Confession time. I’m about to say something totally un-American and a lot of people will most certainly disagree with me and maybe even be so inclined to comment with a history lesson on how the turkey was almost the National bird. Oh well. Guess what?
I don’t like Thanksgiving.
Maybe it’s the fact that I’m a vegetarian, and something inside of me just kind of feels bad for the giant mass of poultry sitting on a platter whose essential organs have been replaced with herbs and breadcrumbs. The alternative? Ham.
Maybe it’s the fact that as a kid, I had a serious aversion to all foods that are “mushy” and most traditional Thanksgiving dishes fall in this category: cranberry sauce, stuffing, sweet potatoes, pretty much every single casserole. Even the Sister Schubert’s rolls that always appear are a little too gummy for my liking.
Maybe it’s the fact that at our family Thanksgiving, chocolate isn’t allowed on the dessert buffet. My mom is really adamant that chocolate is for Christmas and Thanksgiving is the holiday when other dessert flavors get their fifteen minutes of fame. I understand this, but…I really like chocolate. I feel like I’m cheating on my number one when I eat pumpkin pie instead.
Maybe it’s the fact that this holiday is centered around food, and I don’t like the food, as you can infer from above. Yes, yes, yes, it’s about giving thanks and being with family and sitting around the table and blah blah blah. I know, I know, I know. Yet, still, every year, for me, Thanksgiving seems to be an exercise in seeing if I can make my full plate magically disappear without having to ingest any of it. Thank god the dogs run around under the table, am I right?
I can’t be the only one who feels this way! Surely, there must be other vegetarian foodies out there who also dread this particular Thursday every year! Where are you, friends? Reach out to me! We should start a support group or something.
Anyway, I’ve compiled a bunch of recipes for people like me. That’s right, this is going to be a recipe post, but, don’t worry, I’ll rant more about my life as a white privileged female next time. These recipes are close enough to the Thanksgiving theme that you won’t get yelled at for bringing hipster nonsense to the table but far enough from tradition that you’ll be able to trick yourself and pretend you’re celebrating some other less gluttonous holiday, like Arbor Day, or something. I promise you that I have tried each and every one of these dishes in my efforts to revamp Thanksgiving and they are great and will make for a nice addition to the spread.
So here we go, Sarah’s Anti-Thanksgiving Thanksgiving Recipes:
The Tradition: Pumpkin Pie
The Spin-off: Giada De Laurentiis’s Pumpkin and Goat Cheese Risotto
If you’re a risotto fan like me, you know it’s not the most Thanksgiving-y thing to bring, but it’s so good that people will typically forgive you once they try some. This dish uses a can of pumpkin puree to flavor the vegetable broth used for simmering the risotto, which turns it a lovely, deep orange color. Here’s the best part: it doesn’t really taste like pumpkin at all! It tastes like normal risotto but it looks autumn-y and festive! You get to fool everyone!
The Tradition: Mashed Potatoes
The Spin-off: Ina Garten’s Potato Basil Puree
Chances are you don’t often take a forkful of Thanksgiving food and think, “Wow! That’s so fresh!” but this potato puree is literally that. You boil the basil in the water you use to later boil the potatoes, and it infuses them with a really direct basil flavor. They taste so herb-y and bright that it makes a nice contrast to the dark, brooding gravy that just wishes it came straight from Ina Garten’s garden.
The Tradition: Sweet Potato Casserole
The Spin-off: Paula Deen’s Sweet Potato Fries
Push the boundaries: Thanksgiving can mean french fries if they involve paprika and garlic seasoning! These are fun and crunchy and you don’t have to heap them onto your plate with a giant serving spoon like the casserole version!
The Tradition: Green Bean Casserole
If green bean casserole is supposed to serve as the necessary “green thing” on the table so we can all feel a little better whilst unbuttoning our pants in light of the fact that at least we ate a vegetable, don’t kid yourself. Put the can of mushroom soup aside and try this kale dish, which is so easy to make and adds a little spicy heat to an otherwise bland table. And, it’s so much better for you.
The Tradition: White Yeast Rolls
The Spin-off: Ina Garten’s Buttermilk Cheddar Biscuits
These are legit. Better than the ones at Red Lobster. Swear to God. No one will miss Sister Schubert.
The Tradition: No Chocolate Allowed.
The Spin-off: The Cake Doctor’s Red Velvet Cake
Shhhhhhh…red velvet is actually chocolate with just a bunch of food coloring added! Don’t tell! The great thing about Anne Byrn’s recipes: they start with boxed mix, so you don’t have to make the whole cake from scratch! I can finally have my chocolate cake and eat it too, lecture-free!!!
As snarky as this post might have come across, really, I am thankful. Thankful for all the blessings and good people in my life. Thankful for my friends and family and dogs. Thankful especially that I’m the only one at our family Thanksgiving who eats the pumpkin risotto, so, you know, more for me.
Have a wonderful holiday everyone! Eat lots of whatever you want!