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Nov 15, 2013 10:17 AM

Holiday Meals with Family BYOV?

Curious to find out how other vegetarians and vegans deal with holiday meals. I was just told again this year to bring something that I can eat to the Thanksgiving get together. Does your family prepare items for you or are you always bringing your own veggie dishes?

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  1. For the past, um...two decades now i have assumed that if i want a meat-free meal i should plan ahead. For every party, gathering, potluck or dinner i have been invited to i contact the host and say that "i would love to bring one of my famous vegetarian share if you don't mind..." I have never had a negative response from the host and i often introduce close minded omnis to what good veg food can be.

    Omnis often don't understand or are scared of veg food- i would not be offended at all. If i was having a dinner party they wouldn't expect me to make them a special burger.

    1. I was vegetarian for over 8 years. Not anymore.

      My daughter and her husband are vegetarian. I make sure that there is plenty for everyone at the table. I really don't understand serving a huge slab of meat and a few measly side dishes. What year is it...1952? Not my style but also...not a modern, healthy, foodie style of cooking either. There should be no reason a vegetarian should have to bring their own food to ANY meal, for Cripes sake. No reason.

      3 Replies
      1. re: sedimental

        Sedimental, I agree, but unfortunately there has actually been a resurgence of "macho" and "transgressive" eating of massive meat portions, at least in certain trendy restaurants.

        I'm not vegetarian either (and won't go into why not on this board) but I certainly make sure that most of what I eat is plant-based. I have NO nostalgia for 1950s-early 1960s stodge.

        Actually, in my group of friends, ranging from vegetarians to red-meat Argentines, our meals do usually turn out to be potlucks to some extent. I'll make the meal, but people bring salads, cheeses and certainly dessert if they want it.

        1. re: lagatta

          I know, I know, but it just seems so silly for a modern family holiday meal and it is a pet peeve of mine ;).

          I DO cook a big turkey for thanksgiving, but that is almost the only meat "dish" for that holiday. I make one stuffing with meat, one without, and gravy is the only "condiment" with meat in it. All the rest are veg friendly... and how hard is it to make one "extra" heavier/ main veg dish? Fall bounty foods are especially veg forward and easy....stuffed more difficult than Mac and cheese. I know I am "preachin' to the choir" on this board, but sheesh.

          Apps are crackers, breads, chips, dips, spreads, cheeses, crudités, pickled items, etc. none need meat. Just so silly.

          1. re: sedimental

            Thanksgiving is scarcely observed at all here in Québec (and Canadian Thanksgiving was over a month ago) but there are lots of hearty autumnal dishes, many based on the Three Sisters: maize, beans and squash. Even hearty greens like chard last well into late autumn, and kale and other cabbages into wintertime. I certainly make squash dishes for the year's-end holiday meals.

            By the way, squash gnocchi are stunning...

      2. My Aunt is vegetarian and everything besides turkey and gravy have always been veg friendly. Usually they would arrive on Wednesday night and leave on Sunday.

        Pizza and eggplant Parmesan on Wed.

        Fruit cup with sorbet or
        Vegetarian antipasti

        Ravioli, manicotti, stuffed shells or vegetarian lasagne

        (Turkey and gravy)
        Mashed potato
        Sweet potatoes
        Creamed spinach
        Creamed onions
        Sautéed green beans
        Mashed turnip
        Red cabbage
        Gelatin salad

        Pecan, pumpkin pies
        Apple or coconut custard pie

        Leftovers the rest of the weekend with a meal out perhaps.

        Approximately 10 meals and there was always plenty for her to eat.

        3 Replies
        1. re: melpy

          Are you using real gelatin in the gelatin salad? That's not too vegetarian by many people's use of the term. There are gelling agents that are vegetarian, if this is an issue.

            1. re: CloggieGirl

              She didn't have a problem with gelatin but obviously if she had she wouldn't partake.

          1. I like the ingredients in this nut roast (nut loaf), and even though chestnuts are softer and not nearly as rich as true nuts, I would like to lighten it up a bit. Lentils? Grated carrot and celeriac? Other ideas? I'd certainly add some onion or red (French) shallots.

            Christmas Nut Loaf

            This is a terrific recipe for the much-maligned nut loaf - I have cooked it many times at Christmas for both vegetarians and nut-lovers to great acclaim. Even meat-eaters love it!


            1 tbsp olive oil
            1 medium onion, peeled and finely chopped
            225g (8oz) chestnuts
            50g (2oz) brazil nuts
            110g (4oz) fresh wholemeal breadcrumbs
            1 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
            salt and pepper
            150ml (1/4 pint) vegetable stock
            110g (4oz) blue Stilton


            Heat the oil in a frying pan and cook the onion until soft but not brown. Chop the nuts. I use a food prcoessor for this to get the mixture of very finely chopped and some chunky nuts. Stir in the breadcrumbs, parsley and a seasoning of salt and pepper. Mix in the cooked onion and the stock.

            Grease and line 1/2kg (1lb) loaf tin. Spoon half the nut mixture into the base of the tin and smooth off. Crumble over the Stilton and top with the remaining nut mixture. Smooth the top and cover loosely with foil.

            Put the shelf on the bottom set of runners of the roasting oven and put in the nut loaf. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove the loaf and allow it to rest for 5 minutes before turning out onto a serving plate.

            Serve warm.


            Serves 4

            Recipe by:

            Louise Walker in 'Traditional AGA Christmas'

            1 Reply
            1. re: lagatta

              That recipe sounds amazing! I would say to swap 4oz of the chestnuts for lentils and use a bit less of the blue cheese to "lighten" it up some.

              Or leave the recipe alone and serve smaller portions with a bright fresh salad with a tart (lemony or acidic) vinegrette to balance it

            2. I am an omnivore with vegetarian and vegan family and friends. I think what you are describing is horrible. At thanksgiving we do serve turkey,etc but we also have a beautiful stuffed Hubbard squash or something similarly substantial and veggie sides do not have animal products.