Donya Currie is the editor of The Free Lance-Star's Healthy Life section and Healthy Life Virginia newsletter.

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Mix it up

Classic or creative? If you’re going the classic route this Thanksgiving, you can probably plan your menu in your sleep: turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, green beans, sweet potatoes, dinner rolls, pumpkin pie, etc.

But if you want to get creative, then you’re probably fishing around for some interesting recipes right about now — especially if you’re aiming to amp up the vegetarian offerings at your table. Let me help.

One place to check out is the Gentle Thanksgiving website ( It’s purpose? You guessed it: To keep people from eating turkeys. It offers lots of recipes — some of which look more appealing than others.  Some, like tofurkey, are alternatives to turkey. Others, such as butternut squash & couscous, provide a chance to zig a little with your side dishes.

For an even more varied list of menu ideas, check at The Veggie Table website, at Here, you can find recipes for everything from squash soup to popovers to winter squash risotto — lots of ways to break out of the traditional Thanksgiving rut.

Finally, let me suggest the health section of the New York Times. If you’re a frequent reader of its website, as I am, you may already be familiar with its Well blog. Recently, the blog has been posting tantalizing vegetarian Thanksgiving recipes, and some — like the mini brie and apple quiches — look absolutely divine.  No matter how much you  love mashed potatoes and gravy, some of these recipes  may tempt you to make room on your menu for something new. Check the site out at

As always, keep your eyes on the Food section of the Free Lance-Star for lots more meal ideas — at Thanksgiving time and all year round.