Growing up, Canadian Thanksgiving was one of my favourite holidays. Since it wasn’t marred by Black Friday shopping sales, the focus could strictly be on the vast array of food: turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, stuffing, ham, buttered corn, sweet potato casserole and the turnip that never seemed to find space on my plate. The gluttony confirmed at dessert with fresh apple and/or pumpkin pie with a “healthy” scoop of vanilla ice-cream. My mouth still waters…
However, after becoming vegetarian, the Thanksgiving feast that I knew and loved was gone. Sadly, I grieved the loss of my Canadian Thanksgiving. Gratefully, I accepted Ligeia’s family tradition of their American Thanksgiving. The vegetarian spread was a selection of all their favourite dishes: macaroni and cheese, three-bean salad, popovers, mashed potatoes still made an appearance, pickled beets and eggs (which couldn’t find place on my plate either), and of course, the star of dessert, a sweet potato pie.
But now, as vegans, Ligeia and I are forced to create a brand new tradition. Perhaps, we’ll call it our Thai Thanksgiving. We didn’t celebrate it here over a holiday long weekend, but rather at the end of an ordinary work day with friends. With access to an oven and a gas stove – a major improvement from the single electric griddle in our apartment – I was able to create a varied and delicious menu for our vegan Thanksgiving.
The main dish was a vegan nutloaf, accompanied by the required mashed potatoes with mushroom gravy. A traditional favourite of Ligeia’s, multi-bean salad, easily made it to the spread as the standard recipe is already vegan. I also prepared a cranberry rice pilaf and a vinegary cucumber salad to round out the side dishes. Finally, for dessert, I went all out and baked a vegan sweet potato pie, as well as a vegan apple crisp. Both were scrumptious, and definitely crowd pleasers.
Since our Thai vegan Thanksgiving I’ve been thinking of new dishes that could be added to the next feast and I’m already excited.