Thanksgiving has evolved into the name “Turkey Day,” but everyone truly knows it is all about the tantalizing side dishes! The vegetarian friendly dishes at the holiday table are like the underrated side kick to the glorified superhero. It’s as if these overlooked vegetarian dishes are the Penny to the turkey’s Inspector Gadget: they really do all the work. Vegetarians are often asked “what do you eat on Thanksgiving??” Umm… EVERYTHING besides the Turkey! How about mouthwatering stuffing or the mashed sweet potatoes, ooohhh, and the green bean casserole?! This so-called “Turkey Holiday” is actually one of the best times of the year to gobble down some of the most delicious veggie dishes. Below are a list of some conventional and unconventional Vegetarian Thanksgiving Recipes to try:
This recipe was a great find from the Health section of the New York Times.
HARVEST-STUFFED PORTOBELLO MUSHROOMS
Recipe Courtesy of Chloe Coscarelli
1 large yellow onion, small dice
1 cup cashews
2 tablespoons olive oil, plus extra for brushing
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup cooked brown rice (or grain of choice)
1 can lentils, drained and rinsed (I used pink lentils and they were quick to make and delicious)
1/4 cup breadcrumbs
1/2 cup vegetable broth
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves plus extra for garnish
6 portobello mushrooms, stems and gills removed
1 tomato, sliced in thin rounds
Freshly ground black pepper
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. In large skillet, sauté the onions and cashews with 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium high heat. Season with salt and pepper to taste, and sauté until onions are soft and lightly browned. Add garlic and let cook a few more minutes.
3. In a large bowl combine onion mixture, brown rice, lentils, breadcrumbs, vegetable broth, basil and thyme. Mix together and season to taste with salt and pepper. (The stuffing can be made up to three days in advance and stored covered in the refrigerator.)
4. Brush both sides of mushroom caps lightly with olive oil and place top-side down on an oiled sheet pan. Stuff mushrooms with about 1/2 cup lentil cashew stuffing, then press one tomato slice on top of the stuffing. (The mushrooms can be stuffed and assembled on a baking tray the day before you plan to bake and serve them.)
5. Bake for approximately 30 minutes, or until the stuffing is browned and the mushroom begins releasing juices. Garnish with extra fresh thyme leaves.
Yield: Serves 6.
The next recipe takes about 10 minutes to make but will impress everyone who eats them so much, they will think you are a gourmet chef.
BRUSSELS SPROUTS WITH GOLDEN RAISINS AND TOASTED WALNUTS:
Inspired by Sandra Lee
2 bags (16-ounces) frozen Brussels sprouts or fresh Brussels Sprouts if accessible.
4 tablespoons butter
4 cup sliced almonds
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 tablespoon freshly chopped chives (optional)
3 Handfuls of Golden Raisins
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Place Brussels Sprouts in microwave safe dish and cover. For fresh Brussels Sprouts, microwave for three minutes and then stir and add in raisins and cook for another two minutes and thirty seconds. For frozen Brussels Sprouts- Microwave on HIGH 7 minutes; stir halfway through cooking and add in the raisins halfway. Heat the butter in a fry pan until it turns nut brown. Add the almonds and toss to brown. Stir in extract. Add the Brussels sprouts, season with salt and pepper and toss. Cook for another 2 minutes in pan. Garnish with chives (optional) and serve hot.
BEET AND WALNUT SALAD (Side Bar Note- Beets and Red Onions go wonderfully together)!
Courtesy of Rachelle Ray
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1 heart romaine lettuce, chopped
1 can 14 ounces sliced beets, drained and chopped
4 radishes, chopped
1/2 small red onion, chopped
2 ribs celery, chopped
2 tablespoons black cherry, seedless raspberry or apricot preserved
2 tablespoons vinegar, eyeball it
1 teaspoon poppy seeds, optional
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper
Toast nuts in a small pan over medium heat, 3 to 4 minutes, then let them cool.
Combine chopped lettuce, beets, radishes, onion, celery and toasted walnuts in a shallow bowl. Place the preserves into a small bowl and whisk vinegar into it. Add poppy seeds to dressing if you are using them. Whisk extra-virgin olive oil into the dressing and season it with salt and pepper. Dress salad and toss to coat evenly then adjust salt and pepper to your taste.
ROASTED CAULIFLOWER RECIPE
Head of cauliflower cut into florets (can save the stalk for soup).
4 Tablespoons of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Two cloves of garlic, minced
A medium eggplant, cubed and 2 Onions, diced (Optional).
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut head of cauliflower into florets (can save the stalk for soup). Add olive oil salt, pepper, 1-2 cloves of garlic minced. Optional- add in eggplant and onions. Roast 45 minutes or until browned and tender- stir occasionally.
MAPLE WHIPPED SWEET POTATOES
6 lbs weet potatoes, peeled and cut into 2 inch chunks
6 cups apple cider
4 cups water
1 stick (4 0z) unsalted butter
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
1. In a large saucepan, combine sweet potatoes with the cider and water and bring to a boil. Simmer over moderate heat until the sweet potatoes are just tender, about 35 minutes. Drain in a colander and shake dry.
2. In the same large saucepan, bring the butter and maple syrup to a boil. Add the potatoes and toss. Working in batches, puree the sweet potatoes in a food processor; do not overprocess. Season with salt. Return the whipped sweet potatoes to the saucepan and heat over a moderate heat until warmed through, about 10 minutes.
Note: The whipped sweet potatoes can be refrigerated overnight and reheated in a buttered baking dish in 350 oven for 25 minutes or over moderate heat on the stovetop for 10 minutes.
This recipe is from Food & Wine – November 2006
SPAGHETTI SQUASH BRUSCETTA would also be a fabulous dish to add to the Thanksgiving dinner table.
Another Italian meets Thanksgiving Recipe is SWEET POTATO GNOCCHI
Buy some gnocci at WHOLE FOODS and then toast them on each side on a frying pan in 2 Tablespoons on Brown Butter for 2 minutes. A Michele Wolfson specialty… Quick, easy, and delish!
Need a great idea for what to do after dinner and the nap to sleep off eating all the good cookin’? PLAY A BOARD GAME!!! Suggested favorites:
Don’t see a must-try vegetarian or vegan recipe? COMMENT AND LET READERS KNOW! Good board game requests are welcome as well. Happy Thanksgiving everyone! Enjoy this under-rated-for-vegetarian’s holiday in style with some new dishes and some old classics. Be sure to check out pics of these dishes in the slide show!