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Nov 18, 2013 10:26 PM

Your best vegetarian/vegan main Thanksgiving dish?

I know we have sides covered in the other thread.

Main courses are always a struggle for me, especially on holidays when the grazin' is good. I love side dishes and frankly when I spend Thanksgiving by myself that's what I make for dinner: a relish tray (olives (to go with the martini), stuffed celery,carrots), stuffing, mushroom gravy, peas, and a salad. Not very protein dense and very high carb.

I've never done a Tofurkey - they freak me out a little. I have made a nut loaf or two.

Though *I* am looking for more protein dense main dishes, I hope you all will share anything you serve as a vegetarian/vegan main Thanksgiving dish. Thanks!

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  1. I tried a Tofurkey recipe once and wasn't a fan of it or at least that version. I like nut loaf, personally. Not necessarily protein rich but what about mushroom bourguignon?

    1. I've been making my own version of Shakshouka recently which could work as a nice entrée with some appropriate modifications, especially if served over some real wild rice.

      My version of Shakshouka is technically a cross between a piperade and Shakshouka. Most recipes for Shakshouka only call for a spicy seasoned tomato bath for poached eggs, but I love the addition of onions and peppers.

      I sauté two medium onions (diced) over low heat for about 15-20 minutes. (This produces an onion that has a little bit of caramelization but isn't really sweet.) Also sauté two red/orange/yellow bell peppers cut into strips. (I don't like green peppers so that's why I avoid them.) Set sautéed vegetables aside.

      Pour the contents -- juice and all -- of a San Marzo (28 ounce) can of whole tomatoes into a large flat sauté pan. Break up the tomatoes with your hand.

      The original recipe calls for diced fresh chile peppers of your choice for desired heat. I substitute Sriracha sauce for convenience. I use two gently rounded teaspoons of Sriracha for a result that has a mild burn at the end of each bite. I've also experimented with some smoked Spanish paprika and somewhat less Sriracha combined. Whatever you choose to bring heat to the dish, add it to the tomato pan. Bring the tomato to a boil, continuing to mash the pulp until it is a thick, reasonably homogenous paste. Simmer 5-7 minutes.

      Add the sautéed onions and peppers. Continue to simmer 12-15 minutes. Add salt and pepper if desired.

      At this point in the preparation, the actual recipe calls for cracking ROOM TEMPERATURE eggs onto the top of the shakshouka mixture and cooking for 5-7 additional minutes covered.

      To serve, scoop out an egg topped with a portion of the tomato-pepper mixture. Separately pass a bowl of crumbled feta cheese so each guest can sprinkle some over his/her portion. Omitting the egg and/or the cheese could adjust this for vegetarians and vegans.

      To make this more entrée-like, spoon some of the delicious vegetable glop over real wild rice. (Incidentally, I get my wild rice from Native Harvest a mail order Native American company in MN.)

      The tomato-pepper-onion sauce can easily be prepared in advance. I've even read that some folks prepare large batches of the sauce and freeze meal-sized portions of this.

      1. The following recipe is less explicitly Thanksgiving-ish, but it sure is protein dense. I served this when my son's former girlfriend, a vegetarian, came to dinner.

        Moroccan Vegetable and Chickpea Stew (paraphrased)

        2 T. extra virgin olive oil
        2 c. chopped onions
        3 cloves garlic, minced
        1 carrot, cut into 1/2 inch half-moons
        1/2 head cauliflower, cut into florets
        1 large or 2 small sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
        1 medium eggplant, peeled and cubed (about 3 cups)
        1 t. turmeric
        1 t. coriander
        1/2 t. salt
        1/4 t. cayenne pepper
        1 t. paprika
        pinch cinnamon
        1 15-oz. can diced tomatoes, undrained
        1/2 cup raisins
        2 c. vegetable broth
        2 cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
        1/2 c. slivered almonds, toasted
        Harissa, purchased or homemade (See note)
        Whole wheat couscous

        Heat the oil in a Dutch oven. Add the onions and saute for 5 minutes. Add garlic and spices; cook for 2 minutes more. Add all of the vegetables and stir to coat with the spices. Add tomatoes, raisins, broth and chickpeas. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes, partially covered. Add a bit of extra broth if the stew gets too dry.

        Serve the stew on whole wheat couscous, topped with the toasted almonds and a dab of harissa.

        Note: I didn't add the salt included in the recipe list. I bought some Harissa at Wegmans (Mediterranean Gourmet brand) which was too salty for my taste but might be useful if you omit the salt in the recipe.

        My favorite store-bought Harissa brand is Cava, a local brand in the Washington DC area. This is carried by the Balducci's stores in the DC area but may be carried by other more far flung Balducci locations.

        There are plenty of harissa recipes on the web.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Indy 67

          I made this a couple of Thanksgivings ago, piled into a pumpkin shell I had pre-baked (then baked it all together for a bit)--very nice and festive

          (Note of explanation: The pumpkin doesn't get soft enough if you try to cook it with the stew in it>)

          1. re: Indy 67

            This sounds like a good recipe! Thanks for sharing!

          2. Butternut squash lasagna is always a hit with veg and omnis alike!

            1. NEATLOAF!

              Here is the same recipe I've always found when I need it (posted various places)

              Don't be fooled, though - texture changes dramatically if you sub cornflakes for Special K.

              1 Reply
              1. re: alegramarcel

                I had not made a cottage cheese loaf in a very long time (15 years maybe?), so that's what I made for my Thanksgiving. Now that I've made the "traditional" SDA loaf with Special K I have a lot of ideas on how to remake this without so much sweetened cereal.

                Next go round I'll use lentils, oatmeal, ground flax, TJ's mushroom soup and just a touch of Special K. I think this will be my Christmas dinner.

                Thanks for all the great ideas, everyone!