Call me crazy, but I am just not a fan of mashed potatoes. No gravy can save the taste and texture of perfectly smooth potatoes. Ew.
I guess that explains why I tried something a little different this year and went the “smashed” route. This also marks the first time I’ve ever used the broiler in my oven and I’ve gotta say, I’m kind of impressed.
Anyway, as I mentioned yesterday, these were part of my Thanksgiving menu this year and they were quite yummy. I do think they could have used just a few more minutes boiling and/or should have been slightly smaller potatoes to begin with, but they were definitely a tasty and complementary addition to the meal.
Last year I started a new tradition of inviting whichever side of the family Andy and I will not be spending the Thanksgiving holiday with over to our house on the Sunday before for a Thanksgiving meal. Last year was also the first year I was vegan for Thanksgiving so it was the first time I had made an entire vegan holiday spread as well. With a ‘lil help from Skinny Bitch, Kim Barnouin, the whole thing ended up being a smash hit and I was thrilled to host my family yesterday for a repeat performance.
I didn’t switch up much from last year’s menu as I really like to keep Thanksgiving “traditional,” so to speak. Once again, everything turned out great and the few new additions were excellent!
Aside from just enjoying their company, I really, really love to have the opportunity to cook for my family, especially since none of them are vegan. Not only is it wonderful just to be in their presence, it’s a pretty great chance to showcase how delicious and “normal” vegan food can be. In any case, both last year and this year, I’m pretty fortunate to have a family that is very supportive and open-minded, so thanks to all for being such good sports!
As an added bonus, cooking this pre-holiday meal also turns out to be fantastic for me personally because it supplies me with a whole mess of leftovers to take to actual Thanksgiving, where there are little to no vegan options available. Score!
If you’re in the midst of trying to plan a vegan Thanksgiving menu of your own, below is what I served, which might be useful as a reference. I plan to post several of these recipes over the next few days and into next week, but if you’d like to have something in particular from this list before that, please just send me an email and I’ll shoot the recipe right over.
This is a recipe from the “Superhero” (aka: macrobiotic) section of Alicia Silverstone’s awesome book, The Kind Diet. As Alicia notes, this dish is absolutely bursting with flavor and texture! It also makes for a really pretty addition to a meal.
This is great as a side or a base for protein, but I’ve also made it solo and enjoyed it as an entree. At dinner, my husband suggested that it would be a good side for Thanksgiving, and I think he’s on to something!
Sidenote: in the picture above, you can see a ‘lil peek of what I paired with this last time I made it: Seitan Piccata. That’s another recipe from Alicia’s book and it was the first time I’d tried it. It was good, but I don’t think it looked anything like it was supposed to and it wasn’t very pretty, so I think I’ll hold off on sharing that recipe until I can make it look more appetizing!
2 tbs plus 2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2 red onion, cut into thin half-moon slices
3 pinches of fine sea salt Mirin or white wine
1 small carrot, finely diced
1/2 cup pecans, lightly oven-roasted and coarsely chopped
3 tbs pumpkin seeds, lightly pan toasted*
2 cups cooked short-grain brown rice
Brown rice vinegar
2-3 scallions, white and green parts thinly sliced for garnish
*to make toasted seeds: rinse the seeds and drain immediately in a fine sieve. Transfer to a hot pan over medium heat and stir constantly as they dry and become golden brown and a little puffed. They may begin to pop, and some popping is ok, but if they start popping out of the pan, reduce the heat. Remove from pan when done and sprinkle with a few drops of shoyu (or soy), stirring to combine.
Place 2 tbs oil and the onion in a medium skillet over medium heat. When the onion begins to sizzle, add a generous pinch of salt and saute for 3 to 4 min. Add a generous sprinkle of mirin or wine and reduce the heat to low. Cook, stirring frequently, for about 15 min, or until the onion begins to carmelize
While the onion cooks, place the remaining 2 tsp oil, the carrot and generous pinch of salt in a large skillet over medium heat. When the carrots begin to sizzle, add a pinch of salt and saute until just tender, about 10 min.
Turn off the heat and stir in the pecans and pumpkin seeds just to coat with oil
Add the rice and a generous splash of vinegar and stir to combine
Transfer to a serving bowl and top with the carmelized onions. Sprinkle with scallions and serve