By Jen Wead
A look at Jen Wead
Jen Wead is a Florida native who has been catering
events of all sizes for over 20 years. In addition to mothering
and writing this column, Jen teaches healthy cooking
classes for Humana Community Partners and has
recently started a new endeavor in the insurance industry.
Jen loves building relationships through food and
throughout her community.
Let them eat Kale: How to holiday with your vegetarian
When I was growing up, and well into adulthood, worrying about
making sure everyone could eat at the holiday meal was a non-issue.
Everyone enjoyed Grandma’s roasted turkey and no one thought twice
at the tender age of 11. I don’t remember ANY of us paying that a bit
dishes and loved it. No questions asked.
Nowadays, I have a vegan daughter, a vegetarian 10 year old son
We have people that are allergic to dairy, a few that have stopped eat-
diet. Lisa, the original vegetarian
is allergic to soy, gluten and dairy.
Holidays have gotten harder,
friends. We generally do a potluck,
so at least people can eat their own
dish, if nothing else, and it isn’t too
much burden on the host. Let’s face
it, though. If you are the host, and
if you are anything like me, you are
going to provide appetizers and extra
dishes to make sure that there
is plenty. The host is also customarily
responsible for providing the
main dish, which is generally the
meat. What happens when half of
your guests don’t eat meat? What
if you don’t, but half of your guests
do? Here are a few tips to get you
Jen preps the vegetarian dish
Hasselback Butternut Squash. Peeling Butternut Squash is not as easy
Be thoughtful about the menu and give your guests a category spe-
Have your gluten intolerant guest bring a gluten free dessert, etc. Offer
a meat and a non-meat protein. Last year I brought the turkey AND the
have to stress. It is all of us that have changed our dietary needs, so
I didn’t want her to have to go out of her way when she and my dad
hadn’t changed a bit.
Instead of making two dressings and two gravies, etc., make small
changes to incorporate everyone’s needs, if possible. For instance, with
the turkey and tofurkey I bought last year, I made a vegan mushroom
gravy that went with both. It was new, but will now be a tradition be-
es and dressings. Have a vegan butter available next to the regular butter.
Leave the pork out of your veggies when you cook them, and offer
potatoes with roasted garlic, fresh rosemary and sea salt and your carnivores
will be none the wiser. Thoughtful little offerings like this won’t
go unnoticed by your guests. Be sure to label so everyone knows what
is in each dish.
Vegan Hors d’Oeuvres
As the host, this is where you can really shine. There are so many
vegetarian and vegan appetizer recipes out now, with countless web-
gle search away. At least two appetizers that are friendly to all of your
guests needs such as a veggie tray with roasted red pepper hummus
and/or a tray of Mediterranean olives and cheeses (for those that can
Put Some Nuts on It
Having at least one diving vegetable dish that can be capped off
with nuts is heaven to a vegetarian. When I look at a buffet, I am looking
for protein and beautiful veggies and if I can get both, then heaven.
When you make your veggies this holiday season, top them with toasted
sliced almonds, walnuts
or pecans. It rounds out a
dish for anyone and gives
the vegetarians their much
needed protein. Last year,
I tried a new squash recipe
that won everyone over. It
is so beautiful it could be
placed at center stage of
your feast and hold its own.
Happy holidays to all of
you. The most important ingredient
is always love, and
I hope that you have plenty.
as it sounds.
HASSELBACK SQUASH WITH BAY LEAVES
• 1 large butternut squash
• 1 tablespoon olive oil
• Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
• 1 Fresno Chile, thinly sliced
• ¼ cup pure maple syrup, preferably grade B
• 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
• 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
• 6–8 dried bay leaves
baking dish just large enough to hold halves side by side until begin-
FLORIDA WOMEN MAGAZINE 813.682.9364 NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2018 • 43