By Tara Gillies
Public Relations Assistant
Thanksgiving is a day to spend with friends and family and to give thanks for all of the wonderful things in your life and then eat until you need to unbutton your pants. Dating back to 1621, Thanksgiving was a celebration to thank God for a bountiful harvest season. The first Thanksgiving took place in Plymouth between settlers and the Wampanoag Indians. For the next two hundred years, similar holidays were celebrated in United States territory. However, Thanksgiving was not a national holiday until 1863 when President Abraham Lincoln declared it to be one. Then, in 1939 President Franklin D. Roosevelt finalized the present holiday proclaiming that it be the fourth Thursday of November.
The traditional, present-day meal is very similar to the original Thanksgiving celebration. Wild turkeys were plentiful at the time and were killed along with deer and fish for the gathering. In addition, products of the fall harvest such as corn and barley were consumed with wild berries and vegetables. The traditional meal is representative of these foods along with some present day additions. However, as a vegan, I branch out from the traditional Thanksgiving foods and get a little creative while keeping with traditional flavors. Here are some healthyish and animal friendly recipes to add to your Thanksgiving repertoire.
Butternut Squash Ravioli with Cashew Cream Sauce
• 2 cups whole wheat flour
• ½ teaspoon salt
• ½ cup warm water
(If you do not want to make your own dough, you can buy pre-made WonTon wrappers, just be sure to read the ingredients as most have egg in them.)
Whisk together flour and salt in a medium bowl. Slowly stir in warm water until dough becomes more solid. Place the dough on a solid surface or pastry mat and knead until smooth. Once smooth, cover with a kitchen towel. Let stand for 20 minutes. Divide the dough in half and roll out to be as thin as possible. Sprinkle flour on pastry mat to keep dough from sticking. Cut dough into 3 by 3 inch squares, and place on a plate to be filled.
(This is trial and error. My first time I played with the dough for too long and it became very tough, so find a happy medium.)
Butternut Squash Filling
• 3 cups butternut squash
• 6-10 garlic cloves (depending on your taste)
• olive oil
Roast squash and garlic for an hour. (I double wrap my garlic in foil to avoid sticking.) Squeeze garlic out of outer paper into food processor with squash and blend until smooth. Place 1 Tbsp of squash mixture in the center of each ravioli wrapper. Brush the edges of the wrapper with water, and fold the corner over to create a triangle. Press down to seal the ravioli tightly (or use a fork)!
Bring a large pot of water to boil over high heat. Add the ravioli. Cook for about 6 minutes.
Cashew Cream Sauce
• Salt to taste
Place a cup of cashews in a bowl and cover with water. Let sit overnight or at least 4-6 hours. If you do not have this long, you can cover with boiling water for one hour. Drain and transfer to food processor with three cloves garlic (or more). Blend and add water until you reach the creamy consistency you want. Add salt to taste. (You can add nutritional yeast or paprika for a little spice) I know this sounds random, but trust me, it’s delicious.
Green Beans with Fresh Cranberries
• 1/2 lb. green beans, trimmed and cut on the diagonal
• 2 Tbsp. vegan margarine
• 1 cup cranberries
• 1 clove garlic, minced and pressed
• 2 Tbsp. fresh parsley, chopped
• 1 Tbsp. fresh tarragon, chopped
• Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
(maybe even add some almond slivers)
Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add the beans and cook for 3 to 4 minutes. Drain the beans in a colander and hold under cold running water to stop the cooking process. Blot the beans with a paper towel to remove the excess water.
Put the beans into a dry skillet and heat over medium heat until the remaining moisture on the beans evaporates. Stir in the margarine, cranberries, garlic, parsley, tarragon, salt, and pepper, tossing to coat well. Cook until heated through.
Borrowed from http://www.peta.org/living/vegetarian-living/recipes/green-beans-with-fresh-cranberries.aspx