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What Vegetarian dish to bring for Thanksgiving?

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So I am a semi-vegetarian (I don't eat meat/poultry/etc that's not pasture raised)...AND we've had the pleasure of being invited to a really lovely Thanksgiving. Informal, fun - everyone's bringing something. I know that Turkey will be the main feature - the host already shared his gf is bringing it, and he invited us to bring something.

My concern is that everything there will be made with the turkey drippings, or have bacon, or..or...or... so I was thinking I could make a vegetarian dish that could be a side, but also a main dish for me. I don't want to make a big fuss over myself, but I want to have something to eat!

Any thoughts? The gathering is right next door, so travel isn't an issue. Open to any ideas that are delicious, and ideally economical-

Thanks! :)

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  1. How about stuffing made with vegetable broth? You could also try making a butternut squash soup, whipped yams or some type of pasta salad.

    1. Eggplant parm? It would make a fine entree for you and a different side for your friends.

      1. For a (mostly non-veg) Thanksgiving I once made a nut loaf (at least you get protein). I seasoned it with typical stuffing seasonings (rosemary, thyme, marjoram) so it would taste "familiar". Went over well. Google it if you've never had it...

        But I like Saluti's idea of something with butternut squash. Yum!

        9 Replies
        1. re: bellywizard

          I love the ideas! Eggplant parm sounds god but a bit challenging for me-lol. I like the idea of stuffing and soup and nut loaf-but think I'm leaning between soup and stuffing. I usually make butternut squash soup with just squash and ginger. Any other ideas for gussieng it up? I've never actually made stuffing, bt I can't imagine its all that difficult?
          I suppose stuffing, soup, and salad is a nice meal :)

          1. re: lovessushi

            I made the following couscous salad by Giada De Laurentis recently and it was very good. I used 2 cups of Swanson vegetable broth and 2 cups of water in place of the 4 Cups of low-sodium chicken broth and only 1/2 tablespoon of chopped fresh rosemary instead of the 1 1/2 tablespoons called for in the recipe. It's pretty easy and very tasty. You should check it out.

            http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/gi...

            Oh - and I also used only about 1/4 tsp. of pepper in the dressing. You can always add more if you like but I found that was enough for my taste.

            1. re: Saluti

              Ooh - this looks delicious! Thank you - I am now planning to make this for us before Thanksgiving! There is a similar dish at our local pub, and I have been looking for a recipe like it!

            2. re: lovessushi

              Add some nuts to the stuffing, like pecans, and/or red lentils to the soup so you get some protein. I make stuffing by winging it. I toss cubes of stale bread, sauted celery, mushrooms, onions, garlic with some chestnuts. Pour some beaten egg and veggie broth over and bake. Delicious!

              1. re: lovessushi

                Ina gartens butternut squash soup s great. I like the recipe that has the Thai inspired toppings. At the party, serve the toppings separately so everyone can help themselves

                1. re: cheesecake17

                  I don't know anyone who wants "Thai inspired toppings" at Thanksgiving.

                  1. re: pikawicca

                    The toppings were nuts, coconut and something else. Not really Thai, but that's how the recipe was referred to.

                    1. re: pikawicca

                      No only do I love the idea of "Thai-inspired toppings" at Thanksgiving, but I celebrated Thanksgiving at a Korean restaurant.

                      : )

                      Ina's butternut squash soup sounds fantastic.

                2. re: bellywizard

                  Nut loaf is very popular in Britain, even just this weekend the Guardian newspaper had a lovely one - for Christmastime, obviously, and you will find many more at UK sites. You can include chestnuts too!

                  I have made some wonderful winter squash main dishes of late - here in Québec we don't celebrate (Canadian) Thanksgiving so much - perhaps it was seen as a "Protestant" holiday, I dunno? But squash is one of the Three Sisters, alongside corn and beans, the foundations of agriculture among Indigenous Northeastern North-American peoples. Either would be welcome.

                  Eggplant Parm is simple! What is the problem, unless, of course, you are attending a vegan supper?

                3. I love this tempeh wild mushroom fricasee, very fallish and delicious. The article it is from has many other options too.
                  http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/20...

                  1. I used to make a sweet potato cranberry quiche that was a good addition to a Thanksgiving meal. I no longer have the recipe but I see there are lots of variations out there to choose from.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: ElsieB

                      @magiesmom - I would definitely try that fricasse! It looks delicious! But not for Thanksgiving unfortunately...I believe two of the guests might keel over if I brought...gasp...tempeh...lol

                      That quiche sounds good - I'm googling that now-

                      These are all great ideas for every day too, not just Thanksgiving..and I'm always looking for veg things to make for dinner, so thank you!

