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Who Needs Turkey? Vegetarian and Vegan Recipes for Thanksgiving
Comments () | Published November 23, 2009

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If you feel more empathy than hunger for the turkey at Thanksgiving—or if you’d just like to replace those classic butter-laden classics with something a little more health-conscious—try these holiday dishes from area chefs and vegetarians. Not in the mood to cook? Look for one of the area’s animal-friendly Thanksgiving events. The Vegetarian Society of DC’s Life-Affirming Thanksgiving Celebration will feature a vegetarian Thanksgiving buffet (with vegan options) along with a talk by Washington Post columnist Colman McCarthy. And at Poplar Spring Animal Sanctuary in Poolesville, the Thanksgiving with the Turkeys potluck lets you eat your vegan meal alongside real, live turkeys.

Cauliflower Soup

Serves 8

Vermilion chef Tony Chittum garnishes his vegetarian-friendly cauliflower soup with a nutty mixture of almonds and raisins spiced with curry powder. The ingredients for the soup can also be turned into a great salad: Caramelize the cauliflower, then stir in the rest of the ingredients listed; serve immediately or keep refrigerated before bringing to room temperature to serve.

2 heads cauliflower
1 small sweet onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
1 quart vegetable stock
1 quart milk
½ cup cream
1⁄8 cup golden raisins
1⁄8 cup almonds, toasted
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
½ teaspoon curry powder
Salt and pepper to taste

Remove the cauliflower florets from the stem and peel the stems. Chop the stems and florets and place in a medium soup pot. Add the onion along with the garlic, stock, milk, and cream. Turn heat to high and bring to a simmer, then reduce the heat to low. Simmer the soup until the vegetables are very tender. Purée and strain the soup, then pour it back in the pot to keep warm.

Mix the raisins, almonds, parsley, olive oil, curry powder, salt, and pepper in a mixing bowl and set aside. Garnish soup with the raisin mixture just before serving.

Vanilla-Glazed Soft Pumpkin Cookies

Makes 2 dozen

This recipe was developed by DC Vegan contributor Amber McDonald from a more traditional holiday cookie. Eggs and butter have been replaced with vegetable oil and soy milk, and the cookies get natural sweetness and moisture from mashed bananas. “I’ve found that since becoming vegan, I’ve never felt deprived because it’s just so easy to update old favorites,” says McDonald. To make these treats company-ready, she suggests adding more soy milk and drizzling the glaze instead of spreading it—or, skip the glaze and stir in a cup of dairy-free chocolate chips to the batter at the last step before baking.
 
For the cookies:

2½ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
½ teaspoon salt
1½ cups sugar
½ cup vegetable oil
1 cup Libby’s 100-percent pure pumpkin
¼ cup mashed bananas
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the glaze:

2 cups sifted powdered sugar
3 tablespoons soy milk
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt in a medium bowl. In a large bowl, beat the sugar and oil until well blended. Beat in pumpkin, mashed banana, and vanilla until smooth. Slowly beat the flour mixture into pumpkin mixture.

Drop the dough in rounded spoonfuls onto greased baking sheets, and bake for 15 to 18 minutes or until edges are firm. Place cookies on wire racks and allow to cool completely.

For the glaze, stir sugar, soy milk, oil, and vanilla in a small bowl until smooth; spread over cooled cookies.
Butternut-Squash Soup with Gorgonzola Cheese

Serves 4

The butter and cheese means this holiday starter dish isn’t vegan, but they’re easy to substitute for: Just sauté the onion in olive oil or a vegan margarine such as Earth Balance, and nix the Gorgonzola altogether. The recipe comes from Tina Robinson, chef at the veggie-friendly Science Club in downtown DC.

½ large sweet onion, chopped
2 teaspoons butter
5 to 6 cups water
4 medium russet potatoes, peeled and chopped
1 large butternut squash, peeled, cleaned, and chopped
1 Granny Smith apple, cored and chopped
¼ cup sweet white wine
1 teaspoon brown sugar
¼ cup Gorgonzola cheese, crumbled
Salt and pepper to taste

In a small pan set over medium-high heat, sauté the onion in butter until soft and translucent. Meanwhile, bring the water to a boil and add the potatoes. Add the butternut squash and apple, season to taste, and cook for about 30 minutes or until the potatoes and squash are tender. Stir in the onions, white wine, and sugar. Remove from heat and purée in a food processor. Garnish with Gorgonzola and serve.

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Posted at 12:00 AM/ET, 11/23/2009 RSS | Print | Permalink | Comments () | Washingtonian.com Articles