I can't believe all of the positive press this year about alternative offerings at the Thanksgiving table! US Weekly featured Kimberly Snyder and her Raw Pecan Love Pie in their recent issue, the local paper today had a cover story about gluten-free side dishes, and even Martha Stewart had an episode about having a vegetarian Thanksgiving!
When alternative eating goes mainstream I get super excited. We all have our reasons for veering from the Standard American Diet- and the more veg press (or even GF press) there is, the better chance that us who choose alternative diets wont feel so ostracized or alone.
This year my Thanksgivings were great! and I think everyone left the table full and happy. I could have easily served this meal in courses, but I think everything served family style is essential for holiday dinners. I had two Thanksgivings at my house this year, most dishes were overlapped, but some things were different.
For starters on Thanksgiving #1, I served olive hummus on sliced cucumbers out in the living room. I had sparkling water, blackberry sage iced tea, and an iced yerba mate for drink options (as well as coffee just in case). When we said our thanks at the dinner table we had creamy turnip soup, fennel salad, basil green beans and tomatoes, cranberry apple dressing, shitake and millet casserole, and curried sweet potato fries. After dinner we got comfy back in the living room for pecan pie and pumpkin ginger ice cream.
Saturday morning I visited the farmers' market (for you Louisville locals- the Bardstown Road market is year round) and picked up some turnips, potatoes, baby tomatoes, apples, onions, and sweet potatoes. The creamy turnip soup is actually a modified version of the potato and root vegetable soup I posted a few weeks ago- I just added more turnips and cashews and switched the yukons for russets- although I prefer the yukons for a soup potato- the russets made the soup very gelatinous.
The fennel salad was inspired by my Aunt Lynn. When I saw fennel bulbs at the market I knew I had to include them for Thanksgiving because she'd been raving about how wonderful fennel was for months. I then found a recipe in my Raw Food Real World book that paired fennel with grapefruit and avocado- and knowing her signature Christmas salad includes citrus and avocado- I made the match and added some pomegranate seeds, coriander, lemon, mint, and black pepper.
I couldn't believe that local fresh tomatoes would still be for sale in Kentucky in late November, but they were perfect to toss with some blanched green beans and a great pairing for the (super easy) shitake and millet casserole. Thanksgiving wouldn't be thanksgiving without cranberries and sweet potatoes, so I jazzed up the cranberries with apples, walnuts, and an orange and tossed the sweet potato fries with some cayenne, cumin, maple syrup and garam masala.
For Thanksgiving #2, I skipped the appetizer, but for drinks fixed a rooibos and fennel iced tea and popped opened a bottle of sparkling apple cider. The meal included the same shitake and millet casserole, cranberry apple dressing, and sweet potato fries from the first meal, but I served the green beans with almonds, made some redskin and cauliflower mashed potatoes, and garlicky kale. The pecan pie and pumpkin ginger ice cream were served again for dessert.
I hope everyone's holiday was wonderful. I am so thankful for my family and friends and for my comfy home.
If you'd like to get a recipe of something I mentioned above, please comment!