How To Host ‘Turkey Day’ If You Have A Guest Who Doesn’t Eat Meat

Do you have a vegan or vegetarian person joining you at your Thanksgiving feast? If you don’t practice these diets yourself, you may be left wondering what to prepare. Well don’t worry… Here are recipes and tips for preparing a holiday meal that will delight everyone at the table!

1.  Offer at least one meat-free entrée

This will make your vegetarian guests feel honored and it’ll ensure they have a festive dish as their main course instead of relying solely on only side dishes. We love these veg-focused “center of the plate” stars:

If you’re already feeling overwhelmed by having to cook the turkey and sides you might opt to try one of our ready-made vegetarian holiday alternatives:

2.  Whenever possible, keep your sides meat-free or meat optional

Thanksgiving sides are often the best part of the meal! Everyone loves the sweet potatoes, squash, Brussels sprouts, mashed potatoes, gravy, cranberry sauce, stuffing, salads, etc. With all these options, it may seem like a vegetarian has more than enough choices… But as a host you’ll just need to be aware that we often add animal products to classic sides making them off-limits to our meat-free guests.

No need to change all your prized family recipes, but here are a few easy swaps to make sides more veg-friendly:


  • Instead of cooking Brussels sprouts with bacon or in drippings: Roast them in a vegetable oil like in this recipe and have crispy bacon bits on the side as an optional topping.
  • Instead of having sausage as the main add-in to your stuffing: Feature savory flavors and mushrooms, or a unique mix-in of dried apricots and hazelnuts.
  • Instead of mashing the potatoes with chicken broth: Use vegetable-based broth and milk. Try this recipe! If you have a vegan guest you’ll also have to leave out the milk and butter (sorry!), however you’ll be surprised how delicious potatoes mashed with garlic, herbs and high quality olive oil can be!

3.  When your vegetarian guest offers to bring a dish, let them!

The best person to make an awesome vegetarian dish is the person who eats that way all the time! So when your meatless loved one offers to contribute, say yes! It will be a win for everyone… one less dish for you to make and they’ll have a favorite recipe to nosh on.

And if they don’t offer to bring something we’ve got you covered. Head to our website for festive vegan and vegetarian recipes that will take you from main course to dessert!