If you’d like to make a colorful stuffed winter squash the centerpiece and main dish of your vegetarian Thanksgiving, choose a large, meaty pumpkin; Boston marrow squash; turban squash; hubbard squash; banana squash; or the pale blue-grey New Zealand squash, which is my favorite.Read more
These sour red berries grow on a trailing shrub. You can buy them fresh in the Fall, or frozen at any time of year. Dried cranberries are a delicious addition to trail mixes. When buying fresh look for bright red shiny skins. Cranberries are a valuable source of iron, vitamin C and folic acid.
Cranberries are usually too sour to eat raw. First wash and remove any damaged berries. Then cook them with a little water and sugar, then puree them to make a sauce. Or you can add them to a recipe directly to add a contrasting flavor.
Of course the best way to save a Thanksgiving turkey is by having a vegetarian Thanksgiving dinner. Every year 300 million turkeys are raised and slaughtered for food, and 46 million of those will be eaten on Thanksgiving alone. Every vegetarian Thanksgiving dinner will reduce the number of turkeys slaughtered for the dinner.
Fortunately, there are better options to be eaten and enjoyed than turkey. The northwest is home to two of the most popular and best tasting Thanksgiving turkey alternatives around. Field Roast features its somewhat sophisticated Celebration Roast, with an intriguing blend of herbs and spices, that’s getting rave reviews coast to coast. If you’d like to have a bit of fine dining at home, Celebration Roast is a gourmet choice. Try the Hazelnut Cranberry Roast En Croute for something more sophisticated. Read more
Those concerned with animal welfare often ask the following question: isn’t it kind of arbitrary the way we care for, love, and protect some animals, such as cats and dogs, while allow others such as cows, pigs and chickens to be raised under harsh conditions, only to be slaughtered under even worse circumstances?
Zel Allen, author of The Nut Gourmet, shared with us her family’s favorite nut recipe for a Thanksgiving centerpiece. Here’s what she told us:
I don’t know if Thanksgiving is wild and crazy to the max at your house, but it sure is in mine–in a good way, that is. It’s our family reunion time so I have family flying in from all parts of the globe for this nutty feast. All the bedrooms are full and the kitchen is in a constant state of activity. It’s been our thing for years so we really look forward to Thanksgiving week—a time that’s filled with lots of cooking going on, great aromas drifting through the house, lots of eating, and lots of laughing. Read more
We’d like to take this opportunity to invite you to join the growing number of people who’ll skip the turkey this Thanksgiving. There are lots of good reasons to find better and healthier ways to celebrate one of our favorite holidays. Turkey has the same disadvantages as other kinds of meat. To help you along, here are our top ten reasons to skip the bird this year. Remember that what we say about turkey is true of other holiday favorites such as ham as well. Read more
Acorn, butternut and kabocha squash can be cut in half and filled with a delicious stuffing to provide the perfect centerpiece to any holiday table. Here are some recipes to form the centerpiece of a truly delicious Thanksgiving Feast:
Stuffed Winter Squash Makes 6 servings Golden squash halves, mounded with stuffing and topped with apricot sauce make a visual feast worthy of any holiday meal. Use any of the smaller varieties of winter squash, including acorn squash, delicata, sweet dumpling, or kabocha.Read more
You’ve just become a vegetarian, and you’re expected at Grandma’s for Thanksgiving Dinner. You haven’t yet told your Grandma about your new food preferences, and you’re worried that she won’t understand. What are you going to do?
The first thing to remember is that Grandma is not really serving turkey. She’s serving love and it’s way more important to make her feel loved in return than to eat her turkey. Even so, holidays can be a challenge, since the big family meal is often the focus of the whole holiday. The most important thing to your family is that you are present, warm, and friendly to everyone present (even if some might make snide comments about your eating habits).
If your vegetarianism is still a new idea, you may need to let people know very gently. You could say, “Don’t go to any special trouble. I’ll just eat the side dishes.” At a big dinner, you’ll probably find plenty to eat, but if you know that the stuffing will be cooked inside the turkey and the beans will be cooked with bacon, then you may wish to bring something else to eat. Perhaps you could bring your own meat-substitute dish, such as a Tofurky or Celebration Roast. Or if you’re feeling adventurous, you could prepare something different, such as a stuffed squash, that others would be happy to enjoy alongside their turkey.
If it would break Grandma’s heart for you not to eat her turkey, then you may consider taking a very small portion, and remember that this only happens once a year. Plenty of people think of themselves as vegetarian while making the occasional compromise to avoid hurting those they love the most.
But if, as many do, you feel strongly about not eating any turkey even just this once, you will need to explain your decision in a way that gets Grandma to support your decision while minimizing hurting her feelings or getting too defensive. One way to do this is to ask for her help. You can explain that being a vegetarian is very important to you and that you’re asking for her help with being comfortable at the dinner.
The key is not to leave planning to the last minute. With a little planning and preparation the Thanksgiving dinner can be as enjoyable for vegetarians as anyone else. Good luck!
Based on an extract from Say No to Meat – the 411 on Ditching Meat and Going Veg.
