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Thanksgiving Menu: Main Course

October 10, 2011

Vegetarian Thanksgivings often include lots of turkey substitutes like soy products or even ‘loaves’ (like lentil-walnut loaves), but I’m more than happy with a giant serving of stuffing. Last year, when Allen came for Thanksgiving, we told him we would be making stuffing and a few other things and, dismayed, he asked “but what’s the main course?!” This stuffing has enough interesting ingredients that it makes a wonderful main course, but what I ultimately like best about Thanksgiving is that I don’t think there has to be a centerpiece dish. I’m happy with a whole bunch of delicious parts.

Vegetarian Stuffing

1/2 loaf of bread (here I used homemade white bread because I love the way it crisps up)
1 yellow onion
2 celery stalks (I cleverly sent Hélène to go train the dog during this part so I could sneak in the extra one – she’s not a huge fan of celery but I really think it makes this dish)
2 cloves of garlic
1-2 carrots
1 apple
1-2 handfuls of cranberries
salt and pepper
2 tbsp butter, melted
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup stock
Optional: dried sage (approx 1/2 tsp)

Slice the bread into small cubes, 1/2 to 1 inch and let sit in a large bowl. Dice the onion and begin to sauté, then chop the celery and mince the garlic and add both of these to the onion. Cook until just starting to soften and brown, add salt and pepper and sage if you’re using it, then add chopped carrots. Cook for about a minute or two (the vegetables will soften more in the oven) then pour the mixture onto the bread cubes. Add chopped apple and the cranberries. Pour stock over the mixture, stirring as you pour so it coats the bread. You can add a little more stock if needed – don’t worry about this stuffing becoming too soggy.

Spread the mixture onto a shallow baking dish (for maximum crispiness) and pour melted butter and olive oil over the top. Bake at 400F for about 15-20 minutes until the top pieces of bread start to toast.

Yam “Tipsy”
This is a recipe that my step-mom always makes for Christmas, but I also love it for Thanksgiving and am more than happy to have it many times a year! It’s a nice alternative to mashed potatoes and gives a meal wonderful colour.

1-2 yams (mine was enormous so I just used one)
1/4 cup half and half
1/2 tsp nutmeg
splash of grand marnier, cointreau, or another liqueur (this is where the “tipsy” comes in!)

Chop the yams into cubes, then boil until just tender, the way you would with mashed potatoes. Blend the yams with the remaining ingredients, reserving a bit of nutmeg for sprinkling over top. Easy!

Thanksgiving Salad

1 head lettuce (I used green leaf here but would have loved red leaf or even spinach)
1 avocado, diced
1/2 apple, diced
1 handful cranberries
1/3 cup almonds with honey (see below)

Toss the almonds with 1 tsp olive oil and 1 tsp honey, salt and pepper, and chili flakes (optional). Toast in a pan or in the oven until crunchy. If you want to dress the salad before serving, add the almonds last, but if everyone is serving their own salad dressing, you can pour them over top of the salad.

Salad Dressing

Juice from 1/2 a lemon
1 glove garlic, zested
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp sugar or honey
1/2 tsp dijon mustard
Optional: finely chopped cilantro

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