                      1. re: lovessushi

                        the alsatian pear kugel is one of the best things I ever ate.

                        How about a wild rice, pecans and onion stuffed squash dish, a small hubbard squash looks gorgeous?

                        Or a butternut squash lasagna?

                    2. I'm running this recipe in my food column this week. It's a knockout.
                      Roasted Fennel Stuffed with White Beans and Chestnuts

                      4 large fennel bulbs
                      Salt and freshly ground black pepper
                      ½ cup olive oil, plus more for brushing
                      1 yellow onion, finely diced, peels and trimmings reserved for stock
                      3 cloves garlic, minced, peels and trimmings reserved for stock
                      10 crimini mushrooms, quartered, and stems reserved for stock
                      ½ cup fresh or frozen cranberries
                      1 cup cooked chestnuts, coarsely chopped to the size of the beans
                      1 teaspoon dried thyme
                      ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
                      ¾ cup dry white wine
                      1 cup cooked white beans
                      5 juniper berries
                      1 dried bay leaf
                      4 teaspoons unsalted butter

                      Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.

                      Cut off the fennel stems and carve out the core of the bulb: Draw a circle with a paring knife on the cut side of the bulb, no less than half an inch from the edge. Carve an “X” through the middle of the circle. Scrape out the remaining fennel with a melon baller and discard. Rub the fennel inside and out with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, salt, and pepper. Place the bulbs in a baking dish with a splash of water. Cover and roast until slightly tender, about 25 minutes.

                      Meanwhile, heat a saucepan over medium heat and add the remaining 7 tablespoons olive oil. Add the onion and cook until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, criminis, cranberries, chestnuts, thyme, cayenne, and beans. Add ¼ cup of the wine and ¼ cup water. Bring to a boil, then decrease the heat and simmer, covered, for 10 minutes. Remove the lid and simmer 10 minutes more. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

                      Decrease the oven heat to 425 degrees. Fill the fennel bulbs with the bean mixture, then brush the tops with olive oil. Spread the reserved onion, garlic, and mushroom scraps, the juniper berries, and bay leaf between the bulbs. Pour in the remaining
                      ½ cup wine and ¼ cup water and roast, uncovered, for 20 minutes. The tops of the fennel should be lightly browned. Transfer the fennel to a platter. Strain the roasting liquid into a bowl and whisk in the butter to make a sauce. To serve, pour the sauce over the fennel, and garnish each bulb with a fennel frond.

                      Adapted from “Lucid Food” by Louisa Shafia

                      1. What about, instead of traditional stuffing, a savory bread pudding instead? Would be great with wild mushrooms, or caramelized onions, or cheese, (mushroom and gruyere? yum!) or you could use cubed butternut squash and thanksgiving-y spices. There are so many flavor combos that would go well here. It could be more of a main course for you, but would be a great side dish as well.

                        1. This has become my holiday-meal fallback:

                          Saute some onion and fresh rosemary in olive oil; cube a [peeled & seeded] butternut squash and add to pan; pour in about 2 cups veggie broth and simmer until squash is tender; stir in a bunch of chopped kale until tender; add some cooked lentils, then some feta.

                          Great side dish, but substantial enough to satisfy non-carnivores.

                          3 Replies
                          1. re: azveggieguy

                            All sound wonderful - @lagatta - I don't know - eggplant parm just seems complicated -lol. I've never had fennel like that before. Sounds interesting. And a savory bread pudding? I thin that would be a huge hit. Do you have any recipies you like?
                            @az I love that fallback - that could be a regular main dish for us!

                            1. re: lovessushi

                              Here are two recipes from smitten kitchen, one with leeks and the other is a spinach and cheese strata (same idea).
                              http://smittenkitchen.com/blog/2010/0...
                              http://smittenkitchen.com/blog/2009/1...

                              There is also this fantastic wild mushroom bread pudding from Gourmet:
                              http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...

                              Any of these recipes can be adjusted for what ingredients you have on hand, as long as you use the same basic ratios. Your imagination is the limit here. Hope these work for you! :o)

                              1. re: ReeseRoo81

                                Thank you! They all look really good, but that mushroom one looks incredible!

                          2. I make a faro dish that is essentially fried rice but uses faro instead. Add the vegetables you like. If you are cooking for vegans omit any meat or egg and add cubes of baked firm tofu.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: lucyis

                              I love faro - great weeknight meal as well, but I find it's super expensive everywhere I seem to find it....but definitely as a holiday meal it would be nice :)