Thanksgiving was hosted at my house this year. I started planning the menu a few weeks ago by scouring Pinterest for ideas. Vegetarian sides are always easy to find and make, but a hearty main dish that would satisfy everyone took a little more work. However, just a few hours of "window shopping" gave me the inspiration I needed to come up with a delicious menu. With the help of my sous chefs (mom & sister), we finished cooking everything in just a few hours.
I'll post pics and the approximate recipe. I prefer the Iron Chef style of cooking where I just wing it, sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. Almost everything was pretty successful and yummy. I'm just going to leave out the unsuccessful stuff.
Side: Roasted Butternut Squash, Brussel Sprouts, and Dried Cranberry Salad
This is super easy to make. You'll need:
1 butternut squash
30 brussel sprouts
1/2 cup of dried cranberries
5-6 cloves of garlic
dried rosemary, sage, salt & pepper to taste
This was enough for about 8 people
First, wash and cut all the brussel sprouts in half. Salt and pepper then and toss them in a hot pan with oil and half of the garlic cloves whole. Let them brown and then put them in the oven to finish cooking.
Next, peel and cube the squash. Toss them with olive oil, rosemary, sage, salt and pepper and put them in a roasting pan in the oven until cooked through.
When you're almost ready to serve, toss the brussel sprouts with the butternut squash and dried cranberries and serve.
Bonus: Toss in toasted pecans to add some crunchy texture. I had to avoid it because my brother-in-law is allergic to nuts
Side: Roasted Beets over Arugula sprinkled with Goat Cheese, Dried Cranberries, and Pomegranate Seeds
3 medium size beets
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup pomegranate seeds
1/2 cup goat cheese
8-10 cups of arugula (one of those larger size containers)
dried rosemary, salt, pepper
Made enough for about 6 people
Wash and peel the beets and cut them into wedges (8 wedges/beet). Toss them with olive oil, rosemary, salt, pepper and throw it in the oven until they are cooked through. Then toss everything together. I dressed it with a simple balsamic and olive oil vinaigrette.
Side: Lemon Garlic String Beans with sliced Almonds
60 string beans
1/4 cup sliced almonds
1/8 cup sliced garlic
salt & pepper
Served about 6 people
Clean and cut the string bean ends off. Saute them in a pan with olive oil, salt and peppered. When they are almost done, toss in the garlic slices and almond slices and the juice of 1 lemon. Finish cooking and serve with a lemon wedge. I like them tart, so I always squeeze more lemon over them.
Main Dish 1: Cauliflower Steaks
I've never made these, but seen it several times on tv and pinterest. This was really damn tasty for cauliflower. I'm generally not a huge fan of cauliflower and don't believe the hype about cauliflower, but maybe there is something to it.
1 head of cauliflower
1 quart of vegetable broth
1/4 minced garlic
rosemary, sage, salt, pepper
Served about 4 people, but had enough leftover to make cauliflower mash.
So I had some issues getting the "steaks" cut. I tried to slice the entire head of cauliflower into about 1 inch slices, but most of them fell apart. I only got one good slice, but even a few pieces fell out of it. There must be some magic to selecting a cauliflower head that won't fall apart when slice. I ended up having smaller slices (about 3-4 inch circles) that I used for the "steaks" while using the rest to make the cauliflower mash. Several folks in my family are diabetic, so I needed to watch the carbs.
If anyone knows how to pick out cauliflower heads that won't fall apart, let me know.
I dropped the "steaks" into a marinade of the vegetable broth, garlic, rosemary, sage, salt, pepper. I let the cauliflower sit in warmed broth for about an hour to help it soak in and cook the cauliflower a bit. Then I pulled them out and browned them in a pan with some olive oil. They then went in the oven to finish cooking and dry out a bit.
Save the cooking broth. You'll need that for the stuffing, later.
This had such a great savory flavor. I think it was charring the outside that really made them super yummy. I'll definitely be making this again.
Main Dish 2: Stuffed Acorn Squash
This super hearty main dish turned out sooo good, it's now going to be my go-to vegan entree. Everyone loved it and there was plenty of additional stuffing leftover for a seconds.
3 acorn squashes
1 cup wild rice
1 cup celery
1 cup sweet onion
1 cup carrots
sage, salt, pepper
Severs 6 with lots of leftover stuffing
Start by dumping the rice into the broth for the cauliflower steaks (vegetable broth, garlic, rosemary, sage, salt, pepper). The rice took forever to cook, I ended up having to dump more water in it towards the end because it still wasn't finished cooking. For an Indian, I suck at cooking rice.
Next, half the squash and scoop out the seeds. Sprinkle with salt pepper and drizzle with olive oil. Put them on a roasting pan, cut side down to brown and start cooking the squash.
While the rice and squash is going, saute the carrots, celery, onions until they are just softened, but not super soft. Sprinkle with sage, salt, pepper to taste. I like them to still have some texture.
When the rice is ready, toss in the veggies, some dried cranberries and chopped uncooked apple. Stuff the squash with as much rice stuffing as you can get in there and then throw it back in the oven until everything is cooked and warmed through.
We also made cornbread (just followed box directions, but used a can of creamed corn instead of eggs) and mashed cauliflower (roasted in the oven and mashed with some sour cream and milk, then mashed with the immersion blender). Here's my finished plate. I was so full, I didn't even make it to dessert, which ended up being a failed experiment anyway. I was trying to make those baked apple rosettes that are so popular on pinterest.