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Vegan Planet: Thanksgiving Main Dish Ideas

Sunday, November 20, 2011


Thanksgiving Main Dish Ideas

We'll be enjoying our traditional seitan roast on Thanksgiving, but it's the vegetables that are the real stars in our house.  I love the way the vibrantly colored sweet potatoes, cranberries, squash, and green beans look like an autumn landscape on my holiday table.  Truth is, I'm happiest when I can make a meal out of what are commonly referred to as "side" dishes.

Still, a main dish "centerpiece" is a Thanksgiving tradition for most of us. If you've never make a seitan roast, it's easier than you think.  If making a large roast is intimidating, you could opt for individual servings of seitan en croute, an especially good choice if you're only feeding one or two people and you don't like leftovers. Personally, I adore leftovers and the opportunities they present. (Stay tuned for some exciting post-Thanksgiving posts to see what I mean.)

There are lots of vegan roasts you can buy that are already prepared, such as the ones from Field Roast and Tofurky.  Another idea is to make a large stuffed squash (or several small individual stuffed squashes) that can be filled with grain or bread stuffing, depending on what you like.  Stuffed squash is a great choice because it's colorful and delicious but can also be made gluten-free and soy-free.  For something different, consider making a Moroccan bisteeya (a pastry covered savory pie), a lentil shepherd's pie (maybe topped with half mashed white potatoes and half mashed sweet potatoes), or even a nice pan of lasagna.

For an easy no-fuss one-dish meal, you could make my Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Crispy Kale Ribbons  -- with or without the addition of the walnuts and dried cranberries -- and to it, add some sauteed sliced sausage links (homemade or storebought such as Tofurky brand) for extra protein, or instead of sausage, add some cooked cannelini beans. You could also substitute diced butternut squash for the sweet potatoes, if you prefer. The colors and textures are wonderful together and if you season it with a little ground sage and thyme, it will taste like Thanksgiving. I especially like the crispy kale ribbons in this -- it's a fun way to employ the popular kale chip concept as part of the meal.  And if you've never had roasted sweet potatoes before, you're in for a treat.

The countdown to Thanksgiving is getting down to the wire.  Still to come on my blog: a new take on cranberry sauce, an easy and delicious gravy, and another main dish idea. And for more ideas, check out my entire Thanksgiving menu (with recipes) on as well as the Thanksgiving and Christmas menus (and recipes) in my book, Party Vegan.

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Thank you for the ideas! This will be my first Thanksgiving as a vegan and your blog has been helpful. :)
We tend to throw out the tradition, and instead do a themed feast. We've done Asian theme, Italian theme, and this year will be a middle-eastern theme.

It helps avoid the inevitable "tofurkey" comments.
This meal looks fantastic. The colors are making it so sexy. Thank you very much for the recipe. I hope I will have success.
And I do agree with Scott that it is better to avoid Thanksgiving.
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