Hosting Vegetarians at the Holidays


Vegetarians don’t eat many common holiday centerpiece dishes such as turkey, ham, roasts and lamb. But your veggie friends don’t need your sympathy. They just need your consideration. Here are five things to keep in mind when hosting vegetarian guests at the holidays:

1. Find out what kind of vegetarians your guests are. Some eat fish and eggs, some don’t. Vegans don’t eat any dairy. Understanding where your guests draw the line will help you plan your menu.

2. Use vegetable stock instead of chicken stock in your stuffing, and wherever else a recipe calls for stock. And cook some stuffing outside the turkey. Once you cook stuffing inside a turkey, it’s full of turkey juice which means it’s not vegetarian anymore.

3. Keep an eye out for meat products in foods where you might not expect them. Marshmallows and Jell-O contain gelatin, an animal byproduct.

4. Many vegetarians tell me it makes them uncomfortable when hosts fuss over them too much. If that sounds like your veggie friends, perhaps they’ll be content eating a big plate of side dishes. But if that’s the case, make sure you have a variety of hearty sides, so they still have plenty of options, and don’t leave feeling hungry.

5. Make a Veggieducken (pictured above)! It’s an all-vegetarian holiday centerpiece dish I invented, inspired by the Turducken. It’s a sweet potato inside a leek inside a banana squash, with stuffing between each layer — and it also makes for a great side dish for the carnivores in your house.

Of course the most important thing is to make all your guests feel welcome. By taking their preferences into account, you’ll ensure a special holiday for everyone.

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