Giving Thanks to No Dairy, Eggs or Meat

Whether you're hosting Thanksgiving this year or contributing to someone else's feast, chances are good that you'll be in mixed company -- you, a turkey drumstick-chomping omnivore, breaking (egg and dairy-free) bread with someone who gladly will pass on the bird and gravy. These days, homogenous dietary preferences are more the exception than the rule at dinner parties. In the five-plus years I've been hosting a monthly vegetarian chat, I have witnessed an evolution in the way people eat and think about food. I remember questions from meatless readers who were tired of feeling marginalized at family holiday gatherings, but in just five years, there's been a shift in attitude, with increased interest on how to integrate, diversify and collaborate at the table.


"Veggie Gourmet" Mimi Clark.

So, you, the diehard meat eater, may ask: How do I allow space for vegetarians and vegans at the holiday table? Having an open mind and a willingness to learn a few new tricks will get you off to a productive start. Let go of old-school traditions and invite new ideas and ways of thinking. If you're still under the impression that meatless means mediocre, think again. The past few years have seen an explosion of creativity in the vegetarian and vegan world, with more meatless cookbooks, chefs, restaurants and availability of products than ever before.

As many of you know, I'm an omnivorous eater and cook who envisions going nearly meatless one of these days. It behooves us all to learn more about a plant-based diet, not just because you've got veggie guests coming over but because diversity in our diets is a good thing. And if a meatless version of a dish tastes great and the difference is undetectable to an omnivore's palate, it makes healthy sense to tweak the recipe.

I love the following sentiment from Mimi Clark, who's been teaching vegan cooking classes in Fairfax, Va., since 1990: "Thanksgiving is an olfactory holiday. It's more about the smells that are wafting through the house than about whether the centerpiece is an animal or a vegetable. Put enough sage, thyme, nutmeg in a pot and you will simulate the smells of Thanksgiving."

Mimi will join me today at 1 p.m. ET for this year's What's Cooking Vegetarian Thanksgiving special, offering her expertise of vegan products (from "buttery" spreads to whipped "cream") and cooking techniques. And if you're licking your vegan chops, ask her if there's space in her upcoming holiday cooking classes (this Sunday, Nov. 11 and Dec. 9).

To get things started, Mimi shares a recipe from her treasure trove for a completely meatless stuffing that may come in handy two weeks from today.

Holiday Stuffing

(From Edward & Sons Trading Company)



Ingredients

1 bag Edward & Sons Organic Croutons (Lightly Salted or Onion Garlic)

2-4 tablespoons Earth Balance "buttery" spread (substitute broth for low fat)

1/2 cup each onions and celery

1/4 cup fresh parsley, finely chopped

1/2 teaspoon each sage and thyme

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

1/2 cup vegetable broth (1/4 of one Edward & Sons Vegetable Bouillon cube + 1/2 cup water)


Method

In a large skillet, melt butter substitute or heat broth. Add onions and celery, and cook about five minutes until tender but not brown. Remove from heat and stir in the parsley, sage, thyme, salt, and pepper.

Add the croutons and mix well. Stir in the prepared vegetable broth. For stuffing, use as is. If baking separately, add a little more broth, put mixture in a shallow, oiled baking dish, and bake at 350 degrees for 25-40 minutes until a crust forms on top.

Makes 3 cups.

Holiday Stuffing
(From Edward & Sons Trading Company)

Ingredients
1 bag Edward & Sons Organic Croutons (Lightly Salted or Onion Garlic)
2-4 tablespoons Earth Balance "buttery" spread (substitute broth for low fat)
1/2 cup each onions and celery
1/4 cup fresh parsley, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon each sage and thyme
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 cup vegetable broth (1/4 of one Edward & Sons Vegetable Bouillon cube + 1/2 cup water)


Method

In a large skillet, melt butter substitute or heat broth. Add onions and celery, and cook about five minutes until tender but not brown. Remove from heat and stir in the parsley, sage, thyme, salt, and pepper.

Add the croutons and mix well. Stir in the prepared vegetable broth. For stuffing, use as is. If baking separately, add a little more broth, put mixture in a shallow, oiled baking dish, and bake at 350 degrees for 25-40 minutes until a crust forms on top.

Makes 3 cups.

By Kim ODonnel |  November 8, 2007; 7:53 AM ET Thanksgiving , Vegetarian/Vegan
Previous: Chat Leftovers: Let the Thanksgiving Prep Jitters Begin | Next: A Gluten-Free Thanksgiving

Comments

Please email us to report offensive comments.



