a really wonderful company, but it might not be for everyone. Between chips and dip during the game and all the tasty side dishes, a big Tofurky may be unnecessary, especially since everyone wants to save room for dessert.

Historically, vegans have a terrible time with dessert. It’s impossible to find vegan offerings at mainstream restaurants because virtually every recipe contains dairy or egg products, even though vegan desserts are easy to make and in high demand. If you offer your vegan guests little else this holiday, they will be forever indebted if there’s one measly little scrap of something sweet other than a cranberry or slice of apple. Seriously. They will do all your dishes. Even the goopy meat ones.

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Photo by Kevin Dooley courtesy of Creative Commons