Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday, but it didn’t used to be.
Before I fully understood my dietary restrictions, I was always sick on Thanksgiving. Most years I was just beyond uncomfortable after dinner, but there was one year that it was so bad that I just went in the other room and went to sleep on a couch. I missed all of my extended family leaving for the night. And then there were the years that I didn’t even make it through dinner.
Once I had it figured out, I made my family have an “alternative Thanksgiving.” Meaning no meat and definitely no dairy. I was sick of being sick. The first year, it was just my mom, dad, grandma, and I, and we made all vegan dishes. And let me tell you, there really is no way to make a vegan green bean casserole like the original. If you disagree, send me your recipe, but I have tried and failed on more than one occasion.
Alternative Thanksgiving cerca 2009
See, most people associate Thanksgiving dinner with rich and heavy foods chock full of butter, milk, and heavy cream (the type I generally avoid on a daily basis), which is why my younger self thought I had to designate a Thanksgiving dinner without those things. I wanted to be able to eat everything that everyone else did and not feel completely terrible after. But I’ve come a long way. Over the years I ‘ve gradually allowed approved dairy items into dishes, and this year, I even let my sister bring a brie appetizer. My family has found a way to make everyone happy, and I actually see it as a fun challenge to make something vegan or dairy free that is so good the rest of my family won’t even notice.
This year, we started with marinated olives that my mom made, and I made Mark Bittman’s rosemary-lemon white bean dip. And like I said before my sister brought a brie appetizer, and yes, I had one of those too.
I made Real Simple’s cranberry sauce, which was sweet enough with the orange marmelade alone and didn’t need any added sugar.
I also made caramelized brussel sprouts from Eat, Live, Run. I bought the brussel sprout stalk from Trader Joe’s because I thought it looked cool. It did take a while to cut them all off, but with a good, sharp knife they came off easily.
I love that she slices the sprouts into “ribbons”. This dish took no time at all, but the only tricky part was that it is meant to be served immediately after cooking. It made for a tight kitchen as we were getting ready to put everything on the table.
And of course, my family had turkey…
And then my camera battery died. Seriously, it did. So I have no quintessential plate pictures or family gathered around the table pictures. Such an amateur move. In addition to all the goodies listed above, my sister also made homemade bread and sweet potatoes with roasted grapes and goat cheese (sans goat cheese for me). My family is great about going the extra mile for me at holiday time, especially when I no longer make them come to a vegan Thanksgiving. Although if you take a look at the recipes I made…
Oh, I almost forgot. We were too full to eat it right after dinner, but my mom made a dairy-free pumpkin pie that I think could fool anyone. It was the best one she’s made to date.