Vegetarians say farewell to fowl and skip the turkey on Thanksgiving. It's usually no big deal because a holiday plate can be truly satisfying with the bounty of meat-free sides. However, when you say bye-bye birdie, your plate is also low in protein, since turkey is a high-protein food. Don't worry. Help is here. I pulled some of my recipes and also interviewed Allison Enke from Whole Foods Market to come up with nine ways to get veggie-friendly protein on Thanksgiving:
1) Sunflower Lentil Loaf (vegan): This is my all-time favorite lentil loaf recipe. The ketchup on top makes it taste like the classic version we all grew up on! PROTEIN: 1 slice; 13 grams.
2) Tofu Vegetable Loaf: Transform tofu into a savory main dish... this is great with mushroom gravy. PROTEIN: 1 slice; 14 grams.
3) Winter Squash Rigatoni: Perfect seasonal flavors from butternut squash, swiss chard and sage. The white beans add healthy plant-protein. PROTEIN: 1 cup; 9 grams.
4) Lentil Meatballs (vegan): These make a great appetizer w/ marinara! PROTEIN: 4 meatballs; 8 grams.
5) Lentil, Butternut Squash and Collards Pie: Who said pie is just for dessert? A slice of this savory pie packs protein and fiber really satisfy. PROTEIN: 1 slice; 11 grams.
6) Harvest Vegetable Shepard's Pie (vegan): A classic made with tempeh instead of ground beef. If you're new to tempeh, think of it like the meaty-textured cousin of tofu. PROTEIN: 1 slice; 17 grams.
7) Lentil and Couscous Salad with Arugula (vegan): Serve this salad on a flat dish instead of a bowl to highlight its beauty. Use vegan pesto for the dressing if you want the vegan-version. PROTEIN: 1/6 of recipe; 10 grams.
8) Cauliflower Mac and Cheese: Using cauliflower as the base of the cheese sauce makes this recipe much lower in calories and higher in vitamin C & fiber than the standard version. PROTEIN: 1 cup; 15 grams.
9) Pumpkin Pecan Pie (vegan): Choose this when you can't decide between pumpkin and pecan pie. The tofu and pecans makes each slice more protein than an egg. PROTEIN: 1 slices; 7 grams.
Follow Dawn Jackson Blatner, RD, CSSD, LDN on Twitter: www.twitter.com/djblatner