When hosting any event your main concern is being certain that every guest in attendance is happy and can enjoy their visit. Big holiday meals such as Thanksgiving can be especially stressful for a host, as particular expectations are often put on these events. There are several key things to be aware of when hosting Thanksgiving but one of the major things to be mindful of is preparing and providing food that everyone can enjoy. Dietary restrictions are always something to keep in mind. Vegetarians are more common today as well, but that doesn’t mean that as the host you will have to stress about serving a completely meat-free dinner. Below we offer some easy tips for hosting a Thanksgiving meal that everyone can enjoy!
Communicate With Your Guests
As soon as you invite family and friends over for the holiday give them a call to ask how you can best accommodate them. Not only is this a polite thing to do that will immediately inform guests that you care about them but it will eliminate some stress for you right away. Ask your vegetarian guests if they have any favorite dishes and how they feel about “tofurky.” Would they prefer to have meatless main entree prepared or are they content with several sides? Make sure that you listen to what they have to say, as their answers may surprise you.
Ask For Help
While you are speaking with your herbivore friends and family, ask them to contribute a dish of their own. They may even offer to bring something before you ask. Be sure to take them up on the offer! This will eliminate some the burden on you as the host and allow guests to contribute to the holiday meal in a meaningful way. This way you can also be sure that there is at least one item that all your guests can enjoy!
Learn Some Easy Tricks
If you are not accustomed to cooking meat-free certain things may not occur to you, which can make meals very difficult for a vegetarian. Be aware of what you use to cook with. If you usually use chicken broth in your stuffing, mashed potatoes or other sides, consider substituting vegetable broth instead. Additionally, if you use bacon grease or pan drippings in your cooking this will often prevent others from partaking in that portion of the meal as well. Canola, olive, or vegetable oil can often be substituted or you may decide to make a smaller portion of the dish using the substitute instead.
You may want to consider labeling your dishes. This could help to avoid you listing ingredients several times or having guests ask what is in each dish which could make some people uncomfortable.
Try Something New
If you want to get creative in the kitchen there are plenty of delicious meat-free options to try. Many dishes that are considered “fall” foods are already meat-free and would fit right onto the Thanksgiving table. Butternut squash is in season and can be prepared in a number of different ways from soups to pasta dishes. Your dish might be so popular that you start a new tradition for the holiday meal!
While there are many ways for you to accommodate your guests and thousands of meat-free recipes to try, there is also the convenient option of ordering some or all of your Thanksgiving meal from a store or restaurant in advance. Perhaps you don’t want to worry about cooking the bird. There are plenty of places that will cook the turkey for you and leave you with more time to focus on preparing some really great sides! Another route would be to order some prepared vegetarian dishes so you can focus on what you know best. There are many options to choose from; you just need to decide what works best for you.
You have a big job hosting a Thanksgiving dinner. You don’t need to add extra stress on top of that. Your guests will appreciate you trying to accommodate them so there is no need to go overboard. Your effort to think of all your guests will not go unnoticed.