Vegans coming to Thanksgiving Dinner.. Any main or side or dessert ideas welcome!
I am cooking for a group of people I have never met, and two of them are Vegan. Any and all ideas welcome. I don't need recipes, just thoughts. Thanks!
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Other than I'll say that when I was a vegetarian I always appreciated when hosts/family members held meat out of dishes when the meat was mainly garnish or subbed mushroom stock when they would usually use meat stock so that I could eat most of the meal. A vegan dressing that everyone is eating (maybe with nuts and/or flax involved for some protien) and just happens to be vegan will make for some very grateful guests.
Bonus is it makes great leftovers, if you make enough.
Just sub a neutral oil for the butter when making the roux. It's a favorite with both vegetarians and carnivores in my family.
Also consider Middle Eastern flavors--'Jerusalem' has recipes for roasted squash and onions drizzled with tahini, and roasted sweet potatoes and figs topped with balsamic glaze and pomegranate seeds.
I recently made baklava for a vegan friend (commercial filo is made with vegetable shortening), using vegan margarine to brush the sheets, and making a spiced sugar syrup to soak it. Add a layer of sautéed apples between the nuts and you have a cousin to a pie.
I see someone already said this but just last night I stuffed acorn squash with sage, thyme, onion, garlic, wild rice, apple, (and bleu cheese and sausage) and then deglazed the pan with bourbon.
one of my favourite vegan pieces from this tradition are heidi swanson's sweet potato falafels (http://www.101cookbooks.com/archives/baked-sweet-potato-falafel-recipe.html). they are a bit untraditional, but delicious and easy to make. also, you can make the sweet potato part a day or two in advance.
if you pair these (or something like this) with some vegetable side dishes and a nice salad, i'm sure that will be enough for the vegans. they will be happy you made the effort ! (i know from experience ;) !!)
Some thoughts off the top of my head: grain-based dishes, such as farro with mushrooms, kale and/or winter squash. You could also roast acorn squashes and stuff with a mixture of grains (barley, farro, etc.), greens (chard or kale), walnuts and cranberries, which would look festive. There are also some creative preparations out there for cauliflower, e.g. "steaks." A simple preparation of charred broccoli with lemon juice and sliced almonds could also make a nice side.
Many nut-based and chocolate desserts are vegan friendly. Coconut milk is also a good base for desserts that would otherwise be dairy (like pudding).