Here in Canada, Thanksgiving has come and gone. It was a gorgeous weekend – crisp temperatures, sunny skies, and the leaves just started to turn. As with most major holidays, thoughts turn to food. In Newfoundland, that means a mid-day feast of turkey, dressing, pease pudding, and a general overload of root vegetables. More than likely, there’s probably also some salt meat cooked for good measure. Having never had much of a taste for traditional Newfoundland food (even though this is where I am born and bred), I always skipped the pease pudding and salt meat portion of the meal. When I was growing up, this led to two different platters of vegetables on our dining table – leaded and unleaded. Leaded vegetables were the ones cooked with the salt meat (leaving them, in my mind, doused in salt and floating in grease); unleaded vegetables were the ones cooked in plain salted water. As you can tell, we are not a people who use spices beyond the basic salt and pepper; although we do use locally grown savoury in our dressing, which most people aren’t familiar with and is extremely tasty. Perhaps I will write a post about the delights of savoury at a later date.
Now that I’m vegan, turkey and salt meat is totally unappealing. So, what’s a vegan to do for Thanksgiving dinner? Thankfully, Thanksgiving occurs in the fall when the root vegetables of my childhood are ripe for the picking and the local supermarkets and farmers’ markets are full of fresh, gorgeous vegetables. What better time to buy as much as possible and roast them for dinner? I bought beet, parsnip, turnip, potatoes, sweet potatoes, and carrots. There is nothing nicer than to buy vegetables with the greenery still on them with a piece of twine holding each bunch together. Local vegetables are also larger than supermarket varieties and taste sweeter. How can you possibly go wrong? You can’t.
Thanksgiving morning I took out the roasting pan and cut up the veggies. They even looked delicious raw!
I liberally added extra virgin olive oil, nutritional yeast, pepper, Herbamare, and the aforementioned savoury. Stir until the mixture is glistening just a wee bit from the olive oil, and put the veggies in the oven at 350 degrees. It will probably take 2 hours before the veggies are at prime eating density. For the first half hour, I leave the lid off the roasting pan. Then I add a splash more olive oil, put the lid on, and cook for another 30 – 40 minutes. Take the pan out of the oven, stir the veggies up a bit and decide whether you would like to add more oil or spices. Put the lid back on and turn the heat up to 400 degrees for the last 45 minutes to an hour. The veggies should be soft, but not mushy – your fork should move easily in the vegetable when you poke it.
We decided to add Tofurkey beer sausage to spice up our dinner just a tad. Make sure the sausages are thawed, cut them into chunks, and add them for the last half hour of the roasting. They don’t need to be cooked (since they are meatless), just heated through, so a half hour at 400 is plenty.
The finished product: A tasty, earthy, beautiful fall dinner!
Dessert was a pumpkin loaf. It was a new recipe to me and, unfortunately, the loaf was too dunchy for my taste (meaning it didn’t rise properly and was thick and wet around the middle). The search is on to find a better, less-dunchy recipe. If I find one, I will be sure to let you know.