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Thanksgiving 2020

It’s been awhile – I just wanted to pop on here and wish you a very happy Thanksgiving, however  you’re celebrating this year. Maybe you’re taking the year off — I think it is completely warranted! Ordering in, making some favorite comfort food, or eating leftovers or bread and good cheese and wine ..? Or maybe you’re doing the whole dinner, albeit for a smaller group — as someone who has cooked Thanksgiving for my household for many years, often without any guests, I can say there is something very sweet about keeping it small and simple. No set dinner time, no stress … it is a beautiful thing.

I wanted to share a recipe for vegetarian gravy, along with a few other of my favorites. I’m not cooking a huge meal tomorrow, but if I were, and if I were cooking for a crowd, I’d start with

Sweet potato biscuits
Butternut squash soup

Then move to

Sea salted and lemon-juiced roast turkey
Garlicky white bean stir-fry with lots of spinach, salt and dried oregano
Mashed potatoes
Roasted sweet potatoes
Kale salad with mustard dressing
Sauteed carrots and zucchini

And finish with

Maple pumpkin pie
Chocolate-pumpkin cake

For the gluten-free set, if you want to branch out beyond pumpkin, try this delicate and delectable flourless apple tart. A chocolate cream pie might not be refused if it graces your desserts sideboard. There’s also a pretty, crustless cheesecake with lemon curd, or baked maple apples, or an Indian pudding, or a fall fruit crisp from my cookbook that might appeal if you’re looking for something a bit less traditional but still fall-appropriate.

To whet your appetite and get the wheels of inspiration turning, a few posts on Vegetarian Thanksgivings past:

Appetizers: sweet potato dip and cranberry margaritas for the gluten-free set, plus sweet potato biscuits and phyllo-vegetable parcels for those who can partake.

Vegetable accompaniments: potage Jacqueline (sweet potato soup), pumpkin-leek soup, vegan cornbread (swap one cup brown rice flour for the AP flour in the recipe), potato and celery root mash …

Main dishes: If you need to, substitute two tablespoons brown rice flour for the all-purpose in the gratin recipe and you’ll be good to go.

If you are still looking for vegetarian, vegan, or just in general plant-based suggestions to add to you menu tomorrow, check out some articles I’ve written over the years. This site also has extensive suggestions and recipes for a plant-based Thanksgiving as well as some lighter options. Search for “Thanksgiving” or click this link.

Planted-based Thanksgiving dishes, the Press Democrat: Easy Thanksgiving Side Dishes that will Delight Traditionalists and Vegans, 2018

Vegetarian Thanksgiving, NPR: A Vegetarian Thanksgiving, 2008

Healthier Thanksgiving, NPR: Thanksgiving with a Lighter Touch, 2010

My gluten-free Thanksgiving e-book: Gather, Recipes for a Gluten-Free Thanksgiving, 2015

Now, to talk vegetarian gravy …. This is a very simple savory gravy that is sure to please all at the table. I usually make my gravy with olive oil but tried butter instead this year; it makes for a mellower, more traditional gravy taste. I like to add a bit of soy or tamari sauce but you could leave it out. It tastes, of course, terrific on piles of fluffy mashed potatoes and any other dish on the table.

Wishing you a lovely holiday, however you celebrate.


Vegetarian Gravy

To make vegan, you could use olive oil – I usually make this recipe with olive oil and it is equally delicious.

Makes about 2 cups.

5 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup finely diced yellow onion
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups vegetable broth
1 tablespoon soy or tamari
Salt and pepper to taste

In a large heavy bottom saucepan, melt the butter over low heat. Add the onions and cook for about 10 minutes until they are translucent and soft. Stir in the flour and cook, stirring, for about 3 minutes, until the roux thickens. Pour in the vegetable broth; stir to combine. Stir in the soy or tamari, salt and pepper to taste. I like a LOT of freshly ground pepper. May be made in advance and heated to serve; you may need to thin a bit with water or broth. [/print_this]

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