Food·Posted on Nov 17, 202110 Tips On How To Handle A Vegan Coming To Your Thanksgiving DinnerEasy suggestions for an easy Thanksgiving that's loved by all.by Whitney JeffersonBuzzFeed StaffFacebookPinterestTwitterMailLink So you have a vegan coming to your Thanksgiving dinner. Tap to play GIF Tap to play GIF Peacock / NBC / Via giphy.com Don't panic! This isn't going to completely derail your plans. No, really; it's a perfect excuse to learn some new recipes to add to your collection, test out dairy replacements and other ingredient swaps, or even just incorporate a few more vegetables into your meal. This isn't going to ruin your holiday, promise.The number of vegans has been steadily rising over the past decade, with a whopping 9.7 million Americans committing to the plant-based lifestyle, according to the latest estimate. It could be your sibling's new partner, a relative who's cut dairy out of their diet for a couple of months, a cousin who stopped eating meat, or, hey, it could even be you! Whatever the situation may be, the following is a list of ideas to help make any Thanksgiving (or holiday) meal a breeze for both you and your vegan guests. 1. Try cooking some new (vegan) recipes. Seventyfour / Getty Images/iStockphoto If you're open to trying something new in the kitchen, this is a great reason to try a recipe that you've never made before. Vegans are known for getting creative with their recipes because of the limitations they're used to, so the options are practically limitless. You could try carrots in a blanket for an appetizer, stuffed acorn squash, a meatless meatloaf, or even a decadent beet Wellington. For more inspiration, here's a list of 101 vegan thanksgiving recipes I gathered from across the internet that you can't go wrong with. And you never know, the new vegan recipe you try could end up being a new favorite! 2. Incorporate some vegetables into your feast. Tap to play GIF Tap to play GIF IFC / Via giphy.com Oh, a vegan's coming to dinner? Might as well break out the veggies, then! When you're not sure what a vegan can actually eat, vegetables are a pretty safe place to start. As long as you aren't cooking them with butter, milk, or other dairy products, this is an easy addition to the Thanksgiving table that your vegan guests will be stoked to see as an option. (Plus, I think we could all use a little more greens in our lives.) 3. Focus on making your side dishes vegan. Drbouz / Getty Images Look, I'm not going to tell you not to have a turkey for the rest of your guests if you have a vegan at the table, and I'm not going to tell you to buy a full fake tofurkey, either. I want to make things work in a reasonable way for everyone who's involved here, especially the person who is planning the occasion. One easy way to provide options for your vegan guests without messing up your entire plan is to focus on the side dishes and make sure they're plant-based. Pick some new recipes or make sure the ones you have are free of dairy and meat. And of course, if your family has a nonvegan favorite side dish, you should feel free to keep it as it is. However, I'm happy to report that my mom has been sneakily swapping almond milk for cow's milk, Earth Balance for butter, and Vegenaise for mayo in her beloved family recipes for years now, and nobody can tell the difference. 4. Familiarize yourself with what vegans actually eat. View this photo on Instagram Instagram: @vegan.foods.tips.inspiration This is by no means something that you absolutely have to memorize, but it's helpful to know what a vegan can't eat if you're making a meal for them. This vegan food pyramid does a pretty good job of summarizing the things we can eat, but there are also a lot of things we can't. My tip to anyone who's buying food for a vegan or starting out with a vegan diet is to read the ingredients of everything you buy. No, labels like "dairy free" and "vegetarian" on the front of the box or bag don't actually cut it: You'd be shocked to see how many foods sneak milk powder into the ingredients of something you'd never expect. Unfortunately, "dairy free" often doesn't mean that it's vegan — and cheese seems to somehow be put in everything — so the only way to really know exactly what is in what you're eating is to read the full list of ingredients on the box. 5. Look into a couple of easy swaps that you can buy when you're at the store. View this photo on Instagram Instagram: @lifeveganized Sorry to be the one to tell you this, but if you're making all of your foods at home this year, you'll need to make some swaps in accordance with your guests' diet. Vegans don't eat dairy of any kind, and as such, you'll need to substitute in vegan butter while baking, switch your broth to a vegetable-based one, and opt for nondairy milks like nut milk. And before you say, "I'll never use the vegan stuff I buy after they leave," I'd suggest either a) buying the smallest portion you can find at the store so there's less waste after, or b) getting creative and finding a way to use the substitutes in your everyday cooking — I promise, you may not even notice the difference. 6. Set aside or dedicate a small portion of your recipe to be made vegan. Tap to play GIF Tap to play GIF giphy.com Speaking from personal experience, my lovely and hugely accommodating parents made their regular stuffing recipe (which happened to be vegan to start) and set aside a couple of servings before stuffing it up the turkey's butt. They'd cook the nonturkey version in a separate baking pan for vegetarian or vegan guests. This idea can work for all sorts of recipes: Make a small batch of cheddar biscuits without the cheddar, sweet potato casserole without the marshmallows, or sausage stuffing without the sausage. You can get creative here! And if it totally sucks with the modifications, I bet the vegan will be so touched that you made them a vegan version that they won't even care. 7. Vegan gravy will make all the difference. Ahirao_photo / Getty Images/iStockphoto I've sat through many Thanksgiving dinners as a vegan eating mostly sides and vegetables, which was perfectly fine. But when I found a recipe for vegan gravy that was quick to make (and, more importantly, wouldn't mess up the cooking flow of the kitchen), it totally changed the game. I suddenly realized that gravy was the glue that tied everything together. And let's be honest — everything tastes better covered in gravy! While I use this recipe to make my own, there are plenty of ready-to-make mixes for vegetarian gravy that you can pick up at the grocery store. It's by no means a "must include" for your meal, but if you can swing it, I know it'll be appreciated. 8. Consider whether or not the alcohol you're serving is vegan too. Gulcin Ragiboglu / Getty Images/iStockphoto You might not know that some alcohol is made with animal products. Some beers are brewed with gelatin and glycerin, while wines and ciders can be brewed with milk sugar, honey, and other dairy products. Luckily, there's an app for that: Barnivore! It's a great resource that'll tell you which types of booze are vegan-approved. If this is all too much to consider, most hard seltzers are usually vegan, and you usually can't go wrong with a clear alcohol like vodka or gin. 9. If all else fails, buy them a small vegan meal to eat. Tap to play GIF Tap to play GIF Tiny Hamster Official / Via youtube.com Listen, I'm fully aware that you may have been reading this entire list thinking, You're asking me to change my beloved recipe for somebody? I totally get that. While I'd still advocate for a few swaps here and there if you can make it work, if you can't, your vegan guest will still be pleased to have any food that's vegan.The frozen food aisle of your grocery store will no doubt have some frozen meals that you can pick from. Most fast-food restaurants have some sort of vegan dessert or side that your guest could have. If you can find it, a special Thanksgiving individual meal would be even better, like a vegan turkey or a veganized pie (my personal favorite is this vegan pot pie from Raised Gluten Free). If your local store isn't cutting it, Vegan Essentials has a huge variety of food that ship across the country, and Gluten Free Mall has an awesome vegan section for an option that'll suit multiple food allergies at once. 10. Don't forget dessert. Jenifoto / Getty Images/iStockphoto You'd be surprised how many Thanksgiving pies are already vegan (shoutout to apple pie and most fruit-based pies!). However, the ones that aren't are incredibly easy to veganize. Swap your butter for a vegan one, your milk for nut milk, and your cream for coconut cream — and I promise that you and your guests won't notice a difference in taste. If it's easier, you can pick up a box of vegan sweets at the store — or in a pinch, Oreos are actually vegan too!