What’s your favorite family food tradition at Thanksgiving? Share your answer below and see what others have to say. Our favorite responses will be published in the next issue of Vegetarian Times.
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Our family has been vegetarian for only 5 years, needless to say our holiday traditions surrounding food have had to be updated. The new traditions are finding ways to recreate favorites like vegetables with dumplings, homemade gravy and Mema's sweet potatoes.
Believe it or not, I actually enjoy bringing my own vegetarian main dish to my parent's house. Everyone is curious, but I get to eat the left overs for a week. Then there's still room for mom's 3 (at least) pies.
Roasted corn and sage polenta, chestnut stuffing and whole baked sweet potatoes topped with a bit of browned butter. I like to keep it simple, so I do the polenta in a small crockpot.
I love it when my family takes a chance at veganizing another recipe so I can enjoy it, too. My mother takes pride in telling me which foods are "safe" for me to eat. This year, we hope to master vegan corn pudding!
I went veg just last year but my nephew and his girlfriend are vegan so I decided to make a Vegan Shephard's Pie with layers of mushrooms and kidney beans. Turned out to be so popular that I was told I had to make it for Christmas and Easter as well! And that was by the meat-eaters!
My grandmother (born and raised in Naples, Italy) claimed Thanksgiving as an Italian holiday, because any holiday centered around food is, of course, Italian. She used to make several Italian foods for Thanksgiving dinner in addition to the turkey. One dish she made was panzerotti - deep fried potato balls. Years ago, my aunt adapted the recipe into a casserole, which eliminated the work of hand shaping and deep frying. I never learned to make the original ball version, but I always serve the panzerotti casserole instead of mashed potatoes on Thanksgiving. It serves as my main dish.
Our family has been vegetarian for 30 years so we are pretty free from the turkey traditional. We started our own tradition - every year our family members vote on the type of food they'd like (Italian, Mexican, etc.). One year, no one could decide so I put slips of paper with different parts of the meal (appetizer, entree, veggie...)written on them. Everyone pulled a slip and had to choose something for that category. Amazingly enough, as individual as the items were, they blended beautifully. Just like our family, I like to think.
Every year, my dad, sister, and I make an amazing pumpkin cheesecake together, then carve a big "F"--the first initial of our last name--into the top just before sticking it in the oven. Yum!
The night that "A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving" airs on TV, we eat that same meal: toast, popcorn, pretzel sticks and vegetarian jellybeans (we skip the weird looking sundae). Then we watch the show. The kids love it and I get a break from meal planning. I guess the Peanuts gang was ahead of their time with this meatless meal!
a huge squash stuffed with quinoa stuffing!!
Mashed Butternut Squash is a favorite in my family ever since I first made it as a substitute for Sweet Potato Casserole (I'm allergic to sweet potatoes). Simply bake the squash at 400 f. for about an hour, cut in half lengthwise, remove the seeds and peel. Mix together 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut milk, 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract, 1 tsp. ground cinnamon, 1/4 tsp. ground ginger, and 5-8 drops stevia extract. Mash the butternut, mix in coconut milk mixture, and place in a pan in oven for about 20 minutes. I like to top it with my Agave roasted Flaxseed/Walnut mixture and a sprig of mint for garnish
Autumn Harvest Soup, Mini Pumpkins stuffed with wild rice and winter squashes, green beans, sweet potato apple & ginger, green corn tamales & orange jalapeno cranberry sauce, SouthWestern corn souffle, mini apple spice & pumpkin cheesecakes, tartlettes with ginger cream & winter fruits ~ much more I mean so many option but those are favorites. Pumpkin Pie of course with freshly whipped vanilla/cinnamon cream.
BAKED STUFFED ACORN SQUASH (my own invention):
1 large acorn squash, halved & deseeded
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. unsalted butter (optional)
1 Tbsp. brown sugar (optional)
1 [5 oz.] pkg. Kashi 7 Whole Grain Pilaf (or 1 cup brown rice; or 1 cup mixed whole grains)
1 cube vegetable bullion or can of broth (vegetable or chicken)
½ cup raisins
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 small onion, diced
2 large cloves of garlic, chopped fine
¼ cup slivered almonds
¼ cup shredded carrot
¼ tsp. dry thyme
¼ tsp. dry sage
2 tsp. curry (sweet) (more or less to taste)
1 tsp. salt
Grated Locetelli or Parmesan (optional)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Brush squash with olive oil and bake squash halves cut side down for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile cook Kashi pilaf (or brown rice/mix) according to directions using vegetable bullion in place of water. Throw raisins in for the last 15 to 20 minutes to soften.
In a large sauté pan heat 1 Tbsp. olive oil. Sautee the onion & garlic until tender, approximately 5 minutes. Add shredded carrots, spices & almonds & continue to cook for approximately 10 minutes.
Combine the pilaf (or brown rice) with the onion mixture.
Turn the squash over and put a pat of butter and sprinkle the brown sugar inside the scooped out center (optional). Add the pilaf mixture & bake an additional 20 minutes covered with foil. Remove the foil and cook 10 more minutes. Sprinkle with the grated cheese (optional).
***** This recipe is a vegetarian main dish.
To make it a side dish, cut acorn squash into 1 inch squares after initial baking and place in a shallow baking dish. Top squash with filling, and continue to bake as directed.
Corn Pudding, my vegan stuffing & Sweet Potato Pie
Believe it or not, there's no star or main dish at the table, just sides. Yes, it's all about the side dishes and desserts (that's why I start the day with a local 10k race). Everything is homemade and either vegan or veg friendly, so if you want turkey, make plans elsewhere:) I look forward all year to my apple dumplings, cornbread stuffing, green bean and mushroom casserole,butternut squash bisque with cumin roasted pepitas and grilled apple chutney and cheese sandwich. Since the kitchen is my sanctuary, I go at it all alone... On tradition I'm hope the kids do not follow:)
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