thanksgiving recipes for guests with dietary restrictions

[ 0 ] November 21, 2011 |

If the phrase “hosting a Thanksgiving dinner” sends chills down your spine, we don’t blame you. Holiday dinners can really crank your stress meter up to 11, especially if you have guests with certain dietary needs or restrictions you’re not used to.

Not pictured: your frayed nerves.

But there’s no need to panic, because creating a Thanksgiving meal for vegetarians, vegans or any other special group of foodies can be fun and easy. We’ve got a few ideas for yummy main courses, sides, desserts and drinks to get you inspired. Consider it an opportunity to show off your undoubtedly awesome culinary skills in a whole new way:


Main: Thai Spiced Pumpkin Soup

For the skeptics who don’t think of soup as a main course, you’ve obviously never had a creamy pumpkin soup like this one. Serve with bread, garnish with a few toasted pumpkin seeds and you have yourself quite a filling Fall meal.

Side: Vegetarian Stuffing

Luckily, traditional stuffing is easy to adapt. Most stuffing recipes don’t even call for any meat products! In terms of simple, delicious vegetarian Thanksgiving recipes, it doesn’t get easier than this. Just remember a couple of crucial things: use vegetable stock, not chicken stock and do not stuff it in a turkey!


Main: Black Bean and Zucchini Tortilla Casserole

You might find vegans a little daunting to cook for, but they’re not nearly as picky as you might think. And it’d be hard to find anything wrong with this super delicious and healthy casserole recipe. For the corn tortillas, you can either grab them from your nearest health food store or make your own.

Side: High Protein Garlic Mashed Potatoes

Much like vegetarian stuffing, adapting garlic mashed potatoes for vegans is as effortless as a couple of ingredient swaps. Be sure to substitute dairy products for their vegan alternatives, such as unsweetened rice or almond milk instead of cow or goat milk.

Gluten Intolerance

Main: Mom’s Gluten-Free Roast Turkey

Ready for the big one? Roasting a succulent turkey isn’t quite as easy as whipping up a batch of mashed potatoes, but preparing a bird for those with gluten intolerance is a piece of cake. It’s just a simple matter of leaving out ingredients that contain the gluten protein. This delicious recipe replaces breadcrumb stuffing (which is heavy with gluten) with simple vegetables, salt and pepper.

Dessert: Gluten-Free Pumpkin Cupcakes

It’s not Thanksgiving without some sort of pumpkin treat, right? For a little twist, try this drool-worthy gluten-free cupcake recipe. Just remember when you’re in the grocery store to buy pumpkin puree, not pumpkin pie filling. Puree is nothing but pumpkin, while the pie filling has all sorts of unnecessary additives.


Not everyone partakes in a holiday nip, so be mindful of your guests’ drink preferences. Sparkling fruit juices, non-alcoholic egg nog and club soda are all must-haves for your kitchen. Here are some fun non-alcoholic drink and cocktail ideas:

  • Sparkling apple cider with ginger syrup
  • Pomegranate juice & non-alcoholic champagne
  • Cranberry juice & club soda
  • Apple juice, ginger ale & juice from a pumpkin (great for Harry Potter fans)
  • Hot apple cider garnished with a cinnamon stick

See? Cooking outside your comfort zone on Thanksgiving might seem difficult, but it’s only a matter of being resourceful and creative. Have fun!

Do you have any special holiday or Thanksgiving recipes for people with dietary restrictions? Share with us!

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