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Patch Picks: 5 Vegetarian Thanksgiving Dishes

Food ideas for people whose Turkey Day involves no turkeys.

In one week, we'll be doing the Thanksgiving scramble: Running to the inlaws' house, hitting the store for some last minute cranberry sauce, or checking on the bird in the oven every five minutes.

What some consider the best meal of the year, fit for kings and gluttons, is centered around meat. Not all of us, for varying reasons, choose to eat meat, though.

What is one supposed to prepare for those who don't eat turkey on Turkey Day? The answer is easy, and the options are many. Whether you're cooking for a vegetarian guest, or are a vegetarian yourself, Patch helps you out this week with five tasty recipes for a vegan/vegetarian Thanksgiving.

1. Tofurky: Funny sounding name, seriously tasty substitute.
What you need: 1 Tofurky Roast (can be frozen), 1 can cranberry sauce (chunky or smooth), 1 package dry vegetarian onion soup mix, 16 ounces vegetable broth and 1 tablespoon garlic powder (optional).

What you do: Empty soup mix into a crock pot. Add the vegetable broth and garlic powder. Add the can of cranberry sauce. Stir to mix. Place Tofurky Roast in the center of the pot. Cook on high. Baste roast about every half hour, cooking for three hours total (two if roast is thawed). Remove roast from crock pot, retaining the cooking liquid or sauce. Slice thin and pour sauce on top to serve. Eat. 

2. Vegan Gravy: So good, you'll make extra just for leftovers. 
What you need: 1/2 cup vegetable oil, 1/3 cup chopped onion, 5 cloves minced garlic, 1/2 cup all-purpose flour, 4 teaspoons nutritional yeast, 4 tablespoons light soy sauce, 2 cups vegetable broth, 1/2 teaspoon dried sage, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper.

What you do: Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Saute onion and garlic until soft and translucent (for 5 minutes). Stir in flour, nutritional yeast and soy sauce to form a smooth paste. Gradually whisk in the broth. Season with sage, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring constantly, for 8 to 10 minutes or until thickened.

3. Pumpkin Muffins: Perfect for a Thanksgiving breakfast or dessert. 
What you need: 1 (18.25 oz.) package yellow cake mix, 1 (15 oz.) can pumpkin pureé, 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg and 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves.

What you do: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 12-cup muffin pan (or line with paper liners). When that's done, in a large bowl, mix together all ingredients until smooth. Spoon equal amounts of batter into muffin cups. Finally, bake for up to 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean.

4. Easy, Last-Minute Stuffing: In case you've only got an hour.
What you need: 1 loaf day-old bread torn into small pieces, 1 (10.75 oz.) can condensed cream of mushroom soup, 1 (10.5 oz.) can vegetable broth, 2 tablespoons water, 1 tablespoon poultry seasoning, salt and pepper to taste.

What you do: Mix together all ingredients. It will be sticky. Shape into a loaf and wrap in (nonstick, sprayed) foil to bake. Bake for about an hour at 350 degrees. You can slice it like a meatloaf and serve.

5. Au Gratin Potatoes: The beauty is they're already vegetarian.
What you need: 2 lbs. Yukon gold potatoes sliced thin, 1 quart buttermilk, 5 tablespoons kosher salt, 3 tablespoons freshly ground black pepper and 1 (16 oz.) package of sharp cheddar cheese (shredded).

What you do: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9x12 inch glass or ceramic dish with olive oil. Layer potatoes on the bottom of the dish. Pour 1/3 of the buttermilk over the potatoes and sprinkle with 1/3 of the salt, pepper and cheese. Repeat two more times, ending with cheese on top. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until hot, bubbly and golden brown.

This is an abridged list, with recipes pulled from random note cards, a local church's cookbook and the Internet. There are countless more out there, and each recipe can be varied to satisfy your tastes. Either way, we hope this was a good starting point for you!

Do you have a good vegan or vegetarian Thanksgiving recipe to share? Tell us in the comments.