My brother has been either a vegetarian or a vegan since before high school (he's now almost 30), so my family has lots of experience making vegan dishes for Thanksgiving. It really isn't hard to do and the meat eaters don't even notice the changes. When I hosted my own Thanksgiving 2 years ago I made all vegan sides (and a vegan main course)--only the meat main course was not vegan. Everything was delicious and no one went home hungry.

Posted by: Arlington, VA | November 8, 2007 2:09 PM

I hope that the chatter that asked about what else to add to cranberry sauce.
A friend brought a cranberry-cherry sauce to a pot luck several years ago and it went over very well. She has been asked to bring it every year since. I don't know here recipe but I've done it myself by adding a small package of dried sweet cherries to my bag of cranberries. Just make sure that you cut back on the sugar.

Posted by: Historian | November 8, 2007 2:50 PM

Mimi teaches the best vegetarian classes.
And the best part is that it is something that even non-vegs can appreciate as well.

Posted by: Donna | November 8, 2007 5:09 PM

I have the pleasure of knowing Mimi as a dear friend and an extremely knowledgable culinary colleague. Mimi knows everything about vegan ingredients, sources, and recipes. Her classes are among the best. I have had the privilege of being a guest instructor (vegan desserts) at her school. Then, there is the taste of Mimi's food which is so delicious, it matters not at all if one is vegan or not. This is foodie food. Those of you lucky enough to get to Mimi's classes are lucky indeed.

Posted by: Fran Costigan www.francostigan.com | November 8, 2007 9:29 PM

No vegans or vegetarians at my table ever. Vegans and vegetarians need to forcibly reeducated ie waterboarded with various meat gravies taking the place of water. Sorry we carnivores first look at our teeth. And believe it or not if you work with prey animals long enough ie sheep etc your human prey drive/instinct comes out.
Free range, humanely raised organic turkey, a organic prime humanely raised prime rib, a venison roast(killed on the farm), oysters, fresh green beans, Va apples and VA wines. 90% of what I serve at Thanksgiving was raised locally and is organic etc. My friends and siblings are all bringing their herding dogs. Have a sheep we are using for training that isnt getting with the program and is challenging dogs and injuring humans. She also doesnt take care of her lambs she will
be a dinner for the dogs for Thanksgiving! She is costing me money! Proud to be a predator!

Posted by: ole sheperd | November 9, 2007 6:35 AM

Mimi does not try to convert anyone to veganism. It's a choice.. and it's a personal choice. She is passionate about it, and wants to educate as many people as she can. My daughter and I have received quite an education going to Mimi's classes. We enjoy learning nutritional facts about different foods. We sample foods, take home recipes, goodies, and coupons. Mimi tells you where to find different foods. She answers ANY questions you may have about products, recipes..etc. (anytime!) My family is definitely healthier. Mimi..keep up the good work!!

Posted by: Anna | November 9, 2007 7:07 AM

After being diagnosed with "pre-diabetes" and being told to go on a low fat vegan diet by my doctor, I started attending Mimi's classes. The cooking tips, comprehensive knowledge about vegan products, and health tips, have been absolutely invaluable to my health and extreme pleasure of my doctor! The three hour drive each direction is well worth the information and support that Mimi provides. I look forward to her class each month!!!!

Posted by: Al Buchanan | November 9, 2007 7:11 AM

Does anyone know if Mimi offers vegan baking classes, or somewhere where I could take a vegan baking class?

Posted by: baking? | November 9, 2007 10:04 AM

Mimi is incredible! I've never had vegan foods that were so tasty. I have celiac disease and many other food sensitivities, but, Mimi's classes have taught me to make tasty dishes that can be adapted to any dietary needs.

She's a marvel!

Posted by: Lisa | November 9, 2007 10:15 AM

I can't believe that I missed yesterday's chat - stinky work kept me from it -
Question is - I have ONE veggie-only eater at my Thanksgiving table. So a whole tofurkey for one person seems overkill. I liked Mimi's suggestion on the stuffed butternut squash yesterday, but am also worried about how my other veggie dishes will be affected - ie. I use beef broth to cook green beans and chicken broth for dressing (I don't do stuffing). I *think* that the veggie will be ok in the dressing but the green beans are a lost cause (for me!).

Also, how to best address if I do use something non-veggie in any veggie dish - so that she won't be caught unaware???

like I said - I need HELP!

