Vegetarian Thanksgiving Feast / Menu and Recipes

25 Nov

How was everyone’s Thanksgiving holiday? Ours was a huge success. Jim and I had our first ever vegetarian Thanksgiving and all the food was a big hit with our guests. Here’s a sampling of what how I set the table, what we served, along with where to find the recipes and how I organized making all the dishes. I somehow managed to get all of these dishes made in my tiny, 10 foot by 10 foot kitchen with a 2 foot by three foot counter.

We had a total of 3 guests (5 total including me and Jim), and luckily our small round kitchen table had plenty of room. Here’s some photos of how we set the table. Thanksgiving morning we realized we had forgotten to pick up the gourds we had wanted to create a festive centerpiece, so I last minute came up with the idea of putting some pumpkin seeds in a serving dish and topping them with tea lights. Made for a really beautiful, yet simple centerpiece.

Thanksliving 2011

Thanksliving 2011

Thanksliving 2011

I’m of Italian decent, and anyone who’s been to an Italian American Thanksgiving knows it’s an all day eat-a-thon. Keeping in tradition, we had a variety of appetizers for our guests to knosh on prior to our formal dinner.

Thanksliving 2011

I made a traditional mozzarella and tomato salad complete with basil, olive oil and balsamic. This is one of Jim’s favorites.

Jim also selected some cheese and created a cheese plate, which was served with crackers.

Thanksliving 2011

Thanksliving 2011

I also made one of my favorite recipes ever, an almond cheese spread. It’s entirely vegan, and is really reminiscent to a cross between a feta and a goat cheese. It’s perfect with crackers, and serves up really nicely in a pretty bakery dish. You can find the recipe I used as a basis here.

Thanksliving 2011

I also made another vegan favorite of mine, Alicia Silverstone’s Artichoke Dip from the Kind Diet cookbook. One of the dips I really have missed since going vegan is spinach and artichoke dip, so I add about 10 ounces of spinach to my recipe, but it can be made with or without. You can find the recipe here.

Thanksliving 2011

We also had a tray of veggies and hummus out. I love carrots and hummus.

Thanksliving 2011

Moving onto dinner, last year I made the menu Vegetarian Times featured several years ago designed by Moosewood Restaurant in upstate NY. I love this menu. It’s very seasonal, festive and delicious. The menu includes a cranberry chutney with crystalized ginger, seasonal fall salad with beets, fennel and oranges, green beans with a crispy shallot topping, and amazing vegetable strudel, complete with mushrooms, peppers, onions, and vegan cheeses in a phyllo pastry shell. You can find links to the entire menu and recipes here.

Thanksliving 2011

Thanksliving 2011

Thanksliving 2011

Thanksliving 2011

I also made homemade mashed potatoes. Recipe is super easy, just chop some yukon gold potatoes, cover with water and boil until tender. Drain and run the potatoes through a potato ricer, and finish with vegan soy creamer, butter, salt and pepper. Delicious!

Thanksliving 2011

I did take a little help from the pre-made department as well in this menu. Jim absolutely loves stuffing, so I got a bag of Whole Food’s vegan stuffing which was great because it takes about 5 minutes to make. I finished mine off in the oven to give it a crispy top. I also got some Fresh Direct parbaked rolls as well.

Thanksliving 2011

Thanksliving 2011

Initially I was resistant, but Jim really wanted to get a fake turkey substitute for our guests being all our guests were omnivores. I decided on Field Roasts Hazelnut Cranberry Roast, and it was the sleeper hit of the dinner. Our guests LOVED it! It tasted more like sausage than turkey, but was delicious and complimented by the cranberry and hazelnut stuffing and puff pastry crust. Even Jim’s brother, who is a self admitted picky eater commented on how much he liked it.

Thanksliving 2011

I also made a really amazing sweet potato casserole, complete with dandies marshmallows but I forgot to photograph it before we devoured it. For dessert (yes, there’s more!) we had vegan pumpkin whoopie pies while watching a movie. For us, there’s not better way to handle digesting a huge Thanksgiving feast than by watching a movie. We’re not big football fans in the Feld household so movies work perfect for us.

So how did I manage to pull off cooking all of this in my tiny kitchen? Very careful planning. Here’s an outline of how I managed it.

