Whenever I tell acquaintances that I’m a vegetarian (it’s easier to just say that than to get into the whole “I don’t eat meat because I don’t agree with factory farming and I didn’t like meat all that much to begin with, although I do have meat for dinner occasionally so there isn’t a full scale revolt on the part of my meat-eating husband and I’m not willing to cook two separate dinners”), inevitably, they reply with, “But what do you do for Thanksgiving?”
My answer is probably disappointing: since I celebrate Thanksgiving with my parents, I eat turkey. But this year, I hosted an early Thanksgiving celebration for my truly vegetarian in-laws. I knew what I was going to cook right away: Thanksgiving is a whole lot easier to negotiate as a vegetarian than, say, a McDonald’s menu.
Vegetarian Thanksgiving Menu
Stuffed Acorn Squash (see recipe below)
Cranberry Sauce (be sure to add the optional tablespoon of grated orange peel)
Wilted Spinach (leave out the bacon to make this vegetarian)
Pumpkin Pie Pudding (if you don’t have buttermilk baking mix, substitute 1/2 cup flour, 3/4 teaspoons baking powder, and 1/4 teaspoon salt)
Stuffed Acorn Squash
2 acorn squash, halved lengthwise and seeded
3 tablespoons butter, divided
1/2 cup onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 cup fresh mushrooms, chopped
2 cups vegetable broth (or chicken broth, if making for non-vegetarians)
1 cup brown basmati rice
1 2/3 cup water
1 6-ounce package dry cornbread stuffing mix
2 tablespoons fresh sage, chopped
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Melt one tablespoon of butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Cook onion and garlic until onion is translucent, about 10 minutes. Add mushrooms and cook an additional 5 minutes. Add broth, rice, and sage, and cover. Reduce heat and simmer 40 minutes, or until rice has absorbed all the liquid and is tender.
Meanwhile, place squash halves cut side down on a greased baking sheet. Bake for 40 minutes.
Meanwhile, bring water and remaining 2 tablespoons of butter to a boil in a small saucepan. Stir in cornbread stuffing mix, cover, and remove from heat. Let sit for five minutes and fluff.
Add stuffing to rice mixture. Scoop into hollow center of squash halves and bake for an additional 15 minutes.