Posted by: HELP!! | November 9, 2007 1:15 PM

Thanks to all for your comments on Kim's blog, and to those with whom I chatted yesterday. I will briefly answer your questions here, but please email me for more in-depth responses (veggourmet@aol.com). To "Help!" I would suggest you call your veg Thanksgiving guest in advance and tell her which dishes are not veg. That said, I would also encourage you to try and use a veg. broth for everything so that your guest can enjoy all of the food you prepare. If you email me, I will be happy to recommend good veg. broths. To "Baking," I teach a Healthy Snacks & Desserts class once a year, usually in Aug./Sept. In addition, for the past two years, I have brought in Fran Costigan, vegan NYC pastry chef and author, to teach a vegan baking class. In July, Fran taught a Retro Desserts class which included vegan Twinkies, Hostess Cupcakes, etc. Very cool! I would encourage you to check out her book, More Great Good Dairy-Free Desserts Naturally (www.francostigan.com). There is also a new vegan baking book hot off the press called The Joy of Vegan Baking by Colleen Patrick-Goudreau, assistant editor of VegNews (www.vegnews.com). Hope that helps, and again, please feel free to contact me if you have any other questions pertaining to vegan cooking.

Posted by: Mimi Clark | November 9, 2007 5:35 PM

For HELP!! - It's very gracious that you're asking this question, but should probably ask your veggie guest if possible. If you can't, know that most vegetarians would not eat anything cooked with fish/chicken/beef stock or broth (ditto for pie crusts made with lard, sauces made with gelatin, etc.), so your dressing and green beans would not be vegetarian. Sorry. Remember, though, that most people (even the vegetarian ones) are at your table for fellowship - a stuffed squash and some cranberry sauce served with friendship would certainly be plenty to make me feel welcome - and fed.

Posted by: FrancesP | November 9, 2007 5:36 PM

It has been a joy knowing Mimi for many, many years. I am always greatful for everything she teaches me. I know that I am healthier for having known her and I know that my eating is much more diverse than it was before so many wonderful vegetarian/vegan dishes were introduced to my diet. Thanks, Mimi, for being YOU!!!

Posted by: Jacki | November 9, 2007 6:50 PM

If you don't feel like cooking this Thanksgiving, consider attending one of the following vegan events:

www.vsdc.org Life-Affirming Thanksgiving Celebration Cruise on the Spirit of Mt. Vernon, Nov. 22, 11 - 3

www.vrg.org Pre-Thanksgiving Potluck Dinner, Nov. 18, Baltimore 410-366-8343

www.cok.net Celebrate Thanksgiving with Java Green and the Turkeys at Poplar Spring, Sat. Nov. 17 www.animalsanctuary.org/events/

www.thevegetablegarden.com Thanksgiving Day Feast, call to reserve 301-468-9301

Posted by: Mimi Clark | November 9, 2007 10:39 PM

Hi, "Help!" - Your green beans will cook just fine without beef broth (or ham bones etc.) - just use a bit of salt, or some browned onion if you want to get fancy, and you can get vegetable bouillon cubes or onion soup mix as a broth substitute. You can also get veggie sausages at most big grocery stores - look in the refrigerator case, or fry up some big mushrooms. Thanksgiving's usually an easy meal for most vegetarians, if the turkey doesn't scare them away, because there's usually a lot of different things to eat, and they can always have more dessert and wine and hang out with the family. It's tougher for vegans, because many dishes usually have milk (like mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie) or eggs (like cornbread and pecan pie), but you can make desserts without them and make baked yams instead of the mashed ones with marshmallows.

Posted by: Bill | November 9, 2007 11:01 PM

FrancesP - Thanks for the reminder on lard - I mainly use vegtable shortening (Crisco) and butter for my crusts, but I might have switched it up if you hadn't reminded me.

Thanks for the help and encouragement!

Posted by: HELP!! | November 13, 2007 11:19 AM

To "Help": Earth Balance makes non-hydrogenated shortening which works the same as Crisco. They also make a non-hydrogenated spread to use as a substitute for butter. It's comprised of 4 oils that work together to lower LDL cholesterol (according to studies at Brandeis Univ). Earth Balance products can be found at natural food stores and at Trader Joe's.

Posted by: Mimi Clark | November 13, 2007 11:54 PM

I'm looking for a vegetarian themed Thanksgiving ecard to use as a quick invitation, has anyone seen any good ones? Thanks!

Posted by: Erin | November 14, 2007 11:49 AM

To the person looking to do something with sweet potatoes and cheese, I have been playing with cubed sweet potatoes, onions, and agave syrup (low glycemic sweetener) cooked on top of the stove, sprinkled with Bleu Sheese (www.blackduckimports.com), a new vegan cheese from Scotland. In my search, I also came across this recipe:
http://www.recipesource.com/main-dishes/casseroles/sweet-potato-cheese-onion1.html

Posted by: Mimi Clark | November 15, 2007 10:33 AM

Posted by: Mimi Clark | November 15, 2007 10:37 AM

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 

© 2010 The Washington Post Company