Tuesday Evening

  • Fry the shallots for the green beans. They keep for several weeks in a jar in the pantry.
  • Soak the almonds for the almond cheese spread.
  • Wednesday Evening

  • Make the filling for the vegetable strudel. Store in a container in the fridge.
  • Assemble the sweet potato casserole. Store in the fridge with foil over it.
  • Chop the potatoes for the mashed potatoes and store in the pot I’m making them in, covered with water and the pot lid. I stored it on the stove.
  • Assemble the spinach dip in a pretty baking pan, store in the fridge.
  • Blend the almonds for the almond cheese and strain in the fridge overnight.
  • Make the dressings for the green beans and salad, store in separate jars.
  • Roast the beets for the salad. Keep them in their foil overnight in the fridge. Then chop all the ingredients for the salad and store separately in the fridge.
  • Determine what serving wear I was using for which dishes, take them out of storage and mark with post its. That way you don’t have to think about it the next day.
  • Thursday

  • Bake the almond cheese and allow to cool. Top with the olive oil.
  • Assemble the vegetable strudel and store in the fridge
  • Just prior to guests arriving, bake spinach dip and while it’s in the oven, put out your cheeses, crackers, and vegetables and dip
  • When ready for dinner, bake the sweet potato casserole, field roast and vegetable strudel at 425 degrees for 40 minutes.
  • While items are in the oven, turn on the mashed potatoes to boil. Also microwave green beans and toss with dressing and top with shallots, assemble the salad, and start the stuffing.
  • Take foil off sweet potatoes and let continue for another 20 minutes. Take field roast and strudel out and allow to set up before carving up.
  • Drain and finish mashed potatoes. Crisp up stuffing in the oven and add the rolls on a tray to bake for 10 minutes.
  • Add marshmallows and nuts to sweet potatoes and broil until marshmallows brown.
  • Microwave some gravy (I took some help from the store with this step)
  • Call your guests in to enjoy their meal!
  • One thing I did this year that helped immensely was to wash the dishes as we went along. We had really minimal dishes by the end of the meal even despite all the food we had. It worked out great. Another thing I did was to prepare as many things as possible in pretty, refrigerator and oven safe dish ware. I received a lot of Corningware for my wedding shower, which I love because it comes with plastic tops to make leftover storage a breeze.

    How was everyone else’s Thanksgiving? I’d love to hear about what you guys had to eat and what traditions you have. Do share!

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    11 Responses to “Vegetarian Thanksgiving Feast / Menu and Recipes”

    1. Beth November 25, 2011 at 10:55 PM #

      Thanks for sharing your menu for a vegetarian Thanksgiving. All the dishes looked great and place settings were lovely.

    2. JC November 26, 2011 at 9:50 AM #

      There are so many reasons to choose a vegan lifestyle. Here are two short videos to help everyone understand why so many are making this life-altering choice: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fKr4HZ7ukSE and http://www.veganvideo.org

    3. jawbone November 26, 2011 at 10:31 AM #

      This is a marvelous presentation of vegan foods. I’m an omnivore and found myself salivating for these delicious sounding dishes.

      I’m here thanks to Susie’s Suburban Guerrilla (susiemadrak.com). Bless het -r and keep her well. She’s one of the writers I’m so thankful for.

    4. Michael Rogers November 26, 2011 at 3:00 PM #

      Wow.

      Sounds like it was an awesome meal. I’m stealing a number of the recipes to make for myself! Thanks!

    5. Jake November 26, 2011 at 4:04 PM #

      You protest fur but consume dairy? Really?

      • Corrie November 26, 2011 at 4:30 PM #

        Valid question. I don’t consume dairy personally, but my husband does. Our original intent was to have a fully vegan Thanksgiving, but one of our guests just last week was diagnosed with a rather serious digestive disorder, severely limiting what they could eat. Last minute we decided to add the cheese to the menu to accommodate them being cheese was one of the few foods safe for them to eat.

      • Mike Rogers December 1, 2011 at 12:49 AM #

        What does the murdering of innocent animals for overpriced coats have to do with drinking milk. Jake sounds like another carnivore who has the need to justify his own participation in the inhuman process of killing animals for food.

        Jake reminds me of the time I said to someone I was a vegetarian and he said “well, look at you Mr. Vegetarian in your leather sneakers.”

        I looked at him and said, “your point?” He, of course, had no answers. He did not appreciate this link: http://www.petatv.com/

        • Corrie December 1, 2011 at 9:56 AM #

          I really appreciate you sticking up for me Mike. At the same time I didn’t see anything wrong at all with Jake asking what he asked. It’s a totally justified question. Especially considering I “brand” my blog as vegan design, life and style in the best borough in NYC. Can’t very well be vegan and consume dairy.

          In all honesty, the milk industry is FAR worse than the fur industry mainly in that on the surface to the general public, it seems harmless. The horrendous treatment of dairy cattle, as well as it’s contribution to other industries (i.e. veal) remains hidden from public view. The fur industry is far more transparent in it’s cruelty. So I can understand why someone might be confused if it was their first time visiting my website seeing me protest fur, amd thinking I eat dairy which by vegan standards can be considered just as horrible. Luckily, I myself am a vegan and support all vegan causes, not just the anti-fur movement. Considering my love of fashion and how many compassionate choices there are out there (hence my vegan versions posts), the anti-fur movement was the easiest one for me to jump into and become an activist.

          That’s also not to say that veganism is better than vegetarianism! Vegetarians do still contribute just as much to animal welfare causes as vegans. The way I view it, for people really passionate about animal welfare vegetarianism paves the road to veganism later on for most people. This is the case for my husband right now.

          Thanks everyone for such great discussion on this thread!

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