Skip to content

Vegetarian Thanksgiving

November 28, 2012

Since I moved to the United States six years ago, this is the first Thanksgiving that we are celebrating at home. Being Canadian and Russian, this holiday just does not resonate with me much. So every year I turned the two holiday days into a vacation to flee the scene of old ladies fighting over the last bird in the supermarket and deal-hunters lining up at midnight in front of Best Buy. Hawaii was our home away from home on Thanksgiving. Fresh mahi-mahi with island rice makes for a fabulous turkey and mashed potato substitute. Instead, because of the move, this year we were celebrating with a couple of friends at our new home.

imageThanksgiving is a holiday all about food, with turkey being the main attraction. All TV commercials, restaurant ads and Hallmark cards showcase a beautifully roasted bird, so there is no debate it’s a Turkey day. Thus, pulling off a vegetarian Thanksgiving is quite tricky. Although turkey seems to get all the publicity, there is a full cast of other talented members whose performance is often underappreciated – the sides. When it comes to turkey, there is not much creativity involved. You pick a bird, stuff it, rub it with seasoning and roast it until the temperature is right. Some have tried deep frying it, but often those stories end up with and “That’s how we met our Fire Department Chief that year.” Sides, on the other hand, are where every cook can let their imagination run wild. There are tons of recipes to choose from. For vegetarians, the Thanksgiving meal is all about the sides (unless you can bear the taste of Tofurkey).

I started researching the menu options a week in advance. I wanted to incorporate many colorful in-season vegetables, so here is what I came up with.


Everything turned out very well (totally tooting my own horn here) based on the evidence presented during the meal. Exhibit 1 – everyone tried every dish and nobody spat anything out. Exhibit 2 – Eric, who until this day has never pictured having Thanksgiving without turkey, was stuffed at the end of the meal. Exhibit 3 – our guests were willing to take some leftovers with them.


Eric was disappointed our cranberry sauce was not in shape of a can (the Ocean Spray type he grew accustomed to since early age), but everyone else seemed to enjoy my homemade recipe that used brown sugar and orange juice.


Our main course was meatless, yet full of fall colors and flavors. We particular liked Jenny’s cheese garlicky pumpkin stuffing. Two hours later, after witnessing Redskins beat the Cowboys and the Patriots score three touchdowns in 52 seconds, we each enjoyed a slice of pumpkin cheesecake with tea.


Football, good company, filling meal – this is as traditional as you can get on Thanksgiving day.


[Jane Asks]: What’s your favorite? The bird, or the sides?

No comments yet

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: