Seitan Divan Pot Pie

What you need:

4 cups broccoli florets

1 1/4 cups prepared creamy portobello mushroom soup

3/4 cup light mayonnaise

1 tsp. dry sherry

1/2 tsp. each ground thyme and ground sage

1 lb. seitan, cut into bite-sized pieces

1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

2/3 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed

Directions: Preheat oven to 425 degrees and place oven rack in bottom third of oven. Coat 13-by-9-inch baking with cooking spray. Microwave broccoli with 3 tbs. water for 4 minutes then drain. Whisk together soup, mayonnaise, sherry and seasoning in large bowl. Stir in seitan and broccoli. Pour into baking dish and top with parmesan cheese. Cut pastry into six squares and place evenly over mixture. Bake 20 minutes or until pastry is golden.

Source: Reprinted with permission from Vegetarian Times, Oct. 2010 article by Donna Klein, Copyright© Vegetarian Times.

W hile most are counting the days to turkey time, University of Colorado student Lisa Petrovich is looking forward to a veggie-filled feast of crinkled carrots and seitan pot pie.

Petrovich became a vegetarian in 2010 and said she was nervous about telling her meat-loving, Midwestern family that she was opting out of the traditional Thanksgiving bird.


"It was like coming out to my family," Petrovich said.

"The first year I didn't say too much to them," she said. "I just kind of avoided the meats but didn't really mention it. Eventually, they started to notice and I had to tell them I was choosing not to eat meat."

After some conversations about her eating habits, Petrovich's family came around and even started embracing some of her vegetarian habits.

"I think it was important to just keep focusing on being with my family rather than the food," Petrovich said. "Rather than letting them down by telling them I wasn't eating certain things, I just ate what I could and didn't make a big deal out of it."

Even though there's no lack of food at Petrovich's parents' house, she said she likes to contribute some vegetarian dishes to the meal. This year, she's planning an almond tart and a seitan pot pie.

"I started making dessert-type things for them first, since that's an easier transition," Petrovich said. "Now, they're really proud of me and have even started buying those meatless Morning Star burgers."

Petrovich said even if they didn't immediately understand her choice, she's glad her habits sparked conversation and curiosity from her family.

CU senior Danielle Watkins-Green's Southern family has yet to embrace her and her dad's pork-free diet.

Watkins-Green's Alabama Thanksgiving is sprinkled with bacon, which she has to remove from nearly every dish.

"My grandma puts bacon on everything," Watkins-Green said. "There's bacon in the green beans, potatoes and potato salad. Even the salad usually has a ton of bacon in it so I just have to pick it out."

Religious beliefs keep Watkins-Green from eating pork, and she said it's worth it to have to pick through a little pork to spend the holidays with her family but she's glad her dietary restriction is a personal preference and not an allergy.

CU student Lisa Petrovich’s completed seitan pot pie.
CU student Lisa Petrovich's completed seitan pot pie. (JEREMY PAPASSO)

"I think it's something where you just have to kind of suck it up and deal," Watkins-Green said. "Either pick it out or just try it, who knows, you might like it."

The good news is that holidays typically attract large meals with a variety of food choices pleasing to everyone, the students said. There's likely to be at least a couple of dishes to get you through the food-filled holiday.

"I actually never worry too much about the food at family holidays because, in the end, it's seeing my family that matters," Petrovich said. "I always tell them I am there to enjoy their company, not simply to eat the food, even though it's always delicious."