For Vegetarians, on Thanksgiving: Root Vegetable Pie

November 13, 2013

If you're like us, you look to the seasons for what to cook. Get to the market, and we'll show you what to do with your haul.

Today: A big, satisfying meatless dish that you can place smack-dab in the middle of your Thanksgiving table -- with pride.

Root Vegetable Pie on Food52

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As a vegetarian on Thanksgiving, you can take two separate routes. First there is the somewhat imposing Tofurkey route: You offer to bring a commercial fake meat product to sit awkwardly next to your host's long slaved-over bird, and you're the only one who eats it. This is not a good route. 

Then there is the unassuming, don't-want-to-impose route. You remind your host that there are so many things on the table that you can eat! Brussels sprouts are your favorite vegetable. Mashes make you happy. Maybe you offer to bring a quinoa salad, the Rachel Green of potluck dishes (inoffensive, mostly likable, a bit trendy). And hey, there's always pie. You eat lots of pie.

Root Vegetable Pie on Food52

Sometimes, though, the vegetarians want to do that thing that everyone else does on Thanksgiving: They want to slave over a dish that they can put in the center of the table. They want to walk into a dining room, causing heads to turn, holding a platter of something, anything really, that's big and warm and ready to eat and demands prime real estate on the table. 

If you are a vegetarian who celebrates Thanksgiving, or you will be hosting one, I suggest that you do what I do, and make this layered root vegetable pie.

Thanksgiving Root Vegetable Pie on Food52

This pie takes time. It is comprised of layers. There are soft, sautéed mushrooms; technicolored roasted vegetables, of which you can take your pick; and fluffy, buttery, mashed sweet potatoes to blanket what's below them. Garnishes follow: pepitas, a sprinkle of spice.

You have to roast vegetables, mash vegetables, make pie crust. You need to peel many knobby things. But this work will pay off, in the form of a main dish that tastes exactly like Thanksgiving. Don't present it as a turkey alternative. Don't usher it into the room sheepishly. Sit it in the middle of your table, proudly, and give thanks.

Root Vegetable Pie on Food52

Thanksgiving Root Vegetable Pie

Adapted from Daily Garnish

Serves 8 as a main course

For the pie crust

1 cup whole wheat pastry flour (or white whole wheat flour)
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cups butter
1 teaspoon sea salt
6 to 8 tablespoons cold water

For the filling

5 cups diced root vegetables (I like sunchokes, purple potatoes, carrots, and parsnips)
Olive oil 
Salt and pepper
4 tablespoons butter, divided
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 shallots, minced
5 cups diced mushrooms (roughly 1 3/4 pounds)
1/3 cup red wine
1/2 cup vegetable stock
5 cups peeled and quartered sweet potatoes
1/2 cup whole milk 

See the full recipe (and save and print it) here.

Photos by Eric Moran

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Marian Bull

Written by: Marian Bull



Jennifer M. November 17, 2014
What could you sub for the mushrooms? My vegetarian friend doesn't like mushrooms or anything tofu or soy/seitan. Everything else in here she loves...thank you.
Lindsay-Jean H. November 14, 2013
I was really excited for my cooking-free Thanksgiving this year. Until this.
Marian B. November 14, 2013
Sorry not sorry.
Brad C. November 13, 2013
Do you think polenta would work as a bottom layer instead of a traditional crust?
Marian B. November 14, 2013
You know, I'm not sure. I've tried the polenta "pizza" thing before (good!), but this is sort of supported by the sides of the crust -- I'd definitely make your polenta thick if you try it, and try to get it to reach up the sides of a pie plate. Let me know what you find out!
ChefJune November 13, 2013
This looks delicious. The only downside I can see to a pie as main dish on Thanksgiving, is that the desserts are usually pie. and that makes kind of a one-note meal.
Kenzi W. November 13, 2013
I'm a total convert -- this is so good I think I'd serve it instead of turkey. There I said it.
Marian B. November 13, 2013
I'm quoting you! And screen-shotting this!
LauriL November 13, 2013
Let me know for sure refrigerator would have so much more room without a turkey!! Not to mention more room on the table for other new and delectable offerings!!