It’s official. The world’s population now stands at 7 Billion. This year our Thanksgiving diners face challenges as never before. Over a billion people are living with chronic hunger and malnutrition, and rising food prices are challenging the household budgets of the other 6 billion. What many people don’t know is that it is meat consumption in the developed world, and rapidly rising meat consumption in the developing world, that are the prime driving forces behind rising food prices and global hunger. For years this went unrecognized by even economists and policymakers. However, this has now started to change.
Starvation kills, and it hurts to have to go to bed malnourished and hungry. Hunger and malnutrition are some of the most serious problems facing humanity and it’s getting worse. Global hunger is at an all time high, with about 1 billion people in the world going to bed each night still hungry. In the next year, over 10 million people will actually starve to death. Even worse, it is the children who are the most vulnerable.
To understand how a vegetarian diet can help, let’s start with the agricultural facts of life. Farm animals function, in effect, as food factories in reverse; that is they give us less nutrition than they are fed. For instance, a cow will give us as beef only 10% of the protein and 4% of the calories it consumes. The rest is used by the cow to enable it to live and breathe throughout its lifetime. Here in the U.S., we feed 70% of the crops we grow to farm animals who then return only a fraction of it as meat. It’s all so wasteful. Even a third of the fish caught worldwide are used to feed farm animals. With 56 billion farm animals raised globally each year, you can see just how much food is being wasted.
Wasting food by feeding it to farm animals fuels the global hunger crisis. With developing countries quickly changing from their traditional plant-centered diet to a western-style, meat-centered diet, it’s easy to see how hunger and malnutrition can spread. Many of these people live in countries which could feed themselves, but farmers, policymakers, and governments choose to feed crops to farm animals instead of people, so most of the nutrition is wasted. The result is that they often need to import grain to feed their human population. This is expensive and drives up prices. A rising global population makes wasting food this way even more harmful.
The recent shift of using some agricultural products, such as corn, to produce ethanol fuel for automobiles, makes switching to a vegetarian diet even more imperative. Now more than ever, the world’s hungry are counting on us to use available crops directly for food rather than wasting them by feeding them to farm animals.
For far too long, many would not face the role of raising meat in the global hunger crises. Fortunately, this is now beginning to change. For instance, Nobel Prize winning economist Muhammad Yunis (famous for his program of making microloans to poor people in the developing world) explains, “Unfortunately, meat eating is a relatively inefficient use of natural resources , as the number of nutritious calories delivered by meat is far lower than the calories humans can enjoy through the direct intake of grains. Yet today, more and more grain and other foodstuffs are being used to feed cattle than human beings. And more and more of the planet’s farmlands are being diverted from the production of food for human consumption toward to the growing of grains for animal feed, adding several costly steps to the process. As a result even basic foods are becoming more expensive.” And, no less than Chairman of the Federal Reserve, Ben Bernake, says that “As they eat more beef and less grains and so on, the demand for food and energy rise and that’s the primary long-term factor affecting the real price of commodities and food.” A recent feature story in Foreign Policy magazine highlighted meat’s role in rising food prices, and a survey of economists reveal “increased demand for meat” as a leading cause of rising food prices and global hunger.
Don’t get distracted from the agricultural facts of life. Natural catastrophes such as earthquakes and floods grab headlines, and are a factor in food shortages. Warfare and political instability grab attention too, and can decrease the food supply. But it’s the day-in and day-out wasting of food, by feeding it to farm animals, that’s driving the massive global hunger and malnutrition problem. Sure food gets wasted and sure there’s poverty. But food has always been wasted, and there’s always been poverty, yet global hunger is getting worse. What’s changed is that meat consumption is sky rocketing in the developing world, which is using up crops that could be used for human consumption. With few exceptions, those countries with chronic hunger and malnutrition problems could feed themselves, if they would only stop taking their crops and feeding them to animals, and make them available for people instead. Yes, the world’s population is rising quickly, and that puts pressure on global food supplies, but a vegetarian diet could easily support a world population much larger than today’s. With a rising population, the only sustainable way out of the global hunger crisis is by reducing meat consumption and becoming vegetarians.
It may seem that one person can’t make much difference, but one person eats three meals a day, 365 days of the year. If that person eats meat at most meals, then by switching to a vegetarian diet, they would be saving over a thousand meat meals. The grain and other crops used for that meat could be used to produce 12,000 well balanced vegetarian meals, so you can see how it adds up pretty quickly. In fact, according to Professor David Pimentel of Cornell University, “if Americans alone took the food currently fed to farm animals in the United States, we would have enough food to feed the entirety of the world’s hungry, and we could do it without plowing even one extra acre of farmland.”
More than just healthy and delicious, adopting a vegetarian diet of fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts and legumes is also an act of charity for those who need it the most. And, as is often the case with charity, those who give also receive. By adopting a vegetarian diet, we would not only potentially make more food available for the world’s hungry, but as nation we would also be taking the single most important step towards improving our own health as well as the health of the planet. Now that’s a thanksgiving dinner all of us can be truly grateful for.