No one will miss the bird with this hearty spread.
People often imagine that Thanksgiving dinner must pose an insurmountable problem for me as a vegetarian. But because my favorite part of Thanksgiving has always been all the "fixin's"--the vegetables, mashed potatoes, biscuits, stuffing, relishes, and dessert--I'm just as joyful at the feast as anyone else.
I do like to create a centerpiece dish to stand in for the turkey, however, because side dishes are best appreciated when they are just that--companions to the main event. This year, I'll present an alluring Mushroom and Caramelized-Shallot Strudel as the main course with the accompanying dishes that harmonize beautifully.
Eating healthy should still be delicious.
Sign up for our daily newsletter for more great articles and tasty, healthy recipes.
When I plan a large spread, organization is essential to its success. The challenge of a well-orchestrated dinner hinges upon oven space: If dishes cook at different oven temperatures and everything must bake at the same time, then all the advance preparation in the world won't prevent a last-minute panic. For this reason, I have planned a menu with items that can bake at the same temperature while others cook on the stovetop.
You can also include a green salad, another side vegetable (such as steamed green beans with fresh dill), and your favorite stuffing. Dessert is up to you as well, but a traditional Thanksgiving dessert like Gingered Pumpkin Pie suits this meal to a capital T.
This menu balances flavors, colors, textures, and time challenges. Invite nonvegetarians to your spread without apology--they'll hardly notice the turkey's absent.
Thanksgiving Menu Marinated Lentil Salad
Mushroom and Caramelized-Shallot Strudel
Creamy Mashed Potatoes with Chives or Sweet Potato and Apple Gratin
Cranberry, Pear, and Ginger Relish
Herb and Onion Wheat Biscuits
Game Plan Two days ahead:
Make relish; cover and refrigerate.
One day ahead:
Cook the mushroom and shallot filling for the strudel; cover and refrigerate.
Make the lentil salad; cover and refrigerate.
One hour before cooking:
Remove the relish and the lentil salad from refrigerator; bring to room temperature.
Peel and cut potatoes for mashed potatoes; let sit in cold water.
Make breadcrumbs for sweet potato gratin.
Assemble the strudels, and chill.
Time to cook: Bake biscuits; decrease oven temperature to 400 degrees.
Put gratin in oven.
Twenty-five minutes later, start mashed potatoes.
Put strudels in oven when it's time to add breadcrumbs to gratin.