Rethinking the Thanksgiving Dinner

For people watching their diets for health reasons, Thanksgiving can play real havoc with their best intentions. Although Turkey is certainly a healthy and low-fat source of protein, those that would like to focus more attention on vegetarian choices can still have a wonderful meal with a traditional feel.

“It makes for good eating to reconsider and create dishes that let vegetables play a major role,” said Michael Anthony, executive chef of Gramercy Tavern in New York City.

It is time for home chefs to rethink the place of vegetable dishes in their menu planning. According to Joan Nathan, author of many innovative cookbooks, it is quite possible to have a great vegetable dish stand alone as a main course.

“You can get rid of the idea of the turkey as the center of the meal,” said Ms. Nathan, author of the new “Quiches, Kugels and Couscous: My Search for Jewish Cooking in France” (Knopf). Vegetarian dishes, she added, “can stand by themselves.”