Designed with the TDay host/hostess in mind.
With the increase in those abstaining from meat, I wanted to design a vegan dish convenient for even a meat eating host/hostess. When you don't eat this way it can be extremely stressful for the hostess. Not that I've consulted an etiquette manual but IMO if a guest is so particular with their dietary restrictions they should bring their own dish. However, us being the women people pleasers we are, will want to make a dish for even the most pain in the ass guest.
Therefore I wanted to create a dish any hostess would feel confident in preparing. Ingredients had to be easily accessible even for a small town girl, not crazy expensive, simple procedure and cooking methods, nothing too foreign-cooking and ingredients, protein based (cause I just can't with Tofurkey!), and pretty because tablescape is everything!!!
Plant based pasta is the way to go. It looks great on the table and takes minutes to prepare. Butternut squash makes a nice cheese like sauce which I made last year, but I wanted to include something more rare. I'm all about creating dishes that include under utilized nutrient rich foods especially vegetables. Regardless of what diet you prescribe to, it's very important to include vegetable diversity. Pumpkin only makes a cameo in pumpkin pie where all its beautifying fiber and beta carotene is discounted due to all the sugar, making it a prime contender.
I attempted this dish 3 times:
Attempt #1 Good but not enough sauce.
Attempt #2 Doubled the sauce. Saucy but flavor wasn't complex enough for a Thanksgiving dish. The first thing that came to my mind was it needs ketchup! But there's no way I was going to squeeze that on! Alone at night, couch eating in comfy clothes... totally, but not for guests. With that said, on a normal night you can stop here and just squeeze on the organic, corn syrup free Heinz!
Attempt #3 I realized it needed ketchup's umami flavor. Makes sense because cheese has a umami flavor. I knew mushrooms have a umami flavor and Mushroom Gravy is already part of the the Tday menu so it was perfect!
Attempt #4 With the mushroom gravy the dish is good to go but for extra punch I added carmalized onions!
Now remember your audience. Normal carnivores and those who follow a standard american diet may not be into this dish, but the palettes of those who don't eat meat and cheese are very different. Vegans or those who abstain from dairy or gluten will love this dish and they will leave your table feeling so satisfied!
This dish can be designed nut free, but cashews and macadamia nuts are wonderful in cheese sauces.
Half the kids in my family are allergic to nuts, (how is every kid allergic to nuts these days but not cow's milk is beyond me) so I didn't want the dish to be codependent on nuts for flavor. BTW cashews and macadamia nuts make wonderful faux cheese sauces, so if nuts are not an issue I would add 1/4-1/2 cup to the sauce! Pistachios are on this dish simply as a garnish because I love their color and not imperative to the dish, so can be omitted. If you want a crispy topping panko breadcrumbs are wonderful. (not gluten free)
Ingredient and prep notes:
The only ingredient that you will have to search for or buy ahead is nutritional yeast. I purchase a big bag on Amazon and store in a big glass jar. If you follow any of my recipes you will use again! It's also a natural source of B12 and full of protein!
Sauces that are made with coconut creme like this one will thicken when cold. Just heat to thin.
Thanksgiving Day Prep
Thanksgiving Eve: Make the pumpkin sauce and gravy. Also, prep the pomegranates.
Thanksgiving: 9 minutes to cook the pasta. 15 minutes of heating in the oven. Carmalized onion is completely optional. It takes 30-45 minutes to cook but it's on low heat, so its something you can do on Thanksgiving and not have to worry about monitoring while you prep other dishes.
In small pot over stove:
1 package of PORTOBELLA MUSHROOMS, dirt whipped off with damp paper towel, de stemmed and roughly broken up with hands
1/2 cup VEGGIE BROTH
.5 tbsp NUTRITIONAL YEAST
1 tbsp APPLE CIDER VINEGAR
1/4 tsp GARLIC POWDER
Dash of THYME
Pinch of SEA SALT
Simmer on stove for 30 minutes. Blend till smooth. Taste and add more salt if needed.
For more umami flavor, add a dash of TAMARI, SOY SAUCE or MISO!
If you are a Thanksgiving Day hostess feeding those who don't eat meat, dairy or gluten I hope this helps you out! If it does please let me know by commenting below!
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