Who said that Thanksgiving dinner is a vegan’s worst nightmare?
When my parents told me that they needed help hosting a (belated) Thanksgiving meal for my brothers, their wives, my infant nephew, and me, I was thrilled! Just because the typical star of the show is a beheaded, drained, stuffed, and roasted Turkey doesn’t mean the vegans can’t come in and kick butt!
I beheaded the doubters, I was drained and stuffed afterwards, and then, er… I got roasted? Let’s just say, I had an amazing Thanksgiving meal!
Think this post is a bit too late? Nope! I’m counting the days until Chanukah and Christmas! But why stop there? Casual dinners with friends, work potlucks, kid’s birthday parties… daily meals!
Not only did I cook delicious food, I cooked easy food with easy ingredients that didn’t take very long at all. Plus, they don’t require weird ingredients and tools. Beat that, omnivores!
Cranberry + Almond Rice Pilaf
Butternut Squash and Maple Syrup Mash
Pistachio and Orange Stuffing
and finally… Sweet Potato Pie!
Bonus: Vegan-friendly red wine
Plus, my sister-in-law brought pumpkin lasagna and individual pumpkin tarts.
Before I get into those details, I want to share the beautiful setup we arranged in the formal dining room. We didn’t bring out all the hoity toity dishes, but we made clean up a lot easier by using disposable plates. They were sturdy enough that they could be reused if you are not concerned about cleaning, or you are concerned about the environment.
We started our holiday with fruit salad and veggie salad.
Now, I am not Puerto Rican. I’m not even Pu Rican. There is nothing Latino about me. However, I do love Hispanic food. The spices are exquisite and the flavours are very different from anything in my family’s culture. Thus, when a client of mine suggested pastelón made with beef, and I found myself drooling, I knew I had to find a vegan version!
Thanks to the talented and magical Yadira Laguerre I was able to find a super simple recipe to bring out the Boricua in my stomach and heart. Her site is full of Spanish vegan recipes that will keep you warm and happy all Winter.
I boiled and smashed some plantains, squished some black beans (and I added garbanzo beans), then covered it all with soy cheese. That’s all! I used Pepper Jack Daiya to kick the dish into merengue! The only thing I added at the end was a tiny bit of cinnamon and brown sugar to the plantain layer. It brought out the sweetness and gave the plantain some well-deserved extra attention.Main dish complete, we moved onto our rice dish, butternut squash, and stuffing. Those took some taking and giving, rejecting and approving, but after some unique touches and additions, they got where we wanted them!
First: Jasmine rice with dried cranberries and almond slices. In the future, though, I’d ignore the recipe and cook the rice before mixing it with the other goodies. It was a bit al dente. Which I like, but not everyone is quite as sophisticated as me.
If you can’t read the chicken scratch in a blurry photo, here’s the same recipe. Of course, I used vegetable stock, not chicken.
The stuffing was pretty easy, and I was glad to see it didn’t need anything too crazy to keep it vegan. We kept it available for anyone- vegan or not. It was just some prepackaged bread; much like croutons with olive oil and rosemary. However, when made, I was disappointed by its lack of thrill and excitement. So, I went ahead and added diced pistachios and orange zest (with a touch of orange juice!) My mother then suggested we put some cut tarragon in a dish of almond milk, heat it up, and then pour it over and mix it in. Between the two of us, we’re one chef. I loved this idea and it tasted great!
As for the butternut squash, this is always tasty on its own. So, we left one cut up squash to its own devices. Between the olive oil and salt and pepper, we could just roast it for half an hour and be happy. However, my special version was mashed and splashed with vanilla and maple syrup. Sugar really does make life a little better.
Added challenge: Cut pistachios and pretty much EVERYTHING using only a steak knife. Challenge accepted and defeated! +1!
And this is how you create the most perfect of all ever vegan Thanksgiving meals!
Don’t stop reading just yet! We have one last piece of the meal that will really light your jetpack! I give to you… the… sweet potato pie! Woo! Wee! Wiiihaa!
Tofu, aquafaba, pre-made crust, sweet potato, sugar, sugar, sugar, spices and flavours… voilá! You have pie delicioso.
Get the recipe here.
Tip: Add vegan marshmallows to the top before warming in the oven!
Then grab some vegan wine, a couple of my sister-in-law’s mini pumpkin pies, and be thankful that you’re vegan!
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In the meantime, get satisfied!
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