This year, I'll be out in Michigan for a turkey-filled T-Day with D's family. However, longtime readers of this site know that I grew up in a vegetarian household, and as such, am accustomed to a turkey-less (but no less festive) holiday. Before you scrunch your face into a frown and get all judgmental, let me sing my annual chorus of "it's the sides that really count!" I'm a side-dish gal. I invest my gastronomic pennies in the yams and the stuffing, the mushrooms and onions and pretty red-orange hued fall salad; for me, the sides are the main event, the turkey playing a supporting role (if that). Also, given that I've never actually made a Thanksgiving turkey, you'll have to look elsewhere for that recipe. However, I think it's fair to say I have a proven track record of producing great vegetarian Thanksgiving menus, and that will hold true this year as well, Detroit excursion notwithstanding.
Here are some of my favorite Thanksgiving-friendly vegetarian mains and sides from the NDP archives:
- Wheatberry Salad with Cranberries and Mint
- Broccoli with Capers and Olives
- Broccoli with Pine Nuts and Raisins
- Braised Pearl Onions
- Braised Sweet and Sour Cabbage
- Polenta with Tomatoes, Shallots and Goat Cheese: a nice alternative to cornbread. Tomatoes and shallots lend a savory kick, and goat cheese gives that finishing tang.
- Roasted Brussels Sprouts: a simple preparation of one of my favorite fall vegetables.
- Squash stuffed with quinoa, pears, and cranberries: it's hard to imagine a vegetarian main dish that's more Thanksgiving-appropriate. This has the wow-factor I'm always looking for.
If that list isn't quite enough, I've also compiled a bunch of great ideas from across the web that I thought you might like:
- Washingtonian featured a great piece this week on vegetarian recipes for Thanksgiving. The list includes a mouthwatering broccoli dish, among others, from Rasika chef Vikram Sunderam.
- NYT has pulled together a very nifty guide on Thanksgiving cooking, which includes this year's compilation of sides (many of which are vegetarian and delicious-looking) as well as some all-star posts from previous years.
- Heidi Swanson, over at 101 Cookbooks, has compiled two very useful lists: one of vegetarian Thanksgiving recipes, and the other of Vegan recipes for T-day. As usual, Heidi is an endless source of ideas. Definitely check out her compilations.
- Chow weighs in with a list of its top 10 vegetarian Thanksgiving recipes.
- And finally, the recipe pictured at the top of this post: an awesome stuffed pumpkin number, filled to the brim with a rich bread pudding-like stuffing and baked until fall-apart tender. Don't miss this.
Hopefully you'll find these resources useful. And if all else fails, remember -- Thanksgiving is about more than perfect turkey and delectable sides. It's about relishing fall before winter sets in, enjoying family and all the drama involved in these get-togethers, playing board games until when you blink you see Monopoly money, and soaking up a rare four day weekend. The food is only part of the game -- don't sweat it.
Wishing you all the happiest of holidays!