A vegetarian Thanksgiving feast: 5-course seasonal menu with wine pairing and game plan!
As a junior in college and a new immigrant to this country, I was quick to adopt Thanksgiving as my favorite holiday. We Americans may have inherited this ritual of giving thanks from the Pilgrims, but throughout history people of all nations have celebrated harvest time with a feast.
Now that’s where I get very excited about this special holiday. Cooking being my passion, having the chance to make a feast is something I anticipate with great joy each year.
When planning my own Thanksgiving menu, I follow the original spirit of this special holiday and let the abundance of the harvest itself guide me. Since I do most of my shopping at our local farmers’ markets from spring through fall, I’m familiar with the gorgeous produce they offer and the succession of crops.
Even at the end of November, there’s still a marvelous assortment of fresh veggies and fruits to choose from: Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, gorgeous red beets, leafy greens, pumpkins and winter squashes, apples and pears… the list goes on and on, and out of it my menu takes shape beautifully.
From the first bite of the spicy beet-green crostini and the first sip of the sumptuous pear Bellini to the last morsel of dessert, the mood for this feast is set. May it inspire you to create a Thanksgiving feast that is as delicious as it is joyful — in the true spirit of giving thanks!
This Thanksgiving menu was featured in the November 2008 issue of Rockland Magazine. To read the full feature click on Plan a Healthy Thanksgiving.
Featuring wines from Bonny Doon Vineyard
Shiitake mushroom and Yukon gold potato gratins with fresh herbs
Roasted butternut squash with garlic and sage
Maple-glazed pan-roasted Brussels sprouts with chestnuts
Cauliflower purée with parmesan and thyme
Bonny Doon, Syrah “Le Pousseur”
Apple-pear crisp with macadamia crumb and Calvados Chantilly
Bonny Doon, Le Vol des Anges
2 WEEKS AHEAD
3 to 4 DAYS AHEAD
Buy vegetables and groceries (I like to buy the veggies as close to the time I need them as possible. The longer they sit in the refrigerator, the more they lose both nutrition and flavor!)
Wash beet greens, spin dry, place in large Ziplock bag and refrigerate
Cut baguette in slices for the crostini, place in large Ziplock bag and freeze
2 DAYS AHEAD
Bake the beets and refrigerate
Make soup and pesto and refrigerate
Make the marinated olives and refrigerate
1 DAY AHEAD
Set table and prep house
Make the vinaigrette for the salad and refrigerate
Wash the watercress, place in large Ziplock bag and refrigerate
Toast the pine nuts for the salad and store in a sealed container
Blanch Brussels sprouts and refrigerate
Make cranberry chutney and refrigerate
Make Calvados Chantilly and refrigerate
Cut butternut squash, place in large Ziplock bag and refrigerate
Make apple-pear crisp
Roast Butternut squash
Make cauliflower purée
Prep the beets for the endive boats
Slice the beet greens and garlic for the crostini
Slice the shallots for the spinach salad
Prep the ingredients for the Brussels sprouts
30 MINUTES BEFORE GUESTS ARRIVE
Take out the olives, soup and chutney from the refrigerator
Assemble the endive boats
WHEN GUESTS ARRIVE
Serve Bellini, olives and endive boats
Toast the baguette slices, sauté the beet greens and assemble crostini. Serve warm
WHEN READY TO SERVE DINNER
Reheat soup and serve
Slice the celeriac and apples. Assemble salad and serve
Reheat gratins and butternut squash in the oven
Reheat cauliflower purée
Sauté Brussels sprouts
Plate main course and serve
Reheat dessert and serve
(click on the photos for the recipes)