Although I don’t eat much meat, I am not a vegetarian. And nobody in my family is a vegetarian. Yet, this year we decided to have a vegetarian Thanksgiving meal. There was a very appealing array of vegetarian recipes in November’s issue of Sunset Magazine: Sweet Potato Gnocchi with Mushrooms and Spinach; Flaky Feta Tart; Arugula, Fennel, and Preserved Lemon salad; Balsamic-Glazed Cipollini and Red Pearl Onions. We made all these recipes, and they were fabulous!
The sweet potato gnocchi was a big hit – I am definitely going to make it again. The balsamic onions were sweet and wintery, which contrasted very well with the bright arugula and fennel salad. The feta tart, which my aunt flavored with lemon zest instead of herbs, was like a light dessert.
We also roasted a whole big stalk of Brussels sprouts that my mom grew in her garden. The stalk was so big (~4ft) that we couldn’t even fit the whole thing in the oven! We had to cut it down to size, but not before I took a photo:
By roasting the Brussels sprouts on the stalk, instead of cutting them off beforehand, we got to carve off the sprouts at the table. Not quite the same as carving a turkey, but we all agreed that we didn’t really miss the usual Thanksgiving fare. And it was nice to not feel weighed down and overstuffed after the meal – at least, before we got to the pies. We had a wild blackberry pie and a pumpkin pie. After having some of each, I felt quite full indeed.
Having a vegetarian Thanksgiving didn’t feel like a sacrifice at all. Personally, I think turkey is overrated. To those who agree, I say: free yourself! Having a new and non-traditional menu was a lot of fun, and this particular theme was environmentally friendly to boot.