Veg for Thanksgiving


Thanksgiving is the holiday that every vegetarian and vegan dreads most. I'll give some of my observations and advice from the last two years. But mostly, I'll give you some recipes! 

Now, I've yet to go the tofurkey route though that joke has come up both times. I love squash so that's my seasonal fare I like to play with for the holiday. However, there are other options, too. Think of your favorite Thanksgiving dish and roll it out, veg-style! 

For the two Thanksgivings I have been vegetarian, I have had two very different holidays. Last year, my family and I went to a close family friend's Thanksgiving for a large, loud and traditional celebration. This year, I stayed in Chicago and had Thanksgiving with my cat in my pajamas. Some would say that's depressing, but honestly, sleeping in was the best holiday gift I could get. 

Last year, I felt a little on the spot being the only vegetarian on the premise and didn't like being so singled out at times. Now, I realize that "turkey day" is just the perfect opportunity for people to question other's eating habits. More often than not, people are supportive but occasionally people are not and try to call you out. Well, then you just have to give the facts as you know them. And remind them that it is a personal choice that has nothing to do with them. Tactfully and civilly. 

Usually it helps if you bring food to share. People love food. 

Last year I made butternut squash stuffed shells with a white sauce and a pear and apple pie. They were quite the hit! Unfortunately, I can't find the recipe I originally used. But I know the stuffed shells were based off a Martha Stewart recipe, but I tweaked it. 

This year for my party of one I made acorn squash and black bean soup, which I ate with sourdough. And finished my meal with apple crisp. I am madly, madly in love with this soup. I will be making it again, to be sure. 

This year, I also made everything vegan so, that too was fun. 


Photo courtesy of Smitten Kitchen

 

Black Bean and Squash Soup
1 medium-sized acorn squash (you could use a butternut squash or pumpkin too!)
about 1 c. of Tempah brand "bacon", cut up into smallish pieces
2 T. or so unsalted maragarine
1 small yellow onion, diced
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 1/2 T. cumin salt and pepper
1 large can of black beans (or 3 14-ounce cans), drained and rinsed
1 14-ounce can of chopped tomatoes
4 c. vegetable broth
1/2 c. or so sherry cooking wine 


Start by cooking your squash in the oven at 375 degrees. Put in a pan halves without the seeds in an inch or two of standing water for about 50 minutes or until soft. 

Once squash is baked, set aside to cool. Begin by cutting up the bacon and cooking it in the soup pot over medium heat. Cook those until they're as crispy as you want them. I let mine cook for about 7 minutes. Carefully remove the "bacon". 

Add the margarine and melt it, you may need to cool down the stove a bit, because it can get crazy otherwise! Once margarine is melted, add onions and garlic. Once onions have started to brown and get soft, say 5 or so minutes, add the cumin and salt and pepper to taste. Stir that delicious smell up!

I used a blender for these next parts: Blend beans and tomatoes into a puree, don't worry about them becoming liquid, a bit of texture is good in soups. Stir that into the onions. Turn down the heat a bit. Now for the squash! Scoop the squash into the blender, mix that into a lovely puree as well. I had to add my cooking wine into the blender to get it to work, so that's okay too. Add the squash, the veg. broth, 'bacon' and the cooking wine. Mix that all together and let simmer for 30 minutes. 

The smell of your apartment alone is worth it. Then, dig in! Nom. 

This recipe is tweaked from one in
Gourmet in 1996

I don't know about you, but I could eat soup everyday of the colder months and it's looking like that may just happen. Next soup on the docket?
This tortilla soup with tons of veggies. Yum.

So, send me your soup recipes! Oh, and things that you're thankful for, I'd love to hear all about them. Maybe even soup recipes you're thankful for. 


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