Happy November 16, 2012 at 01:22 PM
I have to say that we have given Tofurkey two tries and it is now a running joke in the family ... we honestly tried hard to like it, lol!!! I have been a vegetarian for over thirty years and my two children have become vegetarian in the last couple of years. I tend to serve a casserole on Thanksgiving and the children have asked me to make this one for next week. I took a few recipes for non-vegetarian shepherd's pie and came up with a quick and easy version: Pauline's Vegetarian Shepherd's Pie 12 oz package of vegetarian crumbles or "ground beef-replacement" product* ½ package frozen peas and carrots olive oil 1 cup vegetarian broth 2 dashes of soy sauce 2 T flour 2 T butter Fresh mashed potato, or: 1 box instant potato (water, butter and milk) sweet paprika Directions Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. While the oven is preheating, saute the crumbles in olive oil and add the peas and carrots to the pan. Meanwhile make gravy. In a second small pan over medium heat cook butter and flour together 2 minutes. Whisk in the vegetarian broth and soy sauce. Thicken gravy 1 minute. Add gravy to meat and vegetables. Next spread the mixture on the bottom of your casserole dish. Follow the instructions for instant mashed potatoes using butter, water, and milk, or make it fresh. Spread potatoes over vegetarian crumble mixture. Bake for 30 minutes and finish quickly under the broiler until potato is lightly browned. *see additional notes below
Happy November 16, 2012 at 01:29 PM
I have to say that we have given Tofurkey two tries and it is now a running joke in the family ... we honestly tried hard to like it, lol!!! I have been a vegetarian for over thirty years and my two children have become vegetarian in the last couple of years. I tend to serve a casserole on Thanksgiving and the children have asked me to make this one for next week. I took a few recipes for non-vegetarian shepherd's pie and came up with a quick and easy version: Pauline's Vegetarian Shepherd's Pie 12 oz package of vegetarian crumbles or "ground beef-replacement" product* ½ package frozen peas and carrots olive oil 1 cup vegetarian broth 2 dashes of soy sauce 2 T flour 2 T butter Fresh mashed potato, or: 1 box instant mashed potato (water, butter and milk) sweet paprika Directions Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. While the oven is preheating, saute the crumbles in olive oil and add the peas and carrots to the pan. Meanwhile make gravy. In a second small pan over medium heat cook butter and flour together 2 minutes. Whisk in the vegetarian broth and soy sauce. Thicken gravy 1 minute. Add gravy to meat and vegetables. Next spread the mixture on the bottom of your casserole dish. Follow the instructions for instant mashed potatoes using butter, water, and milk, or make it fresh. Spread potatoes over crumble mixture. Bake for 30 minutes and finish quickly under the broiler until the potato is lightly browned. *see additional notes below
Happy November 16, 2012 at 01:30 PM
* Notes 1. For vegetarian "crumbles" I prefer the Morningstar flavor (green packages), but Boca (red packages), also in the frozen section, or one of the two products in the refrigerated produce section, will also be good.). 2. For vegetarian broth, I like the Knorr vegetarian bouillon cubes that you dissolve in boiling water. 3. I like to serve this with a heaping side of green beans, either saute'ed, roasted, or done in rosemary. 4. This recipe is suitable for vegetarians who eat dairy products. In order to make it suitable for vegans, you would have to make sure the mashed potato and meat replacement crumble products do not have dairy or egg in them. Making your own mashed potato with margarine would be the way to go on the potato, and there are various recipes for a vegan "crumble" or "meat replacement" product using tvp (textured vegetable protein).
Jim Corcoran November 16, 2012 at 02:56 PM
Clinical studies have found that casein, a protein in all dairy products, blocks the absorption of antioxidants and renders them useless to our body. Get healthier by going vegan! http://nutritionfacts.org/video/nutrient-blocking-effects-of-dairy/ Find a vegan Thanksliving event near you: http://org2.democracyinaction.org/o/7379/p/salsa/event/common/public/search.sjs?distributed_event_KEY=277

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