I love birds. I love to see them flying by, perching on branches, trotting across a meadow. Seeing one in a roasting pan or splayed out on a Thanksgiving platter? Not as much.
But the thing about a holiday turkey is that it is the iconic symbol which screams “festive!” “tradition!” “abundance!” It’s the centerpiece of the table, the flashy dish for which all sides revolve around. Can you have a Thanksgiving feast without a big bird in the midst of it all?
Yes, yes you can. And the scheme doesn’t have to involve a tofu turkey. (Although I am truly charmed by the concept of faux fowl, I’ve just never taken the leap from amusement to tofu turkey on the table.) A meal providing a parade of pretty side dishes will hardly miss a turkey–but you can also make a stately non-avian main course to take center stage. We’ve featured a few feast-worthy vegetarian main dishes over the years, each of them gratitude-inducing in their own ways:
I have made all of these, and can attest to their crowd-pleasing capacity; ooohs will happen. But I have to say I have little power to resist a recipe from Gourmet magazine, Roasted Pumpkin Cheese Fondue. As is, it’s on the gooey heavy side, but I have played around with it a bit making it a little lighter, click on for the recipe.