Remember this scene from the 1973 cartoon classic "A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving"? Buttered toast and jellybeans for everyone! The strange twist of irony, If you remember, comes at the end of the film (not included in this clip), when Snoopy and Woodstock dine on turkey and pumpkin pie. In absence of the bird, did Charlie Brown and his pals have a vegetarian Thanksgiving? Carbo-tarian is more like it!
If you use the farmers market as your compass, you'll quickly see that a Thanksgiving without a meaty centerpiece is still one heckuva feast. After all, Thanksgiving historically is a harvest celebration, and with so much local, seasonal produce to choose from, it's one of the easiest meals to make meatless.
There are two easy ways to turn a turkey-centric affair into one that's more plant-forward:
Add a soup course and make a puree from the many fall vegetables on offer -- broccoli, carrots, celery root and sweet potatoes, to name a few. Make ahead and freeze until the day before Thanksgiving, and you've got one dish ready to go.
Include a stand-alone meatless dish that can dazzle rather than ask your vegetarian guests to cobble together a meal of sides. Two ways to get there:
- A covered dish like lentil shepherd's pie or winter squash lasagna that similarly feeds a crowd;
- Edible containers that can be stuffed or filled: Delicata squash, pumpkin, sweet potatoes all do the job beautifully and make stunning centerpieces.
Check out SFMA's Harvest Guide to help you plan your holiday feast. The farmers market has everything you need!