Thanksgiving for vegetarians

Thanksgiving, whether observed among vegetarians or non-vegetarians, is an annual opportunity for friends and family to come together and celebrate the holiday.  What was once a feast of in the early days of the American colonies has become a season for sharing
and giving thanks for one’s blessings.  Throughout the United States, dinner tables overflow with food that has become traditional fare for the season.

Think Thanksgiving and images of a giant roast stuffed turkey replete with sidings comes to mind not to mention cranberry sauce, buttered yams and pumpkin pie.  Needless to say, the star of the feast is the turkey carved by the head of the family and shared. No
time of year could probably be as challenging for vegetarians if they come home to a family of carnivores.

With a little resourcefulness and a lot of creativity, a festive Thanksgiving feast can be prepared that is devoid of turkey and any other meat product.  Try out recipes from warm casseroles, stuffed autumn vegetables to wild rice dishes.  Try out a vegan tourtiere as your centrepiece. The result could very well be a fantastic spread guaranteed to impress even the meat eaters.

The Thanksgiving inspiration for these items come from the play of ingredients and the use of the autumn season’s flavors and spices,  Cranberries, chestnuts, squash, wild rice, apples, aromatic herbs, sweet and savory spices all contribute to the overall flavor profile of
the dishes in the menu so you don’t even realise that there’s no turkey at all!

For those who still want the semblance of a bird, there’s vegemeat or texturised vegetable protein which a lot of manufacturers are able to mimic specific meats and meat cuts.  Prepare it the same was as your favourite meat and flavor it with appropriate herbs
and spices and serve with festive side dishes.

Tourtiere is a festive dish usually composed of finely diced port, veal and beef with the addition of wild game to enhance the taste. It originated from Quebec in Canada but is served in the United States as well, with modifications in the main ingredient: fish in coastal
areas or game in regions inland. We provide a lighter but still satisfying vegan version with beans, potatoes, carrots, mushrooms and chestnuts.  The last ingredient provides the Thanksgiving feel to the dish as well as the use of ground cloves.

One of the recipes shared by Jertie’s Kitchen duo Jertie and Jaq Abergas couple years ago was their “neatloaf” which is like it’s carniverous counterpart but minus any meat.  Instead, protein-rich lentils were used and made rich and savoury with a variety of herbs and spices.