Vegetarians Cry Fowl at Thanksgiving | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

Vegetarians Cry Fowl at Thanksgiving

So many events in our lives revolve around food. Thanksgiving turkey, mincemeat pies at Christmas, Easter ham—all these are lauded traditions. So what's a vegetarian to do amidst all that carnivorous delight?

All too often, they are seen picking amidst the lovely, colorful and aromatic dishes, only to find that they contain bacon, chicken broth or any number of other animal products. At the end of the buffet, they reach look down on their plates to find they've only come away with a scoop of mashed potatoes and a roll—and that's only if they're not vegans!

So how can you, the carnivore, make a delicious meal that everyone will love, meat-eater and veggie-lover alike?

Make a nut roast. It is tasty, hearty and full of protein, the vegetarian's approach to a meatloaf.

I serve mine with vegetarian gravy that's good enough for me—a sworn omnivore—to choose over other meaty gravies. It's that good. Seriously. Try it.

Vegetarian Gravy

1/4 cup, plus 1 tablespoon olive oil
1/3 cup chopped onion
5 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons Marsala cooking wine
2 cups vegetable broth
1/2 teaspoon dried sage
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

In a medium skillet, sauté onion and garlic in one tablespoon oil until soft, about five minutes. Transfer contents to a medium sauce pan over medium heat, adding butter and remaining oil. When butter is melted, whisk in flour, sage, salt, pepper and marsala to form a smooth paste. Whisk in broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer, stirring constantly, for eight to 10 minutes, or until thickened.

To make this recipe vegan, exchange butter with four tablespoons nutritional yeast.

For a complete meal, try serving a nut loaf and gravy with a side of corn and some herbed roasted red potatoes. To make the potatoes, simply rinse and cut into sixths. Drizzle with olive oil, and toss with Herbes de Provence. Salt and pepper to taste, and bake on a cookie sheet at 400 degrees for 25 minutes.

Nut Loaf

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
4 cups mushrooms, chopped
2 medium carrots, grated
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
4 cups mixed nuts
2 slices bread
1/4 cup ground flaxseed
1/2 cup old-fashioned oats
1 tablespoons soy sauce
1/2 cup vegetable broth
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large skillet, heat oil and sauté onion, garlic, carrot and mushrooms until onions soften, about 10 minutes. Add cilantro and stir; turn off heat.

Grind nuts, bread, herbs, flax and oats in a food processor until they reach a coarse, mealy texture. If your food processor is small, this can be done in batches and combined in a large bowl after processing.

Add one-and-a-half cups of the sautéed vegetables to the crumb mixture bowl, and then add the remaining skillet contents to the food processor along with the soy sauce and vegetable broth. Process until smooth.

Combine all ingredients in the large bowl until well mixed. Scrape into loaf pan and smooth top. Bake 50-60 minutes, turning once. Roast is done when top is dry and the edges are well browned. Allow to settle eight to 10 minutes before slicing. Serves eight.

For an elegant presentation, try a bundt pan, or create individual servings by using muffin pans.

This recipe can be made vegan or gluten-free simply by choosing your favorite brand of vegan or gluten-free bread.

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