How about Thanksgiving dinner without a turkey |

How about Thanksgiving dinner without a turkey

When most people think of Thanksgiving dinner, they think turkey. But what about vegetarians and vegans?

Well, it turns out there are plenty of meat-free options that allow non-meat-eaters to indulge in the gluttony of holiday feasting, just like the rest of us.

To clear up any confusion, vegetarian is a somewhat loose term that defines people who do not eat meat. However, some vegetarians do eat fish and some eat anything but red meat.

Vegans maintain a much stricter diet, ruling out all animal source foods and products. This means, no dairy, no eggs and of course no meat. There are also limitations against certain oils and other ingredients made from animal byproducts.

“It’s basically a plant-based diet,” said Jon McElroy, owner of Grass Roots Natural Foods store.

According to Peggy Cooley of Grass Roots, a vegetarian Thanksgiving dinner is easier to create than a vegan meal.

“Vegetarian is probably more appealing, because you can still have the dairy products,” Cooley said. “A lot of people make stuffed squashes filled with tofu. It makes a really nice main dish.”

Meat-free turkey imitations are another popular Thanksgiving item amongst the vegetarian and vegan populations.

“Tofurky” and Now and Zen’s “Small Unturkey feast” are said to be tasty alternatives to the real thing. There are also a lot of soy products that are similar in taste and texture to dairy items such as sour cream, cheese, margarine and milk.

Grass Roots, located at 2040 Dunlap Drive, carries a variety of vegetarian and vegan recipe books as well as organic foods that can be used in the creation of meatless meals.

“The Cookbook for People Who Love Animals” provides totally vegetarian recipes … no meat, no eggs, no dairy, no sugar, no honey and no cholesterol. From eggplant goulash to carob tofu cream pie, there are all kinds of interesting ideas sure to suit the pickiest of eaters.

So whether a family argues over who gets to carve the bird or takes their Thanksgiving supper gobble-free, overindulgence is an equal opportunity for either.

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