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A Very Vegetarian Thanksgiving

Having spent 22 Thanksgivings with my family, I’ve seen my fair share of crowded dinner tables, overstuffed tummies and packed fridges. This year will be no exception. As promised, the array of dishes that my mom and I made for Thursday’s feast is so vast, turkey simply will not be missed. We planned a menu with something for everyone (and too much for any one person) to eat. Below, I’ve outlined every step of our process, complete with shopping lists, directions, and substitutions for those with allergies or dislikes. I hope this comes intime for your prep, and as always, I’d love any and all feedback on recipes, readability, etc. Happy shopping, cooking, and eating!


Squash Stuffed With Red Quinoa, Pears and Cranberries

  • 1 red onion
  • 2 firm pears, any kind will do
  • 1 stalk celery
  • ¼ cup pecans
  • 1 bunch fresh thyme
  • 1 small container apple juice (total ½ cup)
  • 1 small container vegetable broth (total 2 cups)
  • 4 delicata squash, depending on size, or substitute butternut squash
  • 1 box red quinoa; can substitute regular quinoa or wild rice

Jalapeno-Fruit Chutney

  • 2 jalapeno chilies
  • 1 package dried apricots
  • 1 package cranberries
  • small package crystallized ginger (total 1 Tbsp)
  • white and brown sugar (total ½ cup of each)
  • cloves, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg – whichever you have

Cornbread Broccoli Rabe Strata

Note: we made half a recipe, in a square pan; we’re guessing people will love this, but they’ll only take one helping. It’s pretty rich!

  • olive oil
  • 1 head garlic (you’ll only need 1 clove for this)
  • crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 lb. broccoli rabe, or rapini — those big leaves with what look like little broccoli florets
  • 1 red pepper
  • 1 small container kalamata olives (total ¼ cup)
  • 1 quart whole milk
  • 8 eggs
  • whatever you need to make cornbread – we do from scratch, but there are easy mixes out there as well
  • 1 container ricotta cheese OR farmer cheese (we did farmer cheese, and prefer it)
  • 1 block gruyere cheese (6 oz. total)

Mushroom Soup

  • 1 ½ lbs. mushrooms of any kind (we used a mix of white, baby bella, cremini, chanterelles and shitake. If you’re on a budget, use baby bella and cremini, which run much cheaper than chanterelles and shiitake.)
  • 8 cups of broth (we bought two cartons of no-chicken broth, which was perfect)
  • 5 shallots
  • 2 cloves of garlic (one head of garlic will suffice for all the recipes we made)

Squash Stuffed With Red Quinoa, Pears and Cranberries
Quinoa adapted from “Cranberry Pear Wild Rice Stuffing” by Nava Atlas, chutney adapted from this recipe in delicious living magazine
Serves 8-12.

Red Quinoa:

    • 2 cups vegetable broth or no-chicken broth
    • 1 box red quinoa (approximately 2 cups)
    • 1 red onion, diced small
    • 1 celery stalk, diced small
    • 2 medium firm pears, cored and diced
    • ½ cup dried cranberries
    • ¼ cup finely chopped pecans or walnuts
    • 1 tsp. fresh thyme (can substitute ½ tsp. dried thyme)
    • ½ cup apple or pear juice
    • 4 delicata squash, or substitute butternut

Fruit Chutney:

    • 1 cup dried apricots
    • 1 ½ cups water
    • ½ tsp cinnamon
    • 1 Tbsp. crystallized ginger, chopped
    • ¼ tsp. cloves
    • ¼ tsp. allspice
    • 1 package cranberries
    • 2 jalapeno peppers

For the Quinoa:

  1. Bring the broth to a simmer in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the quinoa and cook according to the directions on the package. (We cooked ours over medium heat for ten or so minutes, then turned off the heat and let it steam the rest of the way.)
  2. Once the heat has been turned off, add the diced pears and cover the pot, allowing them to par-cook with the quinoa.
  3. Meanwhile, sauté onion and celery in a couple Tbsp of olive oil over medium heat, until soft and translucent. Add thyme, and continue to sauté. (Here’s the truth: we let the onion and celery go on a bit too long, and it got a bit charred…and delicious. I highly recommend charring the onion and celery!)
  4. Add the cranberries, onion/celery/thyme, pecans and apple juice to the cooked quinoa, and toss. If needed, add salt and pepper.

For the Squash:

  1. Slice squash lengthwise, and remove seeds. (If you save them, you can prepare them this way.)
  2. Roast squash, upside down, in a pyrex with an inch of water in the bottom. For delicate, 30 minutes is plenty; butternut need about an hour. Remove squash from the oven when you can easily pierce their flesh with a fork.
  3. Fill the crevices of the squash with the red quinoa filling.

For the Fruit Chutney:

  1. Bring 1 ½ cups water to a boil and pour it over the apricots in a small bowl. Leave for ten minutes; this will reconstitute the apricots. Keep the liquid when done!
  2. Meanwhile, roast the jalapeno peppers under the broiler until the skin blackens and develops blisters, 10-15 minutes. (If you have a gas stove, you can char them over an open flame much more quickly.) Remove them from the oven and insert them into a brown paper bag. Allow them to steam in the bag for 5 minutes, then remove them and slide their skins off under running water. Chop them into a fine dice; they should total about 2 Tbsp.
  3. Into a pot on medium heat, add apricots, jalapeno, cranberries, crystallized ginger, spices and the leftover liquid from the apricots plus enough extra water to total 1 ¼ cups. Allow all of the ingredients to simmer until cranberries start to pop and the mixture gels, about 15 minutes. Remove from the heat, and allow the chutney to set.
  4. Top squash and quinoa with a dollop of the chutney, and serve some alongside as well.

Alternative recipe:
Add chickpeas to the quinoa, and mix in some salsa with the fruit chutney for a more savory topping.

Mushroom Soup
Adapted from this recipe on Epicurious

  • 1 ½ lbs. assorted mushrooms
  • 5 shallots, diced
  • 5 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 3 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 6 cups broth
  • salt and pepper as needed

  1. Rinse or wipe mushrooms clean, then pat dry; chop roughly into two or three pieces each. Save two or three mushrooms, which you can later chop and use as a garnish.
  2. Sauté shallots and garlic in olive oil until soft and translucent.
  3. Add mushrooms and sauté over medium-low heat until mushrooms start to emit liquid, about 10 minutes.
  4. Add half the broth, and allow to simmer for 15 minutes.
  5. Remove mushrooms and shallot pieces with a slotted spoon and put into a food processor. Puree them with 1 cup of broth until smooth. Return to the pot, add the rest of the broth, and simmer 15 more minutes. Remove from heat.
  6. Serve warm, with mushroom garnish.

We also made:

  • pumpkin bread
  • pumpkin pie (my mom did this before I arrived, but I imagine her recipe is pretty standard)
  • pumpkin cheese cake (I’ll be getting this recipe soon!)

We will also be making:

  • cornbread broccoli rabe strata (recipe from the New York Times; we’re making half a recipe, and baking it in a square pan.)
  • sweet potatoes two ways: with marshmallows, and with lime syrup
  • a greek salad
  • cranberry-etrog sauce
  • apple-cranberry pie
  • pecan pie

If I’m forgetting anything, it’s hard to tell. See why it’s so hard to miss turkey with this thanksgiving feast?

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