Vegan Thanksgiving (Take 1)

Vegan Thanksgiving success!

No, really.  I know, I can hardly believe it either.  But everything I made was delicious!  And, I escaped with little to no ridicule about my vegan choices from my family members.  Okay, so I did basically have to cook my own Thanksgiving dinner, while my sister cooked for the rest of the family.  But, that isn’t really important.  Because the important part?  Delicious.  All of it.

The biggest question for me this Thanksgiving was what to use in place of turkey.  I haven’t eaten turkey in years, but each year it is a challenge to come up with the anchor dish for the Thanksgiving meal. This year, I treated the turkey substitute as less of an anchor and as more an equal player with the other dishes.  I chose Gardein Savory Stuffed Turk’y.  I have had a few of their products and really enjoyed them, so I bet the farm on their ability to make a meat substitute that wouldn’t disappoint.  The finished product may have looked more like a breaded potato than a piece of turkey, but it sure was tasty!  Crispy on the outside.  Juicy on the inside (with its own stuffing and cranberry built right in!).  And it came with gravy, creamy and spicy (I wish I could identify the spice… may have been rosemary, but could have been thyme or sage).  I loved it.

I had never made stuffing before, and I was a bit intimidated by the whole process.  But the recipe I chose from Savvy Vegetarian cooked up pretty darn easy.  I know for a fact that it had both sage and thyme in it, which gave it a rich, earthy taste.  In fact, it tasted like Thanksgiving to me.  After baking it, I found the stuffing moist but not really cohesive.  I could still see the individual bread cubes, as a matter of fact.  I think the gravy is what really made it come together.  The thick gravy, with little pieces of mushroom, coated the stuffing and the flavors played off each other perfectly.  Another win!

My family makes Sweet Potato Souffle every Thanksgiving.  You know the one:  candied sweet potatoes cooked in butter, mashed with marshmallows on top.  I totally dug it as a kid.  But even before the vegan bit came up, I thought that Sweet Potato Souffle might be a bit sweet for me.  Just a bit.  So, I seized the opportunity to go with a squash dish instead of the usual sweet potato.  I found a recipe for Acorn Squash with Fig, and it was divine!  I loved that the squash wasn’t sweet, but the candied fig & pecan filling was.  The only drawback was attempting to hack through an acorn squash at 6:30 a.m.  But, WAY after the fact, my sister mentioned that their are easier methods to getting into an acorn squash than just hacking away at it with the biggest knife you can find.  And, apparently, they do not involve a chainsaw, which was my next option.

String beans with toasted almond slivers made up the healthiest portion of the meal.  I can’t for the life of me figure out where I found the recipe.  But all it involves is fresh green beans, lightly steamed, a tablespoon of lemon juice, a teaspoon of olive oil and some toasted almond slivers.  Light and refreshing.  I think this is my new favorite way to consume a green bean.  Okay, no, I didn’t really have a favorite way before.  But now I might actually choose to eat more green beans… Another win!

My dessert arrived courtesy of my sister and her boyfriend, who live in Orlando.  They brought me a vegan pumpkin pie from Ethos Vegan Kitchen.  If you are ever in Orlando, please go check them out (Ethos, not my sister and her boyfriend).  I have only eaten there once, but from that experience, I expected pie excellence.  And they totally delivered.  The final win!

This was the best Vegan Thanksgiving ever!  I think this might be the best Thanksgiving I have had in years.  Such good food and a wonderful time with my family.   I am so grateful for all I have.  Happy Thanksgiving y’all!

 

 

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