Oh Thanksgiving – a day for family, football, and lots of feasting. I attended typical Thanksgiving dinners with turkey, stuffing, and gravy. What on earth did I eat then? Rule #1 if you’re a vegetarian or vegan attending a party – eat before you go or bring a vegetarian dish. Trust me – people will appreciate a healthy dish in the mix.
The first Thanksgiving meal was at Richmond VA. I made a pumpkin cheesecake that happens to be dairy-free, gluten-free, and soy-free. Tastes like the real deal. This was so easy to make. I got the recipe from this video. Give it a try! You’ll be impressed. My family absolutely loved it. They didn’t believe it was a cheesecake without cheese.
I brought over eggplants I had in the fridge. Forgot to take a photo, but I basically placed them in the oven for about 20 minutes and had it with sauce. My mother-in-law then turned it into a sweet and sour eggplant salad for me. It was delish!
The next day I had my second Thanksgiving meal at my Uncle Mark’s lovely home. They had turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, and all of the above except for a vegetable dish. I had a feeling about this, so I brought over a big dish of roasted vegetables with beets, sweet potatoes, carrots, garlic, and white potatoes. It’s seasoned with fresh thyme, rosemary, marjoram, sea salt, olive oil, and pepper. They were soft in the inside but crispy on the outside. Let’s just say there was nothing left at the end of the night.
I was going to make a lentil loaf with cranberry sauce as another vegan dish, but there was so much food. I’ll table that for another blog post, maybe for Christmas.
And then there are Chinese dishes. One of Mama Chiang’s famous appetizers is her pork stuffed vegetables with oyster sauce. Of course she wouldn’t leave out her plant-eating daughter, so she made me a special dish. Instead of meat, she stuffed the vegetables with a secret tofu mix. It’s better than the meat version. It’s like a light hors d’oeuvre. The slightly sweet topping was a perfect combo with peppers, tofu, eggplant, and even bitter melon. I don’t like bitter melon, so my mom didn’t want to torture me. She also made me yummy green beans, so I didn’t feel left out from the fam digging into the green bean casserole. Mama Chiang is always so thoughtful.
Being aware of what I eat this year made me appreciate the time with my family. When I was a kid and up until now, my uncle always made an American Thanksgiving dinner. I always looked forward to it because I pretty much ate Chinese food every day. I realized it’s more than the American meal. It’s an American tradition where I can really catch up with my family and be thankful.